The Ruen Brothers bridge eras on their 2015 debut EP, Point Dume [American Recordings/Republic Records]. With legendary producer Rick Rubin at the helm, the boys—Henry and Rupert Stansall—confidently channel their knowledge and early influences of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and the Stones all while continuing the tradition of the modern rock crooner started by the likes of Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker, and Ian McCulloch. These influences are masterfully tied together with a modern musical vernacular of big amplifiers, organic effects, and robust delivery.
“It’s a hybrid between the old and the new,” Rupert says of the sound. “We’ve always preferred the Stones to The Beatles because they had more of an aggressive touch. We’re guitar players first and foremost, but we love those big melodies. Everything is balanced.”
Born a year apart in Scunthorpe, England, the duo quickly found their “punk rocker” dad’s record collection comprised of everything from Muddy Waters and Van Morrison to The Sex Pistols. By the ages of eleven and twelve they were gigging at local pubs and clubs, covering tunes the audience would always know by Orbison, Chuck Berry, and more. Following college, they moved into a studio apartment in London dedicated to making a career out of music. At the time, Henry and Rupert adopted a rather unconventional writing process, testing demos by syncing them to trailers of Quentin Tarantino flicks.
With Tarantino on the brain, they shot a video for their track “Aces” using Henry’s iPhone. As soon as they uploaded the clip to YouTube, it started to draw attention from some of the world’s foremost influencers, including BBC Radio 1 host Zane Lowe who played “Aces” back-to-back three times, a first for his show. He went so far as to name its follow-up “Walk Like a Man,” The Hottest Record in the World. Another industry leader was also paying attention, Rick Rubin. After hearing “Aces,” Rubin wanted to sit down with the brothers at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu - where they eventually landed a deal with Rubin’s American Recordings and Republic Records.
On their first trip to Shangri-La Studios, in an effort to beat Los Angeles traffic, they arrived an hour early and waited anxiously at The Sunset Inn in Point Dume—hence the title of their EP. “It’s where the story begins,” smiles Rupert.
Rubin immediately wanted to start working on tunes and had enlisted an all-star collective of musicians to fill out the other instruments, namely The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith on drums, Chavez’s Matt Sweeney on guitar, and the legendary Ian McLagan of Faces on keyboards.