Interested in space exploration? Ruckzuck might be the band for you. The psychedelic trio hailing from Long Island, NY, has the power to transport you to alternative dimensions. Ruckzuck consists of lead singer Faith Kelly (who also plays the keys, ukulele, and kazoo), Nick Bedo (guitar), and his brother Matt (drums).
The band’s sound and live performance developed from their adoration of progressive glam rock and krautrock bands of the ’70s. Decades after this improvisational genre came into existence, bands like The Flaming Lips brought the experimental sounds of that time back into the mainstream. Ruckzuck seems to be following suit, taking a page directly from Wayne Coyne’s book, but somehow managing to make it all their own.
The lights, the metallic costumes, and the self-made props all help to emphasize the supernatural spirit that embodies Ruckzuck’s music. During their live sets, they playfully interact with their audience and invite them along on a trippy journey for the half hour or so that they jam on stage. The effect that the music has on its listeners is entirely nuanced by the environment that the band so effortlessly fashions.
BTR caught up with the mind-expanding threesome to learn more about their otherworldly endeavors and to chat about their debut LP.
BreakThru Radio (BTR): How did Ruckzuck come to be?
Faith Kelly (FK): Two brothers and a girlfriend, all living in the same house. We got desperate to escape the reality of living with our parents–and grandparents–and the stars lined up and we all jammed.
Nick Bedo (NB): I bought Faith an old, funky Casio 403 keyboard one day. When no one was home, we set up the drums and guitar amps in the living room and magic happened. We knew from that day we had to be a band, that our passion would keep us together.
Matt Bedo (MB): Our brains swim in similar waves.
BTR: What is the significance behind the band’s name?
MB: Well, Shit Kitten didn’t stick, so Ruckzuck was the next choice.
NB: It’s also the name of an early Kraftwerk song, a Krautrock group we were listening to a lot during the band’s formation–and still do. The live performance of the song “Ruckzuck” from 1971 embodied the kind of music we wanted to recreate and not let die.
BTR: And what kind of music is that?
MB: Like a dinosaur walking on the moon with atmospheric overtones sprinkled throughout.
NB: Minimalist, improvised space rock with soaring, lush voices.
BTR: You have a very strong psychedelic sound. Other than Kraftwerk, what musical groups have influenced Ruckzuck?
FK: We’re very influenced by The Flaming Lips, CAN, Leadbelly, David Bowie, Tame Impala, Phish, T. Rex, Pink Floyd, White Noise, etc.
NB: Mostly musical groups that deviate from the norm and go against the pandering sounds of modern pop music.
BTR: You recently moved to Pennsylvania from New York to focus on making an LP. How has the writing and recording process gone so far?
FK: It started with a four-day weekend in the house. Then we realized we had to build a soundproof room in the basement. Half of the time we had there went to building the room, and the other half went to recording the songs and nailing the jams. But the process has been amazing. We spent the summer living out of our Long Island rehearsal studio with no air conditioning. Being surrounded by nature and in our own space makes the vibes good and the process seems to run so much smoother than before. It’s been very refreshing.
NB: The neighbors are still a bit scared.
BTR: There is a great performance element to your live shows that seems to transform the space into something surreal. Can you speak a little bit about why you do this and how it ties together with the overall essence of the band?
NB: We like to make people uncomfortable at first. Then, if they stick around, they join us on an adventure. By changing the environment, you know it’s a Ruckzuck show; the weird lights, the VHS TV, the costumes, we’re all in it together. We’re very influenced by The Flaming Lips in this respect. We want to not just put on a show, but throw the best, most colorful fog machine confetti freak party. You can be whatever you want, dress like you want, feel like you want. It’s an experience we love to create.
BTR: What can we expect from Ruckzuck in the future?
NB: We will continue to go forward and explore new musical territory while maintaining that classic psychedelic tradition.
FK: We’re hitting the road this October, along with releasing our first full album Safe n’ Sound on September 30. The rest is improv.