Ruby Haunt – Sunbelt

Ruby Haunt‘s The Middle of Nowhere was one of my favorite albums in 2019. It took me to an inner place, as though I were on a long drive, gazing out the window at the changing landscape. So I was thrilled when they released Sunbelt, a nine-minute single, in March.

I talked briefly with Ruby Haunt about Sunbelt. They shared that they recorded the song live in one take. Tracking three times, they then picked one of the recordings. Taking this approach, “added such a fun / organic element to the recording.”

Where some of the mixes on The Middle of Nowhere are mixed toward the center, Sunbelt is more expansive. The song was produced and mixed by Sonny Diperri (DIIV, Lord Huron, STRFKR, Animal Collective), and mastered by Carl Saff. Where post-production is concerned, Sunbelt is my favorite of theirs so far. The drums are placed perfectly. A lot is happening with the melodies, but they’re placed where they don’t walk on each other.

The song opens with a repeated guitar melody that takes me back to mid-90s Pedro the Lion…. clean and warm guitar tones with sustain, minor key, mood-inducing. The melody is repeated throughout the song, Two other electric guitars build on the melody, coming in and out as the song develops. A rounded synth tone comes in that fills the space, placed behind the guitars with a sustaining reverb that makes the tone even smoother.

The drums are really clean, the snare has slightly more emphasis on the bottom mic. The ride is beautiful, not too bright or dark.

The vocals sound like they were sung into a Shure SM7 (correct me if I’m wrong), with a warm near whisper-like vocal approach. There’s a doubling on the vocals, which could either be achieved in post-production (or mic bleed, if they recorded in the same room).

You told the truth and I was a liar
You thought it out and I just retired
But now that we’re older and everything is brighter
I miss the chaos when life was just water

Ruby Haunt – Sunbelt on Genius

Since they began releasing music in 2015, Ruby Haunt has released four full-length albums and four EPs. All but one, 2016’s Crush EP, have been independently released. That’s impressive.

If you haven’t listened to Sunbelt yet, you’ll want to put this song on and go for a drive. You’ll find it on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and YouTube. I can’t get enough.