Halifax-based electro-dance outfi t Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees is an artful blend of honeysuckle and poison. Bitter yet sweet, the quartet of nectar collectors harvest sounds akin to Tiga, Daft Punk, MSTRKRFT and 80s-era Madonna.
A motley assortment of Halifax indie-rock ne’er-do-wells, RJATTB have cobbled together the following formula for organic dance party success, on their way to near-accidental successes of their own:
Colin Crowell is the brains; writing, arranging and producing the beats and bleeps that swarm around the ensemble, and mixing all its component elements live on stage. Rebekah Higgs (solo artist, Outside Music) is the lungs of Ruby Jean, backing up her ecstatic,confident stage presence and audacious style with vocal and looping/effects prowess. Guitarist Jason Vautour (Jon Epworth & The Improvements, Great Plains) is the arms, channeling both his Madonna and Napalm Death CDs to conjure drop-tuned-yet-danceable guitar counterpoint against pulsing synths. Sean MacGillivray (Great Plains, Jenn Grant & the Night Painters) is the legs of the outfit, re-interpreting looped drums as real ones in real time on a traditional rock drumkit.
A potent combination of skills and personalities, and a dedication to the art of the live show have drawn these Bees both audiences and accolades, including “Best Dressed Band” in alt-weekly the Coast’s annual Best of Music Readers’ Poll. Bucking the trend of indie-rock head-hanging and woe-isme self-deprecation, this band has no fear of the fog machine.
Least fearful of all of a bit of showmanship is likely Rebekah, who adopts the “Ruby Jean” alter ego in her stage theatrics. An amalgam of her grandmothers’ names, Ruby Jean is the predominant stylistic force in the band’s live production, acting as an ad hoc style consultant, trippy light fi xtures in tow. Ruby Jean’s component namesakes are expressed through the live show; “She was beautiful and confident. I want that side of her to live on.”