A Quickie With…New Ruins

Next Wednesday, Swedish musician Jose Gonzales will be stopping by the Courtyard Cafe to play a show with New Ruins and Caleb Engstrom. buzz chatted with J. Caleb Means of New Ruins about their upcoming show:

buzz: What are your expectations going into your show at the Courtyard?

J. Caleb Means: Well its an honor to get to play with Jose Gonzales, who is internationally honored. With bigger acts more people tend to be there. He is only playing a couple US dates and Champaign is one of them – he’s not even playing in Chicago, so hopefully people from Chicago and places like St. Louis will come.

buzz: What do you hope to get out of this show?

JCM: We’re known as rock right now, and for this show we’re going to strip down and do an acoustic show to give audiences another view of our music.

buzz: What are the variances you have between different venues? Do you think your performance changes depending on the stage you’re performing on?

JCM: Yes, to some degree, I guess. Places like the Cowboy Monkey or the Highdive tend to have much better sound systems, more professional, compared to the Iron Post which has a very raw sound. On big stages like at the Highdive, we’re not used to playing so far away from each other. The Iron Post is a little more comfortable because we’re closer together, like when we practice in my house.

buzz: What’s your perfect audience?

JCM: A big one. A perfect audience – it’s nice to see a bunch of heads in the crowd, respectful people, sometimes you get people talking, but we’re a loud enough band now that you cant really talk like when we were more of an acoustic band. All in all you want a mixture of people – people to hear you play, and new people to hear your music.

buzz: Your album is called The Sound They Make. What kind of sound do you set out to make?

JCM: We take a lot of pride in our music in that with us there are two songwriters in the band, Elzie and I. We’ve been playing music since we were 13 or 14. We both listen and write our own kind of music, so the sound we make is something very diverse and sounds like nothing else in this town. Yet, somehow there is a unity to it that makes it sound like New Ruins.

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