Spookey Ruben with Melissa Ferrick at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina) tomorrow (Friday, July 13). $8. 416-968-2001.
Listening to Spookey Ruben yawn through our early-afternoon interview, I'm thinking his new double disc is aptly named.
One CD is called Bed, where Ruben's obviously just been, and the other's titled Breakfast, something he probably should have had a little more of before he started talking.
The double dip is due out August 14, and his release party at Reverb happens three nights later, but he's heading to the El Mo tomorrow (Friday, July 13) for a warm-up.
The Bed disc has a deeper, more lucid funk vibe, while Breakfast has a simpler hit-and-punch pop approach.
It's now four years since we last heard a project from Ruben, but the pop/funk Toronto native's new discs are worth the wait.
"They've got a lot more digital instruments, and a lot of the stuff was recorded in my bedroom, like my first album," he says from his Toronto home.
"But I don't see the digital stuff necessarily as effects. It's just a different way of doing different shit."
Ruben makes sure he's always doing something new. When he was dropped by the New York-based electronica/pop label TVT in 1998, it was a letdown at first.
"It's hard to get going again. When you know you have the label behind you, it just helps you in so many ways. I think the idea of me being signed to a label and sharing my creations with people in marketing and publicity is a beautiful thing, but I can't force labels to take me on and share the wealth."
But Ruben didn't stop there. Frustrated with the idea of shopping his sound around, he launched his own label, Hi-Hat Recordings, early this year. Already, three other musicians have signed on.
"Years from now it's going to be looked at as a prominent Canadian cultural force. I just don't see other bands doing that. They're all consumed by getting signed to a label in the States, and it suddenly turns into the reason for doing an album.
"What I'm trying to do is create music that's Canadian, so I can expose Toronto to the world.
"But I don't sing about hockey in every song."