There’s a surf club in North Kirra where I sat, Adam to my right, Pat across from me. The sun was setting and it was becoming awfully romantic. Adam stared off into the distant pink sky where the point of Kirra barrelled, Pat chewed his steak, and I sipped my beer. Before us all was a flimsy notepad avoiding the wet marks of the table, one quarter full of scribblings no one would ever be able to translate, a phone rested on top, somewhat cracked, which was recording our conversation. No one had spoken yet, did we need to? Yeah, we kinda did, but we were in no rush, we were just three dudes taking in the small things in life while the moment lasted. A final sigh and my beer drained, the sun melted away, Pat’s steak was gone, and Adam couldn’t see Kirra anymore so he paid more attention to the untouched frothy in his grip. I concluded that if there were such thing as a perfect time than it was in that moment, in that moment where the subliminal described more than words ever could of just what it was that defined Adam Dooker and Patrick Sugden of the Ruiins.
Trust is a word the untrustworthy use. As best mates, there is no greater glue than trust, and here in the surf club where I sat between a Ruiins sandwich I could see the glue binding them. It was as if reading an old Sherlock Holmes or watching an Oceans film, only half sentences were needed to get meanings across, only half looks, nods, and laughs to set a mood in motion. If there was anything I could grasp is that the reason I was here was to interview the boys behind the music, though in the small time I was there I could see why, already, why the music worked.
Pat and Adam moved to the Gold Coast five years ago and calling the place home mightn’t be in their vocabulary yet but the friends they’ve made, the places they’ve seen, and the experiences they’ve had has left the Gold Coast as a permanent imprint. It was when the pair decided to enter a band comp at Hotel Kommune that the boys decided that it was time to not just be jamming partners anymore but become a band, the win of the competition and the release of their debut demos was a major step from being the Flip Flops to being the Ruiins that everybody now knows and loves. The Ruiins, a sentimental title to both Adam and Pat, is derived from a long history of friendship, family, and living life humbly.
Like to introduce yourselves?
Adam: My name’s Adam Dooker, I play the drums and sing vocals in the Ruiins, and my favourite colour … I think it’s blue?
Pat: He’s colour blind.
Adam: It could be something else, I just don’t know.
Pat: Name’s Patrick Sugden, play the guitar, and favourite colour is purple.
Pat: Yeah, I’m sure.
Patrick Sugden, where’s Sugden from?
Pat: Um … It’s English. And, if you say Sugden in another language, I think it’s Norwegian, it means ‘suck it’. So that’s pretty funny.
Adam Dooker, where’s Dooker from?
Adam: Pretty sure its English too.
Pat, you said your first real guitar was the one you bought in the States, what forced your hand to buy it?
Pat: It was a guitar that I wanted at the time. Just the music that I was listening to at that time I wanted to be able to jam out and play that sort of music. Ah actually, the guitar I bought still wasn’t the one I really wanted, because I spent too much money in America, but the one I bought I bought within about five minutes of looking at it and it’s like the best thing I’ve ever owned. It’s a hollow body Epiphone Joe Pash Special. Yeah, it wasn’t until I got this guitar that I started playing a lot more.
Adam: Wasn’t the whole idea behind it so you could play it without an amp?
Patrick: Oh yeah, yeah. Also so I could plug it into an amp and play it acoustically.
Finishing each other’s memories?
Pat: Yeah, forgot about that part.
Adam: I got your back.
Adam, what’s it like singing and playing the drums at the same time?
Adam: It’s hard to breath. But I guess, its fun. It’s different. I used to play in bands where I just played the drums, I’m not an amazing drummer, but I used to just get bored. I didn’t even know I could sing and play the drums until I started this band, I guess I never practiced to do it either. Certain beats, and the way you sing it, is pretty challenging. Especially if you change the beat up a bit.
Is there a trick to it?
Adam: If there is I don’t know it. I just go with what’s happening.
What’s an average day for Pat and what’s an average day for Adam?
Adam: Pretty similar
Pat: So similar
Adam: Wake Up. See each other in the kitchen.
Patrick: Yeah, well Adam lives with my girlfriend so I’m over there a lot … Ah, we both have two of the same jobs …
Adam: We play music together.
Pat: Well, because I’m not at uni anymore I get up, hopefully surf, if not surf then just go to work, and depending on what’s on that week we just have a jam at night. A day off is just either surfing, or band stuff, or jamming, or hanging out.
Pat: I studied architecture, so obviously that’s a big one for me. So design, architecture, and building things. Being creative. I like listening to music. I have a massive vinyl collection, so I like sitting at home and spinning some vinyl. Friends and family is also a major part.
Adam: I seriously just play the guitar, hey. I guess I surf a lot. My life just revolves around music, surfing, and family. I also like adventuring. Seeing new places. I like seeing spots you’ve already seen before but from different perspectives. That’s cool.
You mention surfing a lot, have a favourite surf spot?
Pat and Adam: Home.
You also mention home a lot, what’s there to do in a small little town (small compared to the Gold Coast) growing up?
Pat: So many things. A stand out for me was either surfing, swimming, fishing, spear fishing, water bombing cars, or throwing eggs at cars, ah bush walking, footy, sport. That’s pretty much it. Skating too.
Adam: I used to skate. Then started surfing. But, yeah, Pat and I didn’t meet until high school; we were sort of different ends of the area we grew up.
What’s a defining moment for you two that made you guys’ best mates?
Pat: When I made Adam start playing footy. And then he used to come over to my house every arvo before training. I think that’s what got it started.
Adam: Yeah, I think that and when we started playing music together as well. It just happened naturally.
How has the average Saturday night changed since first moving to the Gold Coast to now?
Pat: So much.
Adam: Pat moved up with a lot of people from Foster, and then when I moved up I moved up with about five of our mates. So we were all up in Surfers Paradise, going nuts.
Pat: Yeah, well I lived with one of the most well known partyers of our town. It was probably the loosest person we had known out of our town and I lived with him a whole year so put that together and, yeah. But now we play fairly often.
Adam: Our weekends revolve now around playing music, we don’t make plans for ourselves. I guess our weekends are planned months ahead.
Pat: Our weekends are never really planned for us to go out and have a beer or anything, usually if we want to do that we’d have to do it after we played or something, but we’re usually just too buggered.
Adam: We’re not really party animals, just rock ‘n’ rollers.
Pat: Rock ‘n’ rollers who want to get to bed at a decent time so we can wake up early and go to work.
Speaking of playing music, Adam, the first time you sang in front of your mum, and your family was when you started the Ruiins?
Adam: Yeah. I was kinda always playing the guitar at home, and sung really softly and stuff, but we started the band and I kind of sat down and had my mum, my dad, and my sisters there, it was kind of like a mini gig – kind of weird – it was awesome, they all recorded on their phones and stuff, so yeah. With the family support and stuff, its very, very nice.
Pat: When we play at home both our mums are always right at the front, moshing and stuff, it’s pretty funny. Arms around each other, singing every word.
Adam: It’s funny – you look up and Mum’s there, my families there, Pat’s family’s there and its just like you just laugh. Not in a bad way, it’s just fun. It’s funny.
Patrick. Yeah, and then your mum starts hassling you to play Twist and Shout by the Beatles.
What’s the story behind the Flip Flops?
Pat: I actually remember driving up Boundary street and we were like ‘oh we got into this band comp and we have to write back, what’s our name?’ and Adam said the Flip Flops. So I just said ‘righto, that‘ll do.’ So we just rolled with it.
Earliest musical memory.
Adam: Piano lessons.
Adam: 5. Or 6. My sister was in the class as well. Yeah, then I moved on to drum lessons.
Pat: I’m going to say playing next door at my neighbours house when I was like 4 or 5, and the whole time I was over the you could just hear my Dad’s music blaring crystal clear, his old record collection – the one I have now – it was just always so loud.
Describe your friendship to each other with a song title?
Pat: Ebony and Ivory? Nah, I don’t know.
Pat: Oh. Actually. Sea of Love by Cat Power
Adam: That’s what I was thinking.
Pat: It sounds lame but …
Adam: It’s not that bad. Just listen to the song.
Favourite line from one of your songs?
Pat: I don’t know. Adam just mumbles the whole time.
Adam: Pretty sure I’ve got some lyrics.
Pat: With lyrics I like smart things. Things that you listen to and go ‘oh, that’s kind of cool’, so there’s one in a newer song we’ve been playing – it’s called New Song, because it’s not fully written yet – and it says “drivin’ down the M1 …” or something. That’s pretty cool.
Adam: I used to worry about lyrics when we first started to write songs. Now I just kind of thinking of something that sounds cool and just relates. I don’t know I should put more time into it, but it’s like I was saying before I kind of just write down the lyrics properly on the way down to the studio to record it.
Tell us about your first single Eventually.
Pat: It came to mind to me that the songs recorded in the past are more what we thought were our sound but our single is more like our live sound, if that makes sense.
Adam: It’s a bit edgier.
Pat: Definitely edgier and punchier then some of our other stuff. It definitely isn’t definitive of our overall sound, but it kind of gives people an expectation of our sound live.
Meaning behind it?
Adam: Realising time flies by. That time goes fast and kind of live your life and do what you enjoy. Ah, but I guess make up your own mind what you think, there’s a few different meanings in there.
Feature Photo by Mark Alpen | @markalpen
Published by Us Wayfarers, issue 2