Next May 29th Daniel Ruiz will release his intimate album Diamond Fanged Black Feline, under the edition of Aiguamoll Records and Hidden Track Records. This LP is the third album by the Barcelona artist in just two years. His latest single “Caught Between a Wall Made Of Ice and a Silent Goodbye” is now available on Spotify.
After his time as the guitarist of the band Roulotte Roosters, and the most recent personal project under the pseudonym Weinf, Daniel Ruiz returns to the label with which he launched his solo career with the album ‘Réquiem for myself’.
In that 2015 work, the indie atmosphere stood out with soft melodies featuring his rock-blues guitar, where Daniel already showed his songwriting skills, influenced by his personal situation at the time.
In this 2020, and with his next release, Daniel Ruiz shows a musical maturity without losing any of his ability to tell the most personal tales. This time he seems to have taken a trip back in time, going back to blues/folk sounds with the enormous presence of Arnau Abadal’s saxophone, to give way to a psychedelic atmosphere of the late 60’s.
Daniel has dedicated part of his time during this week to explain us a little more about his new album and the creative process he usually follows in his work.
FF: Five years ago you released ‘Réquiem for myself’, an album published with Aiguamoll Records, after overcoming a difficult period. Now you are about to release your new album Diamond Fanged Black Feline under the same label. Which styles has your music evolved in this time?
DR: ‘Requiem for Myself’ was my first album, made in a very similar way to this last one -recorded and mixed entirely by me in my room, playing practically all the instruments-, although with very different results. During these five years I have learned everything I know, both about how to play an instrument and about mixing and production, and that learning is what has marked the changes it has undergone, what I do and its evolution.
FF: The psychedelic art of the covers of your themes, by Joël Beltran, is striking. They even help to create that intimate, dark atmosphere depending on the song. How do you work on this aspect together? Do you propose the theme or does Joël draw inspiration from the song to create the design?
DR: It goes like this: first, I record the song and mix it up to a point of near completion. Then Joël and I listen to it in the living room at home, and then I send him the file so that he can start working on it. Then, giving him a few more listenings in the process, he makes the cover on his own and, when he finishes it, we go back to the living room and watch it as the song plays. In the end, we each put the finishing touches on our own and finish the job almost without realizing it.
FF: In relation to Aiguamoll Records, how did the collaboration that started when you launched your solo career begin? Do you have any future projects that can be shared?
DR: Aiguamoll Records listened to a demo I released a few months before the ‘Requiem for Myself’ and they were kind enough to release my album as their first reference. There is no plan in sight, just to keep working on the next album. I don’t usually make long term plans, I focus on what I have in front of me.
FF: From your record of releases, you are a great advocate of the single format. In this way you have been discovering your album little by little. What criteria have you followed in your releases of each single? What have you not wanted to reveal yet?
DR: I like the single format for two reasons: it allows me to work at a pace that has been very comfortable for me until now, working song by song, and it allows Joël to make a cover for each of them. Those are the criteria I have followed so far and will probably continue to follow when releasing music.
FF: On this last album you recorded practically all the instruments yourself except the saxophone, which was recorded by Arnau Abadal. It is not the first collaboration with him, although in your last work he has a great presence. Where do you want to direct your sound with the inclusion of this main element in your album?
DR: The saxophone is an instrument that I love, especially in Arnau’s hands. I think it wasn’t so much a matter of “directing the sound” somewhere but of having an important element not controlled by me in songs where I have absolute control of the rest of the instruments. Apart from the fact that I love the timbre of the instrument, I thought it was a good way to get ideas from the outside, as I felt that the songs could become too tedious if I was the only one involved in them. It gave me perspective.
FF: Does the cd include all these artworks?
DR: I wanted to include all the covers in the form of a brochure for the CD, and although it was not possible in the end, I managed to integrate some of them into the design of the box. However, we are thinking of printing them and selling them at concerts alongside the album.
FF: The sound of your guitar on most of this ‘Diamond Fanged Black Feline’ sounds like Pink Floyd. It’s obvious that your music is influenced by artists of that caliber, but what artist hasn’t stopped playing on your playlist during this confinement?
DR: My two confinement discoveries are Al Green and Pescado Rabioso.
FF: What were your beginnings? Did you receive musical training or have you always been 100% self-taught?
DR: 100% self-taught.
FF: Do you think of any instrument you would like to learn to include in your future albums?
DR: I would love to learn to play the saxophone, which is highly unlikely. Luckily, there’s Arnau.
FF: How were your beginnings in music?
DR: I started playing the guitar when I bought an acoustic guitar at the age of 17, but I didn’t realize how much I liked it until I went to the hospital and made my first record. Since then I was completely absorbed and I have been learning everything I know by trial and error.
FF: Some time ago you released some of your songs with independent labels such as Custom Made Music and Santa Rosa Records, originals from the United States. Also, you had the opportunity to perform in New York. How did this experience come about?
DR: Both labels stumbled upon my music on the Internet and wrote to me asking if I wanted to release an album with them. The concerts in New York came out differently: Ray Brown, the person who invited me to go and a really nice guy, gave a series of concerts around here and I opened one of them. There we became friends and a few months later, after I got out of the hospital, he invited me to spend a few days there and give some concerts. It was a very funny experience.
FF: At Fym Factory we’ve been following you for some time now and have enjoyed your live music several times, always accompanied by the artist Mauricio Güell. Has the ‘duet’ you created on stage come to stay? Are the times of putting together an ‘indie’ band in the purest Arctic Monkey style behind us?
DR: Yes, I feel very comfortable playing with Mauricio. My idea is, at some point, to reassemble the band I played with last year, but recording music by myself in my room is becoming more and more popular and has become more of a priority over time, so who knows? But I really enjoyed playing with them and I’d like to do it again at some point. As soon as it’s legal to leave the house I’ll start thinking about it.
FF: Recently we have been talking about the boom in vinyl sales. Are you a vinyl lover or do you prefer the digital format?
DR: The cat got rid of the record player so my music consumption is 100% digital.
FF: The difficult situation the music sector is going through after the health crisis is a fact. What is your opinion on this and what difficulties or opportunities do you think artists will encounter from now on?
DR: The truth is that, since the “business” side of my project is practically non-existent, this whole issue has not altered my situation at all. I am still recording songs on my own at home, and I was already living in a state close to quarantine before the viral apocalypse, so in my case the difficulties and opportunities are the same now as before.
FF: What do you think of the live streaming that most artists are doing? Do you think it’s a good option for an artist with your style?
DR: I thought about it, but the lack of a decent camera added to the embarrassment I feel about the whole thing makes it impossible. I prefer to wait until I can give a concert in person again, which paradoxically I find less intimidating.
FF: We love discovering new emerging artists all the time, what album would you recommend?
DR: I don’t know if it can be considered emerging, but the new King Krule (“Man Alive!”) album was quite enjoyable.
FF: Nietzsche said that “a life without music would be a mistake”. What is music to you?
DR: A path.