In the last three weeks, through our ‘Artist of The Month’ series, we journeyed through Ruth Royall’s artistry. We took a look at her inspirational rise as one of the most important artists in Drum & Bass, through her best tracks, her beginnings, and her band, Paper Dragon, and their multi-genre expeditions.
After kickstarting her Drum & Bass career in 2019, Ruth Royall has made her mark on the biggest label in the genre, thanks to her creative vocal delivery, that has the potential to weave through various genres and styles.
Along with solo Drum & Bass exploits, Ruth Royall has dabbled in genres like Breakbeat, House, Electronica and Bass House through her Paper Dragon collective, and she has aced those departments as well.
After narrating Ruth Royall’s career in our words, were keen to know her thoughts on her beginnings, her band, her Keep It Real campaign. We had the Drum & Bass phenomenon for a candid chat with us and here is what she had to say:
Honestly, it is hard to believe that Ruth Royall’s first piece of music in Drum & Bass came in 2019. With the size of collaborations she has accomplished, it feels like she’s been a part of the scene for a decade. We asked her how she felt about her journey so far and Ruth Royall had a really kind answer to give.
It’s been mind-blowing. I still pinch myself sometimes to affirm that all this is real. But to be honest, it’s been fast really. I came from a Jazz and Soul background, and even though dance music was something that I would listen to very often, it wasn’t something that I was making. Then, to find my place or my home in a genre that I have been such a huge fan of just felt so incredibly organic and serendipitous.
For me, to have the response that I have had is just an incredible feeling and my connection with the fanbase has been the most special thing for me. Before making my debut in Drum & Bass with Grafix, I was writing music for someone else and then to have a platform where I can write music for myself and to have people follow my journey and be inspired by it, has been fascinating!
Before starting my Drum & Bass journey, I was involved in music for more than a decade and I could channelise all my experience and put it all into the genre that I love and finally make something for myself has been like…great! Now is my time! I feel so comfortable and so loved, and it also speaks volumes about the Drum & Bass community of how accepting and appreciative it is.
Ruth Royall’s journey in Drum & Bass began in 2019, but her love affair with the genre began way, way before. We were keen to know when she struck a chord with the genre.
I was quite young when I started listening to Drum & Bass and I was attending club nights when I was far too young to be hitting clubs. I come from a town called Stroud which is close to Bristol where the Drum & Bass scene is rich and thriving. I saw people having decks, experimenting with vinyls, making fresh music and I fell in love with the community of how people just connected with each other. When you are at a Drum & Bass party, you don’t need to say anything, you can just feel the warmth with the people around you and how welcoming everyone one is. That is the energy that I fell for and haven’t looked back since.
Eventually, as I started working in music, Jazz and Soul music had a different place in my life and so did Drum & Bass but now it just feel so surreal to have both things in my life together at once and I am enjoying every minute of it.
Right from her first release with Grafix and her work since then, we have seen a constant evolution in Ruth Royall’s music through different styles and sounds; and we wanted to know how she thought her sound has evolved.
I think recently I have very much gone back to my roots. When I was making music before, I was catering to what others wanted but now I have gone back to my roots and I’ve been making music that resonates with me. I am passionate about Soul music and while my music is getting a little break-sy, I feel that I am going back to my roots where the music breathes itself and dives towards the soulful end of the genre.
Ruth Royall’s 2021 track ‘Remedies’ with Mollie Collins was one of the best tracks of 2021 in our opinion for the depth and emotion that it brought to the listener; Ruth Royall shared her experience of writing the tune with Mollie Collins, what the track means to her and the reception it has received.
‘Remedies’ is a song that I wrote so quickly it’s a process that I call word vomit where ideas are just flowing with ease and you are just writing them down. Mollie Collins got in touch with me to see if we could work together on a track and when I started working on it, the riff came out so naturally and that is when I knew that I knew exactly what I am writing about.
The lyrics of ‘Remedies’ is a subject that is really close to me and it’s a subject that is so close to our hearts. It also came out during a time when we were all restricted to confined spaces and people resonated with the tune in their way’; and the response I have had following the release has been incredible. I’ve never had something like that before.
Paper Dragon, which is Ruth Royall’s band, came out of her love for wanting to explore the wider spectrum of dance music. The collective, since their inception, have delved into multiple genres and they have nailed every release they have put out so far. We were curious to know how Paper Dragon assembled.
I approached Jon, one of my closest friends because I wanted to explore something away from Drum & Bass and his first reaction was, work with me!! and then he introduced me to Bruce and Chris who worked together in a duo called Playhead. So, we all sat in a room, made some music together and that’s when we knew that we were on to something.
We then started as a Drum & Bass act but later on, we felt like we had to explore other dance music genres and we have made some Breaks, some Downtempo and even some House since then. So yeah, the idea was to make Paper Dragon a multi-genre act and on a personal front, it has also helped me channel my solo stuff with Paper Dragon and keep my creative flows going.
After 4 years, now it feels like Paper Dragon is a proper collective where we have our ethos, a label to release our music on, our studio space, and now it feels like we have carved our own niche. It’s really exciting.
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Along with Ruth Royall as the artist, she also holds an important place in the scene as an activist who is advocating against the negative social media norms of how we should appear on social platforms. Her #KeepItReal Campaign has had far-reaching effects in the wider music community.
The campaign has seen fellow ladies of Drum & Bass team up with her to amplify the campaign, and the response has been inspirational. It has also helped so many people! Many people still feel anxious about their social media appearance and they are scared to come out and showcase their talent. We asked Ruth Royall what her message would be to the people who are going through issues like these.
My message would be, find your tribe, unfollow the people who make you feel uncomfortable on social media and similarly surround yourself with the people who make you feel at home. Even if a person that you follow on a daily basis, if the stuff they post makes you uncomfortable, just unfollow them.
Follow people that empower you, reach out to people who make you feel better. The worst part is, social media is a place that can be really isolating even though it’s meant to connect us and sometimes it can make you feel its just you. Be mindful of how you use social media, be interactive and talk to the people who make you feel nice; send messages, send DMs, send voice notes, just keep the energy flowing.
We in fact have a Facebook group where people come together to build each other up and when they post about how they feel, everyone comes together to comfort them or to celebrate with them. That’s the beauty of the group that it lets you thrive along with a set of people who are looking out for you. Come be a part of it let’s grow together.
With that, we bring our ‘Artist Of The Month’ series with Ruth Royall to a close. She has got some INSANE music lined up and some exciting shows up as well. So, keep an eye out!