Image by: Jordan Wilson-Grell

Radio 13 Interview with Peter Ruddell from Sulfate

Simon William Todd

Sulfate’s new single, Bush, is released today, and with a couple of Auckland shows coming up, Radio 13 DJ and writer Simon William Todd caught up with auteur Peter Ruddell for a chin wag.

We’re in Peter Ruddell’s K Road HQ, and the first thing we talked about was the Sulfate sound. Peter says he thinks fans of his other band, Wax Chattels might have been curious about what else he was up to.


Peter Ruddell by Jordan Wilson-Grell

Sulfate is “less jarring and straight-up scary,” he says. Adding that people may have been surprised to “see the big change”. I was also kind of shocked that there were major chords. Peter admits it, yep almost “nothing but major” keys.

When I listened to first single Speaking for Others, I was staring out of the window of my dreary suburban locale and was completely uplifted by it. And not only does it give harmony to the tattered soul, but it’s also cinematic and ethereal – heartbeats syncopate and Ruddell’s deep tones clear away the cobwebs.

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Straight to the top of the student radio network charts, Sulfate’s debut single has brought them “reception [that] has been kind of ridiculous”. It’s “kinda cool to stick around as long as it did” smiles Peter.

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And judging by first listen, it looks like the second release, Bush, is gonna do much the same.
On the current tour, Peter’s been joined by sidekick, David Harris (Jonathan Bree, Princess Chelsea), who he says is “insanely competent”.

Peter and David’s first 4 dates have seen them playing as a 2 piece. Is this any different to the 3-strong Wax Chattels, I ask?

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Peter says “it means you can bring tempos back and push things forward. And you can do that with a 3-piece, but there’s just something more immediate about it, which has made these Sulfate shows really fun”.

But, new single, Bush – out today – sees more of a presence for fellow Sulfate, Hariet Ellis (Na Noise, Bozo, Vincent H.L), who’ll also be joining them on stage at Whammy in Auckland this Saturday 24th, to heighten the calm in the nu gaze-y vocal department.

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Peter Ruddell at The Others Way 2018 by SomeBizarreMonkey

I finished up by quizzing Peter about his on-stage demeanour, which is such an alluring part of the live experience of bands he’s involved in. He says this – I want people to “walk away and go ‘Holy Shit’ what was that?”.

I’ve been to a couple of Peter’s shows now and can safely, in a good way, say, I concur.

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Wax Chattels

To find out Peter’s favourite bands du jour, the wonders of touring the US on a Flying Nun tip, and the latest on Wax Chattels, listen to the whole interview above.

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Don't forget to catch Sulfate at the Whammy Bar on 24th August and at The Others Way festival in Auckland on 30th August. 


Click here to stream or buy
Released: 20 Sep 2019

Written By: Simon William Todd After loitering on the periphery of the London indie scene in the 1990s, Simon hot-footed it to Aotearoa where he loves his family, English language teaching and writing swan songs. He is a keen follower of Tāmaki’s maunga, enjoying rough and smooth basalt alike. A gig and album reviewer and now radio DJ as well, Simon champions the seedier side of electronic pop and indie rock.