HOUSTON, Texas-based band Ruiners has essentially lived three existences since its inception — starting in their hometown before being reborn for several years in London, England, and then finally ending up back home in Houston.
The post-punk and noise rock outfit is led by Shan Pasha, whose intense vocal style and dissonant approach to composition makes him the perfect frontman to have taken the band through both musical and geographical experiments.
The band, who is set to play El Rocko Lounge on Jan. 9, started in 2012 and has been evolving ever since and released their full-length album
Typecast in September.
“I started the band in 2012 or so, as just a bedroom recording project. I would just write songs on an acoustic guitar and write words over it. Eventually, I got a couple friends in Houston to play live, and we did that for a number of months. We kind of stopped after a few months because I moved to London to do a Masters program,” Pasha tells Connect.
“I kept it going in the U.K. for three years - I found a group of guys in London and we played live there as well. We got influenced by East London post-punk music and stuff like that. We continued playing there until my Masters was done and my visa ran up. I moved back to Houston and got the original bassist to play - my friend Hayden. I also found an additional guitarist and drummer, and we all just started writing songs together.”
Pasha says his experience in London influenced him in a number of ways aside from just embracing the punk and post-punk lineage that often feels as if it’s ingrained in the city’s culture.
“Environment has a lot to do with it,” he says. “It was very cold and rainy, and it got dark at 3 in the afternoon. So we’d kind of just go to the pub and have some beers, and it was just part of the culture. I think our earlier sound was a bit more party punk, but I think we’ve strayed away from that. The environment [in London] definitely played a lot into developing our sound later on.”
Pasha says he’s somewhat influenced lyrically by the political and cultural differences he experienced while living abroad - though lyrics are mostly a cathartic practice for him.
“I would say that most of the lyrics I write are very personal. I guess they’re very direct, so there’s no room for error in reading into the lyrics,” he explains.
“I try to keep my lyrics quite direct. There are a couple political songs, and there’s a lot of songs about social commentary and self-deprecation. All that fun stuff.”
Though he’s essentially the bandleader, Pasha says that the writing process is extremely collaborative these days - with all members contributing to songs and offering ideas and suggestions.
“I’ll write a guitar riff and some melodic ideas to go with it, and often a vocal idea - which is more yelling as opposed to sing,” he says. “I’ll show it to the guys and we flesh it out together. We really develop the music together, and lyrically as well.”
As for the future, Pasha says the band is focused on touring their newest release - though they’re already working out new ideas and developing songs for their next project.
“We have some new ideas that we’re going to develop after we finish tour, and then we’re going to start recording some time in February or March,” he says. “We’re just going to try to tour again in the summer and fall, and hit the road as much as we can.”