Born Ruffians

Some bands can easily fly under the radar and go unnoticed by indie fans who don’t spend their time scouring the Internet for the latest and greatest. Born Ruffians are not one of those bands. Their song “Hummingbird” has made its way on to TV screens all over the western world first on the British version of Skins, then in a U.K. cell phone company commercial and most recently in an Australian car commercial. The band is known for generating catchy music sparking the attention of music fans as well as ad producers.

Born Ruffians, who currently call Toronto home, are on tour across Canada in support of 2010’s Say It, their third album as a group and second under the name of Born Ruffians — their first album The Makeshift Metric Catastrophe was released in 2004 when the band went by the name Mornington Drive. Touring across Canada’s vast and sometimes tedious landscape is no easy feat.

“I love playing shows,” says bass player Mitch Derosier. “After you sit in the van for sometimes like eight or 12 hours and the reward is getting up on stage and releasing all the energy pent up in the van from just sitting there.”

Born Ruffians have toured with some very big acts like Franz Ferdinand, Caribou, Tokyo Police Club and Peter Bjorn and John. They did their first tour opening for Hot Chip.

“It was awesome,” says Derosier. “We’ve been really lucky in who we get to tour with. I think you have to learn something from every band you tour with, it’s the benefit of doing a tour with a band that’s been doing it a lot longer than you or is more successful. From Franz Ferdinand we learned the importance of showmanship and what it means to get the crowd behind you because Alex [Kapranos] would work until he got everyone in the place moving and smiling and stuff. From Caribou we learned about work ethic and what it means to do the business side of touring.”

The last time Born Ruffians were in Calgary, they played a show at the Republik which proved to be somewhat more eventful than they had hoped for. A member of the crowd disrupted the show by pushing over lead singer Luke Lalonde’s microphone stand during the last song of the night.

“It was because we had kicked it over in one of the songs and it had hit that guy’s friend, so this guy took it upon himself to stand up for his friend,” says Derosier. “Afterwards we talked to the guy and made amends and stuff. I think this time around we’re gonna shoot for an incident-free show. Our shows can get a little rowdy because I think we get a lot of kids coming out to our shows, but they never get to that point, which was kind of weird. I’m glad we were able to squash that right after the show. We’re not a band of fighters, our name is in jest.”

Though they may not be ruffians, Derosier and drummer Steven Hamelin are both big fans of professional wrestling, which inspired the band’s new music video for “The Ballad of Moose Bruce.” The video shows a wrestler doing a moonsault — a type of back flip – in slow motion black and white.

“[We were going for] that Planet Earth- style super high-speed camera capturing it, like it’s a shark coming out of the water,” says Derosier.

They wanted to make it more about wrestling as an art form instead of over-dramatized violence. Derosier says there can often be a stigma attached to being a pro-wrestling fan, but that the most common reaction is surprise.

“Part of why I liked the video is because it was so different than any other music video with pro wrestling in it that is usually just hokey and corny,” says Derosier. “This is more showcasing the art of it because I think a lot of people don’t really see that. It’s pretty cool to meet guys like that who you’re kind of in awe of when you watch them do what they’re doing.”

Born Ruffians are wrestling lovers, not fighters. Their music can fall on the lighter side something but their live shows are known for being filled with energy, excitement and occasionally a kicked over microphone stand.

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