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.
"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever." — Sagan