By Eamonn Singleton
Photo courtesy of the Ruffled Feathers
With talent, creativity, and a new album on their side, all that’s left is a pinch of luck for the Ruffled Feathers to be propelled into success
Gina Loes, frontwoman of self-described chamberpop band the Ruffled Feathers, has her fair share of responsibility in developing the band’s unique game plan in distributing their upcoming album, Oracles. “If I ever went back to school, it’d probably be to study business,” she laughed.
Songs from the album are to be released in pairs every two weeks, easing the audience into piecemeal. Each release will also be accompanied by creative projects, such as artwork, short stories, or videos tailored to the songs. “For each song, we’re going to tell you what the song is about, how it makes us feel, and what the influences were. It also allows us to show a different form of art,” Loes explained.
The first release included “Canals of Suzhou” and “All My Cities”. The former is illustrated with a photo essay by Charley Wu, who plays a wide array of instruments, from the guitar to mandolin. “All My Cities” is accompanied by a family recipe for bread, from Gina’s mother, as well as a special T-shirt that was designed with the song in mind.
“I know some talented musicians who are playing, performing, and writing really good stuff,” Loes explained of the rationale behind the band’s strategy. “But with the structure of the music scene, you have to do something to stand out, to be unique. It’s really easy to record an album. Anybody can do it now and upload it to iTunes. But what are you going to do differently?”
Part of the band’s focused direction is a result of their previous struggles. After things things didn’t take off like they imagined after they released their Lost Cities EP in late 2010, the band took a break. But after six months of hiatus, Loes grew anxious to play again. At a time where she could have called it quits, she instead made the decision to give the band another go, forgoing other work opportunities in New York to do so. “I’d rather play music,” she stated confidently.
After a few changes in the line-up, and with a more thought out strategy, the Ruffled Feathers gave it a second try. By then, the momentum had been building, and the band found themselves on the airwaves of CBC Radio 3, and performing at larger venues like the Biltmore.
The band’s philosophy on remaining unique also extends to their style of music as well. “There’s a lot of classical piano, heavy horns, and male–female harmonies all overtop of a rock band,” said Loes. Oracles is a particularly eclectic compilation; she described some songs as having a Western theme, others sounding more traditionally Chinese, along with a few in the style of ‘50s doo-wop.
The Ruffled Feathers are hoping to embark on their first tour some time after their CD release show in April.
“The Vancouver music community is small enough that it’s accessible,” Loes said. “There are tons of great musicians, and it’s easy enough to make connections and for everyone to know each other.”
“However,” she continued, “once you’ve been around long enough, you run out of new places to play which means we’re at the point where we need to start traveling, but that’s a whole other barrier on its own.”
The Ruffled Feathers perform live at The Cellar on February 24.