Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Ruby Colley

Ruby in the Crown House

The inspiring music of Ruby Colley and her quartet, can be heard on 1 December, at the Crown House, Marina, St Leonards. Laurie Temple interviews one of Hastings most exciting musicians in advance of her performance at this intimate venue.

What were your early influences in music as a child?
I was exposed to a varied repertoire of music growing up. Everything from Classical: Bach, Mahler, Martin Codex to Tom Waits, Hugh Masekela, Bulgarian State Choir & Van Morrison.

When did you start playing?
I started at the age of 3 via the Suzuki method. I went on to study at the junior Royal Academy of Music at 13. In my late teens I started to explore other forms of music, that led me to do my music degree at Dartington College of arts. I developed my composition practice from there, exploring contemporary classical, folk and jazz. I moved to Belfast in 2004 and developed a solo career using peddles and electric violin, which led me to my debut release Murmurations. I returned to England in 2012 to do a Masters in Composition/music at Goldsmiths university. I found my love of field recording and sound art there, which finds its way in to the majority of my work now.

Where you are at with your music now and how do you find a balance, with bringing up a young family!
My practice is always evolving, but I’m very happy with where I am at the moment. I’m making the work that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. I imagine that’ll evolve again, but that’s where I’m happiest; finding a new angle or focus for the work that can take me in a new direction.

Balancing this with a young family is very hard however. The industry still isn’t set up for parents… but awareness is growing and one finds their village of people who offer mutual support. That’s what makes it work: the support of the people around me. I couldn’t do it without them.

Can you tell me about the latest album and EP and how that has departed and developed musically, from previous albums?
I no longer wished to use peddles for my work. I felt I wanted to use electronics and explore textural variety, as well as play with other people again… it was lonely performing solo all the time!

Ruby’s latest album and EP use field recordings as a tool to explore the ideas around nature, human interference and the climate crisis.

Overheard is an exploration of folk music, improvisation and nature through the lens of our modern world. Ruby seeks to examine the space between human presence/structure and nature from the domestic (her garden in lockdown), a dilapidated train depot, to a church yard in a thunder storm.
Using field recordings as launch pads for the work, their place within the album weaves from centre stage to sonic background. All the while, violin, double bass, oud and electronics find their way through the spaces. Ruby’s violin style traces a journey from baroque (Bach being her first love), contemporary classical, to folk and improvisation. This album is an integration process of the various musical paths she’s explored over her 20-year career.

This integration finds its way into the field recordings also… by integrating her domestic life as a mother, to the local family walks taken during lockdown. Rather than edit and discard sounds in the attempt to find something refined, she allows the minutiae and the flaws to enter.

Overheard seeks to reflect the world we live in now, not an idealised form of nature, which can often dominate our attempts to confront the climate catastrophe. Ruby feels climate awareness starts in our back yard and this music seeks to tell this story through the lens of domestic life, and the overlooked details – the gap in the hedge.

“To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime’s experience. In the world of poetic experience it is depth that counts, not width. A gap in a hedge, a smooth rock surfacing a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow, the stream at the junction of four small fields – these are as much as a man can fully experience”
Patrick Kavanagh (1904–67) 

Underheard is an EP that follows on from the album. It is leaning further into the human experience of the climate catastrophe, along with memory, loss and our place within nature itself. How the natural world & modern industrial world collide is recorded along with our place within this point in history. Using strings, field recordings and synths, Ruby uses each to form narrative and memory. The details of interactions big and small, such as her daughters encounter with a trapped bee, curlews being disturbed by a riverboat, or the vulnerability of flora in turbulent wind, are a record of things that otherwise would be left behind.

The Crown House audience can expect to hear a unique blend of classical, folk, and electronic music – with violin, double bass, percussion and electronics.

The concert starts at 7.30pm on Friday 1 December. Tickets are selling fast – you can book in advance via Eventbrite or from Ruby Colley’s website.
The Crown House is at 57 Marina,
St Leonards-on-Sea  TN38 0BE.

If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link. Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 16:04 Friday, Nov 24, 2023 In: Music & Sound

Also in: Music & Sound

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal, it’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us


    Get our regular digest emails

  • Subscribe to HOT