It’s easy to see why the up-tempo guitars and funky synth-dominated sound of Bristol’s The Rupees is attracting a swiftly growing reputation. The band have mastered the art of big choruses in an exciting rocky, punky, poppy mega-mix, which they describe to us with the three Gs of “Glorious, Godly and Gigantic.”
Having met at university or at parties around four years ago, the quartet of Ryan Tucker (vocals and guitar), Jacob Chambers (synth), Tom Phillips (bass) and Seamus Daley Dee (drums), effectively fell into a band together.
As Ryan explains: “It was funny really. I used to give Jake a lift to uni and mentioned I was starting a band but had no intention of asking him to join at the time. He kept casually mentioning to me that he could play piano, which I often ignored, then one day after around the sixth time of this casual piano name dropping I had enough and just said ‘OK you can join but you need to buy a synth,’ which he did quite quickly which was amazing and the best decision ever.
“Seamus and I met at a party, both massively wasted, so it was a miracle I got his number right. I text him the next day, arranged to meet him for a practice with our other guitarist at the time. With a name like Seamus Daley Dee I swore blind he was Irish and my hazy memory told me he was around 6 foot. It turned out he was about 5 foot 5 and had the thickest Leeds accent you could wish to hear. That was it.”
Part of the intrigue with The Rupees is that they’re very easy to relate to and a great example to anyone that fancies creating their own music. As Ryan tells us: “I always wanted to be in a band but was just a bit too scared I think. It was silly looking back, but I was self-taught so maybe that was it. I used to work on the building sites as a carpenter and I used to write songs on my lunch break, I was obsessed with writing, that was my main drive to start the band really, just to play the tunes that I’d written.
“Life is amazing but can sometimes be pretty mundane with work and stuff so I like to write about breaking free and changing things up. Being working class is always a big help when writing, I think, I feel you have a cushion to fall back on, you can’t really be accused of being a sell-out or anything. If you come from nothing you can write about everything and get away with it.”
The most recent offering of this is third single Terror Lover, which was released in November. Opening up with a held synth note, a funky synth sound kicks in and leads into a singalong opening verse, feeding into a chorus with synth supporting Ryan’s vocals. The second chorus drops into a mass of intense synthy, guitar noise before diving into a final chorus. Check it out in the video below:
On the track, Ryan tells us: “It’s been amazing, we have had a lot of radio play from it, the BBC have picked it up which has been great – always happy with that. It’s very upbeat, lots of energy, big synth lines with some nicely distorted guitars, big chorus and very catchy.”
Previous single Catch 22 is ridiculously… well… catchy, opening up with a funky synth and guitar blast then fast-paced vocals that drop into drawn-out words before dropping into more synth and guitar. The intensity builds with stabbing guitars supporting the fast-paced vocals in the second verse, then the singalong chorus drops into more relaxed bridge opening up “It’s not as easy as it looks, Double dare you to try.” The pace slows right down, then a return of the synth notes usher in a guitar solo that feeds into a final blast of the chorus.
While middle track on their debut Magic is, pretty magic, with a really cool “Oo yeah” section in the chorus and big rocky riffs over rolling drums showcasing the heavier side of the band. Give it a listen in the stream below.
And when it comes to what inspires them to write music, Ryan explains: “Things that are achievable but always out of reach, that pops up quite a bit in the songs I write. There is always stuff about escapism as well, our lives are great but everything in society can be better but it never is, the powers that be are too scared to do anything drastic.
“I never directly write about politics but try and make the lyrics a metaphor for life. Politics in songs can only be written by good punk bands for me, everyone else who does it sounds like a hack or Bob Dylan (who I love btw), so I keep them quite obscure.”
While their musical influences are heavily on big British rock, as Ryan tells us: “Oasis were absolutely mega for me, really simple songwriting, good vocals and a big sound, they came from nothing so whether you like them or not is irrelevant. Their story is about being able to achieve something special with all the odds stacked against you, that is pretty inspiring. The Clash are an influence, that gritty garage rock sound comes out in our music a lot. I would have to say Kasabian as well, although we don’t sound like them as such, they were the first rock band that really used electronic sounds in a way that really made me pay attention and think ‘I wish I could do that.'”
And if you’re still yet to be sold on whether The Rupees are for you, then this might just swing you. Ryan told us: “We love our fans more than any band in the UK, I think. We give away free merch a lot, our last gig we gave the whole crowd a free badge and spoke to Sailor Jerry and organised a free drink for everyone, so the whole room got a free rum and coke and a Rupees badge. We always send out free CDs as well. We just love the people that like us, and always want to show them we appreciate them. Live shows are the most fun thing in the world so you should thank the people the most who make those nights possible.”
So not only do they make great music, they’re clearly also lovely, lovely lads. So go give them a listen and stay tuned for much more from The Rupees very soon as they’re back in the studio next month with several more tunes set to be released early this year.