Written by Calla Camero and Eva Barragan
Photography by Ramsey Cheng
It’s 1am in Los Angeles, California. I’m sitting at a bar called The Short Stop in Echo Park, with Victor Pakpour and Wyatt Ininns, the duo behind musical group Ruby Haunt. We’ve spent the day driving around Los Angeles together, shooting photos of the boys eating at taco trucks and an old movie diner. It’s dark in here, and we’ve had a little more than a little bit to drink. We start talking about love, soulmates, music, and relationships. You know, light conversation. As I ask them question after question, further delving into their artistic journey, their relationship with one another and with music, their responses reveal only the bare minimum, if anything at all. And overtime, I begin to find their answers only leave me with more questions.
“There’s a lot we want to keep open-ended,” Wyatt proclaims. “Keep the mystery.”
Since we’ve met, the only way I’ve managed to gain more insight into learning more about this mysterious musical pair from California, is by going back to their music, where it all began for me a few years ago late at night on my ride home from work. There’s a type of nostalgia attached to the melodies of Ruby, that can make you feel as though you’ve been listening to them your whole life. And I’ve realized, it’s because Ruby Haunt’s music is the soundtrack heard behind every crush you’ve ever had, and every one still to come. Each track is this downtempo, synth ballad, complete with dreamy vocals, and lyrics that are a subtle approach to surrendering oneself to adolescent love.
The feeling of tender and vulnerable emotion that Ruby Haunt is able to produce through their sound, is a direct result of the friendship shared between bandmates Victor and Wyatt, on and off the stage. For them, making music together came naturally because of how close they’ve been since middle school, where they first met.
Whether purposefully or not, their music is a reflection of their friendship: effortless and unassuming.
Here’s our conversation with Wyatt and Victor, of Ruby Haunt.
How did you decide you wanted to start a band together?
Victor: We’ve always had similar taste in music and it’s just been a slow evolution. It was a joke for a while then one day we thought, fuck it. Let’s do this.
Do you think it's possible to be in love with someone you don't know?
Wyatt: For sure. It happens all the time. In love, or some idea of love.
Victor: It's a dream, an illusion of love. It's something you just feel but you can’t really explain.
Have you guys ever been in love with, or had a crush on the same girl?
Victor: Not in love with the same girl, thank God.
Wyatt: That would be a make or breaking point. We respect each other too much to cross that boundary. I think that’s why our friendship has lasted so far.
Do you remember the moment you knew you were in love with music?
Victor: Yeah, there was this song we wrote called “Honeymoon.” It was one of the first songs Wyatt sent me with vocals in it and I remember thinking, “holy shit this is the coolest thing ever.” To see a song come to life. It was the first time I had heard a song actually become a song. We’ll release that song in 10 years for our reunion tour.
What's been the most challenging part of this journey? The most rewarding?
Victor: The most rewarding has been sort of seeing the organic feedback and hearing people’s thoughts on our music and being in control of the process. I think it’s cool as a musician to understand the way the streaming process works, the sales, and just the whole idea of releasing music.
Wyatt: It takes a lot out of you, in the real world perspective, it gives little back but luckily it’s worth it to us to hear how much people actually like it.
Victor: We love the freedom of releasing music ourselves. I think the biggest thing is like when you release stuff yourself you’re still excited about it, versus when you’re with a label there’s such a game plan about the release that you might not be as excited about the song when it comes out. We’re just very much in the moment when we release a song. People have one or two years in advance, and we're releasing songs based off emotion.
Wyatt: Like we release songs the day we finish them. We’ll have a couple of beers and think “fuck it, this sounds good to me.”
Your music has this young love feel to it. Do you think that has something to do with the fact that you two are childhood best friends, or is that how you view relationships?
Wyatt: I think it’s because we’re children. I’m still 16 in my brain.
Victor: I think the fact that we can still do music together makes it more honest. We’re not trying to impress anyone we’re really just doing it for ourselves. And when we’re writing music together we feel invincible. Like we’d be just as happy creating music even if no one else heard it but us.
Final question. Where did the name Ruby Haunt come from?
Victor: One secret that we just can’t give away.
Ruby Haunt has recently announced their residency at the Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles. Last month, they released a new single titled “Darling” that gives us a delicate taste of their next album to come, Blue Hour. You can hear the track below.