Ruth Goller Interview
Bassist and composer Ruth Goller talks about her forthcoming debut album Skylla, which is released on 9th July.
As a bassist, what was it that first attracted you to the lower register?
I have always enjoyed low register sounds. I used to play the violin as a child, and still find high pitched violin painful to my ears. I think I am calm and soft-spoken, so hearing low calming sounds is natural to me. I like low vibrations. I like to hold the double-bass or electric bass and feel the earth vibrating underneath me.
What inspired you to create your album Skylla?
I was asked to be a part of a writing series called ‘This is our music’. We were asked to contribute one tune a month, which gave me an incentive to write regularly, which (as for a lot of musicians) can be difficult. The first track I wrote was Often they came to visit, even just to see how she was (M1). I came home late the night before, returning from abroad via plane. My bass had detuned inside the soft case and I started playing around with de-tuned harmonics. It was a fresh sound, as suddenly when you de-tune your instrument randomly, you have to rely completely on your ears, rather than finger-memory and coincidences can turn into melodies, chosen by what you truly like. I added layers of vocals on top and liked the outcome. I decided to write a tune in this manner for the rest of the series. By the end of the year, I had written an album.
What have you done differently with your album that you haven’t done on other projects that you’ve worked on?
Everything about Skylla has been different as it happened out of complete coincidence, which now I know is more me, than anything else I have ever done. I have often tried to put a band together or plan to write music in a specific way, but when I didn’t, everything felt so much more connected to me.
What sorts of things have you learned in the process of creating your own album?
I have learned to trust my instincts and to let go of anything I know. Free fall can be a blessing if you can be brave.
What plans do you have for the future? Are you planning on doing more of your own projects?
For me this last year has been more difficult than any other year of my life. Not necessarily due to the pandemic, but because of other things that have happened. The pandemic certainly has made everything more difficult and frustrating, but hasn’t affected things that really matter to me.
Was there a place that you really wanted to go to during lockdown?
I come from the alps (the Dolomites) in the north of Italy. I have spent some time there during the pandemic. It is my sanctuary.
Interview by Charlie Anderson.
Photo: Paula Rae Gibson