Interview: Daniel Ruiz
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Daniel Ruiz, a super rad artist making music out of Barcelona, Spain. I had a wonderful time chatting with Daniel about his influences, his writing process and specific life events that inspired his work. His music has an emotional element to it which I could not ignore.
Alisa: So, I was listening to your music this morning (I listened to Blackout Drunk Dream and I Can't Believe My Luck) and I really loved the emotion your lyrics portray. Would you say that you're in touch with your emotions, or that anything has inspired those lyrics?
Daniel: I usually have a hard time figuring out what my emotions are and how they work. I try to be in touch with them, but I don’t always know how to successfully manage them, and I think that my writing helps me a bit with that. I write a lot about the night life (I Can’t Believe My Luck is a good example of that), so that could be considered an inspiration, I guess.
I think that my lyrics tend to be in the storytelling way of writing, but I never stopped to think about the connection between them and my feelings.
Alisa: Ah, I ask because to me the lyrics felt emotionally flushed out, so it’s interesting to hear you say that. Would you say that you tell full stories with your music?
Daniel: Actually, I wouldn’t describe them as “full”. I realized that my lyrics were getting longer and longer with time as I tried to give them more depth, to the point that they wouldn’t fit in a song anymore, so when a lyric gets out of control now I just turn it into prose and make a short story.
Alisa: Very nice. Do your life experiences inspire these short stories?
Daniel: There’s a fictional component to it for sure, and there are stories that are 100% made up.
I always prioritize the story to the truth, except in cases where the truth is enough of a story to be told.
Alisa: Do you prefer certain stories, or do you just let them flow?
Daniel: I let them flow, but I’m aware that there are certain “constant themes” to them, both the stories and the characters. But I feel like trying to guide a story to a certain point is the first step to fucking up. I think that you have to let her dictate the direction and just try and rise to the challenge that is writing it in a compelling way and a way that you feel you can identify.
Alisa: That's a more complex way of songwriting than I'm used to hearing. Did any other artists inspire the way you create your music?
Daniel: For sure. Tom Waits, Lou Reed, The Doors, Morphine, for example, and even though they are not musicians, authors like Bukowski, Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson and Orwell. I love music that has a literary component to it.
Alisa: Do you think that those musicians and authors inspired you to make music, or was that a personal decision?
Daniel: I started playing at 17 with some friends, so I think that came later. The musicians and authors that I listed earlier on helped me go deeper, I think.
Alisa: Did playing with your friends just start out as a hobby, then?
Daniel: Yep, we did it just because.
Music took the spotlight of my life when I got sick. I got diagnosed with cancer at the age of 20. I’m fine now, but that basically changed my priorities completely… Destroyed my life and created a new one.
Alisa: Wow, that is a life changing event. Where did music fall in your post-cancer list of priorities and why?
Daniel: At the top. 99% of the time I’m either playing or thinking about it. It just was the only thing that made sense.
Alisa: Obviously, you changed through this event, I mean who wouldn't? Did your sound change with you?
Daniel: I mean, before releasing music as Daniel Ruiz, I released a few albums as Weinf. It just got darker.
Alisa: I can't imagine your music wouldn't come out darker after that. How would you describe your sound now?
Daniel: Tough one… Drunk music for flamingos.
However dark or drunk, Daniel’s unique take on songwriting and his focus on storytelling has made for some very special music.
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