About Born Ruffians
Canada's Born Ruffians are known for their playful, high-energy brand of indie rock, marked by hooky guitar riffs, catchy pop melodies, and witty lyrics. It's a sound that draws upon the influence of classic alt-rock, but ultimately springs from within the band's own imagination. Since emerging on the Toronto scene in the mid-2000s, they have issued a steady flow of kinetic and inventive albums like 2008's Red, Yellow & Blue and 2013's Birthmarks. The group kicked off 2020 with a unique pair of related albums, JUICE and SQUEEZE.
Born Ruffians were formed in Midland, Ontario in 2002 by lead singer/guitarist Luke LaLonde, his cousin bassist/vocalist Mitch DeRosier, and drummer Steve Hamelin. Originally going under the name Mornington Drive, the three musicians moved to Toronto in 2004 and soon changed their name to Born Ruffians. The trio quickly earned a reputation on the Toronto club circuit for their witty, hook-oriented songs and lively stage shows. An early demo helped land them a record deal with the British electronic label Warp Records, which handled their releases in North America; XL Recordings became their label in Europe, and Paper Bag released their music in Canada. Their self-titled debut EP was released in 2006, and the band toured the U.K. and North America, landing a cameo on the popular British TV series Skins.
In 2008, Born Ruffians released their first full-length album, the Rusty Santos-produced Red Yellow & Blue. Buoyed by the singles "Hummingbird" and "Foxes Mate for Life," the album garnered strong reviews and earned the band an Independent Music Awards nomination for Pop/Rock Album of the year. Recorded in just two weeks with producer Santos, 2010's Say It found the group expanding to a quartet with the addition of guitarist/keyboardist Andy Lloyd. After touring in support of the LP, the band again took time off to regroup, during which time LaLonde released a solo album, Rhythymnals, in late 2012.
By April 2013, the group got back together for their third album, Birthmarks, primarily written during a collective retreat in rural Ontario, which became the first release in Born Ruffians' American deal with Yep Roc. After the first round of touring in support of Birthmarks, Hamelin left the band, with Adam Hindle taking over the drum duties. They returned in 2015 with their fourth full album, Ruff.
By 2017, Hamelin had returned to Born Ruffians and the group's lineup again changed with the departure of guitarist/keyboardist Lloyd following the birth of his daughter. Pared down to their original power trio lineup, the band entered the studio and in February 2018 issued their acclaimed Richard Swift-produced fifth LP, Uncle, Duke & the Chief. Two years later, the floodgates opened with the release of both JUICE and SQUEEZE, a pair of full-lengths that saw further envelopment into vivid psychedelia and power pop. A third companion set, PULP, appeared in early 2021 to cap off the project. ~ Matt Collar
ORIGINToronto, Ontario, Canada