WATGB in conversation with Ruby Tingle

Ruby Tingle is an audiovisual artist based in Manchester whose practice is deeply  rooted in what it means to be a Northern creative.

 

This truth runs through her  personal practice and her work at No Such Thing, the record label co-founded by  Ruby Tingle and Dirty Freud. Her latest release Fountania, is no exception to this  rule.

Our co-founder Ella had the joy of chatting to Ruby Tingle all about this new and  ambitious EP.

Ella: 

Firstly, it would be lovely if you could introduce yourself and a bit about your practice!

Ruby Tingle: 

I’m Ruby Tingle. I have a combined contemporary art and music practice where I  work with collage, installation, sound and performance. My work is all rooted in  nature, particularly water and wetlands habitat, and I create my own stories and  myths based in a kind of unnatural history. I work a lot with museum collections and  create interventions to bring them to life in new ways, using all the expanded  elements of my practice, to have wider conversations about the natural world. I  describe my sound as ‘music from the swamp’- it’s electronica but heavily romantic  and mixed with layers of natural sound and ethereal vocals- the dream space I  inhabit as a person is both real and imagined and so my ‘swamp princess’ persona  or alter ego weaves its way through my work and life in these outlets.

Ella:  

Something I always love about your work, whether it is in your personal projects or  your work as a facilitator, is how you embrace a merging across disciplines.  Fountania, your new EP, explores not only different creative disciplines across  visuals and sounds, but a variety of genres from electronica, keys, saxophone,  accordion and male vocal to create a kind of gothic jazz. I’d love to hear about your  passion for crossing over the boundaries of genre and discipline! 

Ruby Tingle: 

I think moving into a place where you recognise all elements of your work and life  being connected and fused can be quite difficult, and it’s something I’ve had to  develop over the years to come to the point I am now where it’s all very fluid,  whether visual or sound based, or parts of daily life. I think once you have this  freedom though it makes work so much more exciting! So, I’m always looking for  ways to make art and music more interesting, mainly for myself - I think as a creator  your music or art should be something you want to experience, something that isn’t  being fulfilled yet for you in the world. My practice is rooted in collage, so I’m always  putting things together to see if they work, and I think as simple as it sounds that’s  the basis of the passion for the amalgamation of various disciplines and genres. I 

don’t really think about it like that when I’m creating, it’s more that I have a vision,  and then scramble around to put whatever ingredient needs to go in to make that  happen! 

Ella: 

What was the development and creative process like to find the new sound and  feeling of ‘gothic jazz’ within Fountania? 

Ruby Tingle: 

Fountainia is really a collaborative project - all the songs were co-written and created  with Jonoa, KINRAR, Dirty Freud and Steven Calver. As artists and composers their  work is all really different, from nu-jazz to folktronica, electronica and contemporary  composition. Somehow putting all these things in a pot, it came out sounding quite  sinister and brooding, really dramatic! The mix of saxophone and accordion with the  pulsating rhythms and choral male vocals make it sound really unique,I think. Along  the way ‘Fountainia’ became an actual mythical place, rather than just an idea. The  lyrics I started writing inspired by the sound were suddenly talking about gargoyles  coming up from hell via water features, giant bird people stalking canals and I had  visions of growing gills and swimming with manatee creatures under pink skies there were these physical spaces manifesting in the songs and they had a really  dark feel- so the sound has become ‘gothic jazz’, which I’m definitely going to  develop more in the near future. 

Ella: 

The EP explores the waterways and decorative features of Manchester and your  connection to these spaces. I’d love to hear a bit more about this conceptual rooting  and how you have found representing these personal elements of your home through your craft? 

Ruby Tingle: 

Fountainia was originally a Manchester Jazz Festival Originals commission last year,  and my proposal was to write some music based on Manchester’s history and  relationship with water; I’d read an article about how a lot of the decorative water  features in the city have either historically broken down or don’t work properly - I  thought it was an inspiring idea, thinking about Manchester being a city where it’s  industry has been built around the canal system. So, there are songs on the EP that  are rooted in real spaces - ‘Journey to the Pool’ is about the flat-water feature at St  Peter’s Square for example, ‘Oyster’ about the fountains outside Oyster Bar. The  single ‘Through the Canal’ is very much a dual song in its reality and imagined space - a walk down the canal is part of my route in and out of the city, but I’ve always had  a recurring dream about walking through the canal tunnels at Barbirolli Square and  meeting groups of large anthropomorphic bird men, so the two have always been  woven together for me. I do this in all my work - personal life and home are all  referenced in my songs or art, that’s what my work is inherently based on, and the  dreams weave around it all to make these new stories.

 

 

Ella: 

Your music and visuals are always deeply detailed and complex, taking in layers and  layers of beautifully crafted sounds and images from all corners of the imagination  and experience. Do you take a more is more approach with your making? 

Ruby Tingle: 

Weirdly no it’s kind of the opposite! I see myself more as a minimalist - but I think  that’s because for me that’s always the very end of the creative process, when I’m  left with the finished piece that so much has been put into and eventually cut away.  The layers you mention wouldn’t be there without that process though, so I think  collection, rearrangement, manipulation and discarding are the key to creating the  complexity and detail. (And are an enjoyable side to OCD!) When I start a project  then it’s definitely a case of more is more! A million ideas are swarming around, and I  just have to see which ones land or stick before things get too chaotic; an artist I  know once said to me about a piece of performance art we were doing- ‘it doesn’t  have to be everything, it just has to be something’. And I always try to think of that  when I’m making either a piece of work or a song, so it can actually fulfil its purpose  and get the point across. There’s always a lot to unpack in my work, but hopefully it  all comes together as something that leaves people with a strong vision and keeps  the thread of imagination going. 

Ella: 

Lastly, where can people find and support you and your new release? Ruby Tingle: 

The lead single Through the Canal is out on May 19th and the following 5 tracks of  the Fountainia EP on May 26th. It’s all being released with No Such Thing Records  and will be available on all streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple. If you go  to the record label website or instagram there will be links to everything there! If  people enjoy it, they should definitely check out music by Jonoa and KINRAR who  made the music with me, they’ve both just released their first singles and EPs in the  last couple of months so it’s a really exciting time! 


 

|| RUBY TINGLE ||