[Written by Deri Ronan, Music Columnist (she/her)]
Cardamom – Ruby Gaines
Music has always been a cathartic outlet for Glasgow-based singer and songwriter, Ruby Gaines. Her debut single, Cardamom, released on Friday the 25th of September, showcases this through its emblematic lyrics. This month, I was lucky enough to interview Ruby about the single, her music and her ambitions as an artist; the full interview will precede this review.
Cardamom was written and recorded in Galashiels, in January 2020. The single is a distinct take on RnB and soul by a ‘white, Scottish lass’, which holds its momentum through dynamic vocals and a driving percussion. It’s an eclectic track that broadly emulates Ruby’s Glasgow roots and the city’s music scene, one that Ruby herself described to be ‘multicultural’ and ultimately driven by ‘great patter’.
Lyrically, the single skilfully draws on the ability of our senses to act as a mechanism to bring us back to past experiences and tie us to the present. The lyrics feel nostalgic, yet they equally draw on a desire to remain and cherish present, ephemeral moments. It’s an encouraging message, prompting the listener to embrace experiences, knowing that they will soon become enamoured memories.
Although lockdown has put life on pause for many, Ruby has endeavoured not to let it afflict her creativity. She hopes to ‘keep grafting’, to release more music through the Iceblink Luck Label (the next of which is scheduled for release on the 06/11/20), and to film live performances, both solo and with a band. Like all of us, she’s still evolving her music and creative habits in whichever way she can, despite the constant unpredictability of our world.
I’d like to start by asking you about yourself as an artist. When did you decide to pursue a career in music? Has writing always been a hobby of yours? What does music mean to you?
Hello! I knew I wanted to be a singer since I was about 13, and it took years and years to start getting good at it. Music has always been the goal, as tricky and fruitless as it is. It’s just always been a big part of my life and a good thing to lean on.
Upon listening, I felt that Cardamom explores the idea of craving memories, past feelings of elation and nostalgia. I am interested to hear if this is what it means to you?
You could say that, yes. I would say it’s more about desire and longing to stay in that exact moment as everything is fleeting. Your senses are a very powerful thing, they can bring you back to a time and tie you into the present.
What kind of music has influenced you in the past and this single?
Cardamom draws a lot of influence from soul and RnB, but by a white, Scottish lass.
I’d be really interested to learn more about what the creative process has been like for you over the pandemic/lockdown? Both in relation to Cardamom, but also your work and creativity generally?
I’ve been dipping in and out of creativity in lockdown. I imagine that’s the same for a lot of people. It’s hard to feel motivated when you’re experiencing less than usual. I have still been writing a lot down, it’s good to get it out even if it’s terrible. Thankfully, Cardamom was written before the world ended.
I’m excited to hear that you have another single scheduled for release on the 6th of November. Apart from this, what else can we expect from Ruby Gaines?
Hopefully, I’m just going to keep grafting, to release more music with Iceblink Luck and work to film some live performances, solo and with a band. The world is so different right now, so we’re adapting and moving as best we can.
Finally, over at GUM we are proud champions of the Scottish music scene’s quality. Has growing up in Scotland influenced your sound in any way? Also, if you have any local up and coming artists you’d like to recommend to our readers, we’d love to hear!
Everything is a product of its environment. Growing up in Glasgow and around the people in it, has had a lot to do with my sound. We’re multicultural and have great patter. The number of genres you can hear within one street of Scotland is beautiful. I’m thankful to have grown up and been influenced by the music and the people in this place. My favourite Scottish artists just now, to name a few, would be Kitti, Russell Stewart and Hamish Hawk – they all deserve the world.