Bewildering beginnings

Musicians Spookey Ruben and Thunderclap are now going on tour together and working on a short film project

While Spookey Ruben describes his music as pop rock fantasia, his touring mate Thunderclap says he approaches music the same way he does method acting.
While Spookey Ruben describes his music as pop rock fantasia, his touring mate Thunderclap says he approaches music the same way he does method acting.

A successful tour vehicle requires a few essentials: your instruments and your vitamins.

After an interview with Canadian indie icon Spookey Ruben, with unexpected additions from his tour mate Thunderclap, both musicians expressed how well they have connected while touring across East Atlantic Canada so far.

“The whole tour is him and I in his car. He’s got a Toyota Prius and we have the car jammed full of merchandise, guitars, keyboards, nutrition and herbal supplements,” Ruben said. “We’re just having a blast right now.”

The quirky pair have developed a “Don’t sleep in, sleep out” lifestyle, tirelessly touring through winter storms and slippery roads to perform in new cities, including Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Ruben said one of the more memorable trips on their self-created touring vehicle was on their way to Shediac, NB from Montreal.

“I was very scared because we were in a very extreme snow storm. If it had been any worse, we would have had to pull over and we wouldn’t have made it to the show” he said.

Through these dangerous drives, Ruben and Thunderclap have bonded together and grown an appreciation for each other’s music.

Both musicians have a specific sound. Spookey defines his music as 1980s synth ballad Pop Rock Fantasia, while Thunderclap said his music “sounds like method acting feels.”

“I really go down to the basis of psychological and emotional ideas and try to get to the bare bones where I can affect the listeners,” Thunderclap said.

As if their genres weren’t obscure enough, the two musicians’ reasons for playing music were even more intriguing.

Thunderclap said he realized music was something he wanted to pursue after he yelled at a friend in elementary school.

“My friend said I had a big fat mouth, and he asked if I wanted to join his band.”

Friend and co-musician Ruben had an equally unexpected response, saying that his first band named Saturn didn’t have instruments at all.

“I started a fictitious band with my friends playing with tennis rackets, cardboard boxes and stuff like that,” he said.

The compatibility between these two musicians has motivated them to play covers together on tour, including covering Allan Parson Project’s song “Eye in the Sky.” And although I had never heard the song before, Ruben and Thunderclap were quick to sing the chorus for me and fill me in on what I was missing.

Thunderclap also mentioned that he and Ruben were working on a short film, since both are passionate about filmmaking.

“For whatever magical reason, Spookey came aboard and we thought it was a good idea to work together,” Thunderclap said. “He enjoyed what I was doing. We both have a strange angle of looking at different ideas in life, song writing and intellectual ideas.”

Spookey Ruben and Thunderclap play the Mansion on Thursday at 9 p.m.

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