On September 9, 2020, the Bay Area experienced one of the most remarkable events to occur in a lifetime. Due to wildfires throughout the area, the sky turned orange. The shocking nature of the sight generated a range of emotions for residents. Feelings of despair, uncertainty and awe were common sentiments for those who experienced the scene. For Daniel Laner and Fernando Fine, the Oakland born and LA based indie-pop duo that make up Ruby Red, the events inspired them to reminisce.
In what seemed like the end of the world, Ruby Red reflected on their lives, what’s to come in their future and what could have been changed in their past. The outcome of this moment of reflection–their recent single and accompanying video, “Too Late (To Call).”
EBX: You two are both from Oakland–did you two start creating music here first before moving to LA?
Ruby Red: We met in kindergarten in Oakland at Hillcrest Elementary. We ended up going through middle school and high school together, until we eventually moved on to LA. It wasn’t until we were in LA that the idea of Ruby Red kind of became a thing and we started making music as Ruby Red. But we were involved in musical stuff before that.
EBX: In 2020, you two released your first EP, Area of Affect–what were you expecting? What did it feel like to sell out your first show and get recognized by major music figures like Zane Lowe?
Ruby Red: You can never really expect anything, or at least we try not to expect anything. You can only hope that people receive it well, and that it strikes a chord with them. But I think the feedback that we’ve gotten so far is very much so encouraging. And I don’t think we would be still doing this, if it weren’t for the love that has been shown and for the relationships we’ve been able to make through the music.
When we first put out the project, we were just trying to give the world something to enjoy and hoping that it would talk to somebody enough that they would show it to their friends, and so on and so forth until it reached enough people.
EBX: In your song ‘Superbloom,’ you two shared that it’s a story about the next stages of a romantic relationship, but it’s told through the perspective of a woman who is numb to the high levels of interest she receives from men. How do you two identify these everyday life situations to create songs?
Ruby Red: The best part about making music and writing music is that it kind of forces you to romanticize every part of your life. Moments that would have been sort of dreary, and forgettable, all of a sudden can be turned into these beautiful experiences that other people can resonate with. Even something as like, you know, making eye contact with somebody on the bus. That can become a whole song. Before I was making music, that’s something I would forget in two seconds.
Often, when we are sitting down to start writing music, we usually start with the production. We like to sit with each other and kind of think about what’s going on in both of our lives. In the case of ‘Superbloom,’ we started with the pre-hook and the hook line. From there, we just try to build a story around it.
EBX: In March, you released your latest single, ‘Too Late (To Call).’ You shared that the inspiration for this song dates back to September 2020, when the Bay Area skies turned orange due to wildfires in the region. Can you share more about how that experience is communicated in the song?
Ruby Red: That was definitely one of the more surreal days of our lives. I ended up going to Stinson Beach near Marin to escape the smoke. It was still really hazy and orange; it felt very strange. And then it wasn’t until later that the song started to become the song, and then we sort of like retroactively applied that experience.
I think how it ended up being transmitted was that, you know, when you’re kind of faced with, like, the end of the world. Whether it be you’re graduating from school or moving to a new place, there’s always that moment where your whole life kind of plays back up until that point, and you’re kind of forced to recognize what you did and maybe even more importantly, what you didn’t do.
‘Too Late(To Call)’ was kind of supposed to be that–getting swept up in this knowledge of what did or didn’t happen.
EBX: You two are now preparing to release your second EP after two years–what are you hoping to achieve with this project?
Ruby Red: We’re finally getting to the point where we can really show people what we’ve been trying to show them the whole time. Over these past two years that we’ve been working on this, it feels like a long time internally, but I think it’s really going to show. It’s like a well marinated piece of meat. It takes a long time to really make it happen, but once it does, the payoff is gonna feel even sweeter than something that is just put together quickly and not as well thought out.