Meet Ruth Aicken. She’s one-half of band duo New Portals whose tracks should definitely be on your weekend playlist. We caught up with Ruth to chat breaking into the industry, proud career moments and musical inspiration…
Tell us about yourself…
I’m a passionate little songwriter, I mostly eat plants and I love to travel and ski. I hate housework and routine and I’m pretty nocturnal.
Describe your sound in five words…
Melodic, electronic, experimental, hooky, indie
What was your big break into the industry?
Getting 1000’s of playlistings and millions of streams on Spotify between our 2 acts, The Jepettos and New Portals, Radio 1 plays and being ‘New Band of the Week’ in the Guardian have all been big breaks for us.
When and how did you discover your passion and skills in music?
I have a brother and a twin sister; when we were growing up we drove our parents insane singing on car journeys. Then we wrote our own songs, played shows and I met Mike in my teens and our relationship heavily involved music. So it has always been a way of life for me to write and perform music.
What are you working on at the moment?
A Chill out EP, preparing for our Autumn tours and thinking about releasing an album soon.
What’s on the agenda for the rest of 2016?
We are heading to NYC for a few shows and then Madrid.
What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?
We wrote some songs for a show with Replay Theatre Company. It was developed for kids with multiple and profound learning difficulties. We heard the tragic news that a beautiful little boy had passed away after the show had finished touring. His family contacted us to tell us that he had listened to recordings of the songs we had written for that show during his last days of life and that one of the songs was played at his funeral. We were so touched by this and totally honoured to have contributed to his short life. This was priceless for us, better than any award we could ever achieve.
Best gig you have ever played?
We have just started gigging with New Portals but a few months back we did a collaboration show in Belfast with other 3 other acts. The show was a Jools Holland style structure and we had our own personal dancers and props. It was so wild, free and fun.
If you could collab with anyone who would it be?
I’d like to write a song with Olly from Years and Years.
What 3 tips would you give to emerging artists trying to break into the industry?
Work on your songwriting and developing your craft. It all starts with the quality of the song. Learn to filter what’s good and bad. I think it takes time and practice to get good at this, so it’s great if you can start young. I wish I had taken this more seriously when I was younger.
Who inspires you in the industry?
Amelia from Sylvan Esso. Also loving ‘Wet’- a Brooklyn-based act.
Who is your guilty pleasure most played?
Favourite music video?
So many, but I really love the Romeo and Juliet vibes of Rihanna- We Found Love. It was filmed in Belfast where I’m from and the video really captures the grit and also beauty of this place.
What’s the last thing you listened to?
MO – final song with my 2 girls in the car singing at the top of our lungs.
What song do you want to be playing as you walk into the club?
Weird choice but anything from Bombay Bicycle club.
Best song to get ready to?
Tilted – Christine and the Queens.
What item of clothing can’t you live without?
My skinny suck-in pants! Mike’s fake woolly jumpers.
What items do you make sure you pack on tour?
White trainers and my massive black satin trousers.
Who is your style icon and why?
Seriously my twin sister, Rebekah. She has her own accessories label ‘Lines and Current’. She teams minimal dressing with that perfect twist of boho in all the right places. She’s the queen of roughing up a simple outfit so its not too sweet and she will just look really chic and individual.
Where do you look for fashion inspiration?
INSTAGRAM! Flipping love instagram and Missguided!
What best describes your style on stage?
Really comfy actually. I always wear flats so I can bounce about.
What’s your favourite fashion trend this season and why?
Eh, the fact that platform shoes are still doing another round. They come in handy for me as I’m a petite 5ft.2!
If you could steal anyone’s wardrobe who’s would it be?
Why do you think the relationship between music and fashion is so strong?
Well, I think artists love any excuse to have another outlet to get creative and play. Fashion and how to present yourself visually comes hand- in-hand with how to present yourself audibly. It’s like a complete package.
Leather or denim? Defs Denim.
Tattoos or no tattoos? Hmmm no tattoos
Dogs or cats? Allergic to both…
Heels or flats? Flats
Red lips or nude lips? nude
Instagram or Twitter? Insta
Kylie or Kendall? Allergic to both…
Rock or rap? Rock
Rihanna or Beyoncé? Rih Rhi
Festivals or clubs? Festivals
Ibiza or Vegas? Ibiza
Music or food? Music
Beach or pool? Beach
Nights out or nights in? Nights out
Gold or silver? Silver
Maxi or mini? Mini
Wanna know more? Follow New Portals on Insta @newportals
…and listen to their tracks on Soundcloud:
Shop her style: