Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Joram of Rust Ring. Together we discussed rings, their creative process, their upcoming album “North to The Future”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is thankful to have Rust Ring join them at Music Shelf. How is everyone?
I’m doing wonderful now that I’m talking with the one and only MUSTARD!
2. Mustard has observed that humans use various types of rings. What kind of ring does Rust Ring possess?
As a happily married woman, I should say a wedding ring, but I find myself never wearing mine! I do love horror movies, so I have The Ring on DVD though. (DVDs? In 2023??)
3. What is the origin story of Rust Ring?
The NAME “Rust Ring” comes from this time I ended up going to the ER on Christmas Day because of immense eye pain. Turns out I had metal in my eye which rusted and turned into a (ta-da) rust ring.
The BAND actually started from the remnants of a fully improvised doom metal/noise band that me and William, the drummer, were in. Needless to say, that band was pretty different!
4. Who (or what) influences Rust Ring?
A few of the artists who inspired us on “North to the Future” were Adventures, Cyndi Lauper, Pale Waves, Van Halen, Coheed and Cambria, and my favorite band of all time, Say Anything.
Lyrical influences include the TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” the movie “Your Name,” and my own stupid facetious tendencies.
5. What is Rust Ring’s creative process?
For the newest album, “North to the Future,” I demoed every song with nonsense, placeholder lyrics first. Then, William and I jammed the songs in a room as a two piece, we recorded the instrumentals, and I went into an existential crisis because I had most of an album recorded without a single lyric written! (Eventually I finished writing the lyrics and recording the vocals.) My old songs were basically diary entries turned into songs, so the whole process got turned on its head.
6. In 2017 Rust Ring released “Finally//Blackout.” What was the inspiration behind this release?
I’ve dealt with major, major depression in my life (I know SO unique), and these songs were supposed to show opposite sides of that. Blackout is about feeling the lowest of the low, and Finally is about actually feeling okay for the first time in a long time.
7. “I finally feel like a human being.” Could you elaborate more on this lyric? Six years later, do you still feel like a human being?
You know Mustard, I feel more like a human being than ever! When I wrote that lyric I was finally coming to terms with who I was as a person. This song came from a diary entry that starts, “I’m doing better. I feel shitty sometimes, but I feel fairly happy and good.” So it’s about having some base level of almost happiness that FINALLY makes you rise from the ranks of “human trash” to “human being.”
8. Is “Finally//Blackout” apart of the same narrative of your album “Genuine Me?”
Yes! The ten songs on “Genuine Me” and the two songs on “Finally//Blackout” were all written together. In fact, I think “Finally” was written after about half of Genuine Me was already written. These are all from the point of view of ME, but specifically ME as a VERY DEPRESSED PERSON.
9. The album art of Genuine Me features kites within the coral. What is the significance of both? Who designed this album art?
I’m glad you asked this Mustard, it is significant! When I wrote that album, I (again) barely felt like a human being, so I wanted the “characters” on the artwork to be inhuman. I chose kites because I wanted it to be something I could make myself. (“Is this my body or something I made myself?” from “Haircuts”) I also wanted the kites to feel trapped somewhere. (What’s the opposite of air? Underwater!) At the time, I felt very trapped in my own body, but I also knew there was potential that my body could be rebuilt as something “I made myself.” Joslyn Vosta, aka “Attracted To Ghosts” on the internet, made the artwork.
10. On “What Are The Good Times?” you ask the question: How do we enjoy our personal lives? Have you figured out how humans do that? What are some things that Rust Ring enjoys?
My enjoyment of life has flourished since that song came out. Now, I really love to bake and cook at home. It’s my meditation. My partner has celiac disease, so I do tons of gluten-free baking and put lots of love into every treat I make. It totally makes them taste better. I am also an avid tea drinker. I stopped drinking coffee two years ago and have since fallen unconditionally and irrevocably in love with tea.
11. How does it feel to have your next record released on Knifepunch records? What is your relationship with the label?
It feels amazing to be working with a queer-focused label. Before working with them I had only known them from Twitter. I reached out to see if they would be interested in working with us and they’ve been nothing but amazing ever since! Dani from knifepunch is one of those people that truly cares about music and the scene. She does everything she can to help the bands she cares about.
12. What can fans expect from your upcoming record “North To The Future?” Does the listener’s geographical location play a role in the album?
Well, we have a different lineup, we’re doing different genres, and this time I decided to write a concept album. (Unless you hate concept albums, then it’s just a bunch of really cool songs!) We go from pop punk to 80’s power ballad in the span of a few songs. The concept of the album is about moving from the Midwest to Alaska, so as long as you can imagine that, your geographical location should not matter.
13. How would you describe Rust Ring’s live performance? Does Rust Ring have a favorite venue?
Our live performances end up sounding a little more punk than the recordings; loud, fast, and energetic. I’m just trying to have fun up there onstage. Our favorite venue is definitely Beat Kitchen in Chicago!
14. Where can readers listen to Rust Ring’s music?
You should be able to find us on all streaming services! Here’s some links to everything: https://linktr.ee/rustring
Thank you so much Mustard!