Listening Local: Rula Bula Bring The Ruckus Home


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Falmouth natives Rula Bula will be returning home to play at Grumpy’s Pub this Friday and release their new EP, “Townies.” The show begins at 10 PM. Rula Bula will be joined by another local band, Crooked Coast.

Brothers Johnny and Tyler Gwynn formed Rula Bula in 2012. They wrote songs with Tyler on drums and Johnny on guitar, and played them at VFWs, small bars and clubs, anywhere people would listen. Looking for a bigger sound, they rounded out the band with Brendan Sullivan on bass and Tim Wadman on guitar. In a little over a year they’ve recorded a demo, a new EP, and played all over New England.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Johnny Gwynn, 25, and Tim Wadman, 23, the other day and talk about writing, touring, and being a Cape Codder, no matter where you go.

LV:  Tell me about the name Rula Bula.

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JG:  It’s an old Irish saying that means to cause a ruckus, a big party. I went to Arizona State and there was a bar nearby called Rula Bula that no one else really went to but I thought was great.  I thought the name was cool, so went with it.

LV:  How did this current lineup solidify?

TW:  My old band, Sunday’s Best, kind of fizzled out a couple years ago and some time in 2012, Johnny had a gig at All Asia in Cambridge. He said, “Hey man, do you want to jump in as a second guitarist for the live show?” We practiced the songs in Johnny’s basement for a couple days and I said, “you know what, we might as well just do this as a full time thing.

JG: We got him! (laughs) It took some time but we finally locked him in.

LV:  What are some of your influences?

TW: One thing is an Oasis style but with more of a groove.

JG:  Some of the things that we keep coming back to are Gaslight Anthem, a little bit of Franz Ferdinand and Black Keys.  We try to always go off in different directions but keep a pop sensibility.  We aren’t afraid to make a pop hook or catchy choruses; we just try to find new ways of doing it. 

LV:  What is the writing process like?

TW:  Johnny usually comes in with an idea, a riff or a chord progression he is working on then he and Tyler have a brotherly telekinesis going on where they can work a song out of it.

JG:  I will write the basic skeleton of a song, have an idea of what the feel of it is, then I will throw it to the guys and say go out any place you want with it but this should be the foundation. 

LV:  Is there anything about the Cape that inspires you guys?

JG:  Yeah. Putting this EP together we thought about the term Townie. It seems specific to New England, and it can have bad or good connotations. Each song on this EP comes from that idea. Some songs are like, “I’m never gonna leave this town, it’s great,” a Bruce Springsteen kind of thing and some are like, “I gotta leave this place.” For me the Cape is something I can always leave but come back to. I like being from the Cape.

TW: Being from Cape Cod I will always have that sense of attachment. It’s funny, in college I would tell people I was from the Cape and they would say, “Oh, where do you live in the winter?”  I would be like, “No that’s where I’m from year round.” Some of the songs on this EP reflect the feeling, that you can leave, but you will always have that radical sense of belonging here.

Rula Bula looks forward to releasing the new EP, “Townies,” and sharing their music with a hometown crowd this Friday at Grumpy’s Pub.  For more info, follow them at facebook.com/rulabulaMA.

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