Ryan McPhun of The Ruby Suns describes the tour for his latest album as "a live rock band approach to not-live-band rock music." His fourth Ruby Suns album, Christopher (released in January on Sub Pop), is indeed a synth-laden futuristic pop album, highly polished and danceable. But McPhun made the decision to play the songs with a more rocking setup in concert. "It's always a really daunting task when you're sitting down with a record that took a hell of a lot of work and the productions are meticulous, and for me every little sound is as important as everything else," he says. "In the past, I've stressed about trying to squeeze everything into the live show. This time around, I wanted to try a more straightforward approach and, for some of the songs, see if we could perform them as a three-piece. It ended up working, and that's something we've never really done before, to have four things going at once. I've always wanted 20 things going at once." Christopher is inspired by what McPhun calls his "multi-hemispherical upbringing." After high school, he left California for New Zealand. The end of one relationship and the start of another brought him to Norway, where he started working on songs with just a laptop and one synthesizer. That shift in cultures — and McPhun's own reflections on living through his 20s as a traveling musician — color's Christopher's wayfaring songs.
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