There’s a certain warmth that you get when listening to Denice Quimbo’s music.
It’s similar to the feeling of laying in your room, looking up at the ceiling or like reading an old diary and remembering all the emotions that came with it. Her lyrics are strangely relatable too, in that they perfectly describe the thoughts and sentiments that are difficult to explain.
Denice has been doing music since 2014, under the stage name Ruru, and has previously released EPs “Sleep” and “Far Out.“ The 21-year-old musician recently toured the United States with Mellow Fellow as a supporting act, and is now dropping her third record, “The Odds.”
“The Odds” is as dreamy and as wistful as her other music, but now with a fuller and more complete sound. Denice’s vocals on the tracks are as smooth as ever, and when combined with the cosmic synths result in an overall solid collection of work.
We chatted with Denice through email and talked about her recent US tour, her growth as an artist, and her newly released EP.
Young STAR: Hey, Ruru! Last 2019, you toured the U.S. and played in states like California and Texas. How was it like going to all these places and performing for all these people?
Ruru: Hey! The whole experience was so unreal. It was my first time visiting the US, so I was stoked. The crowd welcomed us warmly and was very friendly. Fans would really walk up to you and let you know how much they appreciate you. Burger recommendations had us eating burgers every day for the first week as we jumped city to city, biome to biome. We packed eight people (plus snacks) in a white van for four weeks driving around to play the most unforgettable shows in our lives.
How different is “The Odds” from your previous EPs?
My last two EPs were much smoother and softer in quality compared to the new record. I was learning along the way: recording demos, posting covers, just like everyone else. Both “Sleep” and “Far Out” were written during a gloomier time in my life. I was floating back and forth, college classes to the dorm, living one meal a day.
Choosing to be a recluse had me rambling over a looped drum beat. Three years amounts to so much change since then. During the time of writing “The Odds,” I was traveling frequently with the band. We saw an assortment of streets and city lights that widened my perspective.
There was a lot going on and it often had my mind blank because I had less idle time to introspect-retrospect. Luckily, I’ve had more time to experiment with new sounds. With this record, I wanted to focus on layers and texture; fewer words and more melodies.
From all the songs on your EP, is there a particular one you’re most fond of, or do you have a memorable story behind any of them?
This question is like choosing between my children, hahaha! I gravitate a little bit more towards Sand Dollars maybe because of the lyrics.
Tell us about your creative process. How do your songs go from a concept or idea to the full thing?
There are two ways I usually begin a song, one through a phrase, poem or a scene I can’t seem to remove from my mind (almost like an itch). And the other way — which is by accident. I take this skeleton (a melody or a phrase) to the keyboard and start to form the body tissue by tissue, muscle by muscle with chords and a riff. Then I usually give up (or continue).
Once I’m happy with the structure and am decided as to where I want to go, I sprinkle the sprinkles and polish the song. After having listened to it a hundred times until I can’t stand it, that’s when I know that it’s as it is. The process continues to change to this day.
Aside from music, you also make art and draw. How’d you get started?
As a kid, I was fond of drawing comics. I would buy bundles of spiral notebooks to draw series upon series of comics that were only good for when you’d be on the toilet. We were homeschooled for most of our childhood so I didn’t know any better but to create fictional worlds and it was my way of killing boredom.
My best friend and I would somewhat make it an unspoken tradition to bring our journals and just paint or write while catching up on our lives. Moving up to college, doodling became a coping mechanism. I felt like I could express myself better without words and through dumb dialogue — the one that so incessantly runs in the back of your mind.
If you could pick any song to describe how your life is going so far, what would it be?
Probably Nowhere, Girl. I wrote the song around December up to the start of this year. It’s about the “creator’s curse” and how pride — although pompous and with feathers all fluffed up — can be the voice of demise whose objective is to keep you locked indoors.
Can we expect any collaborations between you and other artists in the future? Who would you like to work with?
Polo (Mellow Fellow) and I have been working on a track with CRWN recently…
We know that your EP just came out, but what’s next for Ruru? Do you have any musical milestones you want to accomplish one day?
If time would let me, I’d like to play some shows and shoot some videos to accompany my music. Someday I’d like to be able to work with an orchestra on the big stage.