2/4/11 – Self –described cute rock, Kay Gillete, Jospeh Barker, and Alex Young of Bella Ruse, shared their approach to making a career in today’s music industry at IPR’s DIY on Friday. From cd packaging to percussion, aka a typewriter and drum case doubling as a bass drum, Bella Ruse epitomize the DIY model. Their talent and hard work have earned them a spot at this year’s distinguished SXSW
Festival , only further proving where determination and style can take you.
ABOUT BELLA RUSE
In the last year folk pop duo Bella Ruse, fronted by singer Kay Gillette, have proven themselves to be a talented hardworking band, going on three national tours, recording three EPs and releasing their first full length album. Their simple but engagingly intimate show has impressed festival and club audiences from their hometown of Minneapolis to Seattle and New York. Their songs have received play on radio and television programs world wide and their track ‘Push On’ won them a spot opening for Sarah McLachlan and Metric at Lilith Fair in 2010. They fully funded their brand new album, Kuhzoo, via Kickstarter.com with the generous support of their fans all around the world and are currently traveling in a tour van powered by vegetable oil.
Bella Ruse was formed February of 2009 when Kay, a former award winning opera singer, moved to Minneapolis to collaborate with Joseph, a twin cities guitarist and composer. They initially started playing as a vocal jazz duo, performing their first show at St. Paul jazz landmark, The Artists’ Quarter. But after their first tour, they found themselves more at home in the vibrant Minneapolis singer-songwriter scene, so they picked up a kazoo and a melodica and headed into indie folk territory.
Their first album, a short, self-titled EP, was recorded for the RPM Challenge, which encourages artists to write and record an entire album in the month of February. Though Kay and Joseph didn’t achieve the required ten songs for the competition, their six song self-titled EP caught the attention of Minneapolis studio owner David Hedding, with whom they subsequently recorded a collection of live songs. Five songs from their original EP have been licensed for commercial and television use nationally, including “Heart of Everyone” which will be heard on Showtime’s “Next Stop For Charlie”, and “Push On”, which won them an opening spot at Lilith Fair.
Recently, Bella Ruse has taken up the green energy banner, traveling this past summer in a tour van converted to run on waste vegetable oil, which is lower in carbon emissions and produced locally. Their van has already seen most of the country, ferrying Kay and Joseph to Austin, Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, and New York in the last few months.
Bolstered by the success of their first EP, Kay and Joseph are following in the footsteps of artists like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Allison Weiss by shunning the record label model and opting to take on the managerial and financial responsibility themselves. Their new full-length album, which came out January 1st, was fan-funded through the website Kickstarter.com, which gives artists a chance to connect with listeners and receive contributions in exchange for rewards like signed albums and private concerts.
The new album, called ‘Kuhzoo’, features a fuller sound, including drummer Alex Young and bassist Nathan Eliot and has a more collaborative feel. The album is being released in conjunction with a collection of remixed singles from the record, done by local musicians. “We wanted to include our fans and friends as much as possible with this album and build a community around what we’re doing,” says Kay. Nevertheless, this album was done in typical Bella Ruse style, produced independently in their home studio.
Bella Ruse celebrated the release with Ben Kyle (Romantica) and Holly Newsom (Zoo Animal) at the 331 Club in Minneapolis on December 18.
Bella Ruse is usually:
Kay Gillette – Vocals, toy piano, Suitcase Organ, Melodica, Kazoo
Joseph Barker – Guitar, etc.
Alex Young – Typewriter, Percussion, Drums
Nathan Eliot – Bass