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Born Ruffians rock the Paragon 

Ontario indie-rock trio make their inaugural Halifax visit

click to enlarge Born Ruffians seem like a gentle bunch. Find out Thursday.
  • Born Ruffians seem like a gentle bunch. Find out Thursday.

Midland, Ontario's Born Ruffians may have conquered Europe and parts of Australia with their high-energy minimalist rock, but in the band's seven-year career, the east coast has always eluded them.

"It's kind of strange that it's been this long in our career since we've been out there," says Mitch Derosier, bassist and vocalist for the indie-rock trio. But as the band approaches its first-ever tour of the Maritime provinces, Derosier has few worries about the upcoming shows and is ready for the unexpected. "That's kind of the exciting thing about going somewhere new, just that wondering of who will be there, or if anyone will know our songs," he says. "The same thing happened with us when we toured Europe and Australia. We didn't know what to expect at all and it turned out to be great."

On this current cross-Canada tour, Derosier and his bandmates aren't just excited to reach out to uncharted lands on behalf of their sophomore LP, Say It. They also plan to reach wider audiences than ever before by playing as many all-ages shows as possible.

"It's really frustrating and our fans are pretty vocal about it," says Derosier, who took to the Ruffians' blog in February to vent to his fans about the all-ages situation. "I just wanted to let them know we're stressed about it, too, and we're trying to do what we can to make it happen."

Coming from a small Ontario town---the group used to drive into Toronto every weekend to play and see shows---Born Ruffians know all too well the trials and tribulations of rocking out at a young age. "We've done shows in the States where we had to wait out on the sidewalk before our shows because they won't let us in and we would have to leave right after our set," says Derosier. Which is all the more reason for Derosier to champion his music for their growing youth fan base.

The band's angular pop music won fans in the electronic world with its cover of Aphex Twin's "Milkman/To Cure a Weakling Child" on their shared label of Warp Records, which has led the band to become greater fans of the intelligent dance music genre. "Being on the label is what turned us into fans of the music. Growing up in Midland, we were not exposed to something like Warp Records. The most obscure thing we had access to was when we heard of The Strokes. You would have to be the hippest kid in the world to know about Warp, growing up in Midland," says Derosier with a laugh.

But Born Ruffians are no longer the same group of teens who gained cult status with the debut Red, Yellow & Blue. The internet is faster, The Strokes are less awesome and kids apparently party like the teens on Skins (Born Ruffians' music appeared on the UK version which led to a following overseas). Even if you drink like a 19-year-old but aren't old enough to get into the Paragon on April 7 to see them play, it won't be the last time Born Ruffians hit the eastern shores.

"We hope people will come to our shows and be familiar with our music," says Derosier, "but if not, we're happy to try to make some new fans."

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