The Format – Nate Ruess


Nate Ruess – The Format
by Ian Cruz
August 1, 2006
Featured in the Mesa Love podcast Episode 3 [MP3]

Um, hello?



Hey, this is Nate.

Hey, Nate. This is Ian from Mesa Love.

Hey, I’m sorry about earlier. I was having an interview, or not an interview, a sound check.

Oh. That’s cool, that’s cool. So, what else are you guys up to?

Ugh, we’re in Norfolk, Virginia.

Well, let’s just get this out of the way.
Dog Problems recently debuted at 77 on the top 200. How does that make you guys feel?

It’s pretty crazy. It was weird. It exceeded our expectations. I think we did two times the amount of work. yeah, so it’s pretty nice. I’m pretty shocked how things are going right now.

Wow, that must be really amazing.

Yeah, it’s different ’cause it’s just something that you don’t – Well, I mean it wasn’t something we were aiming to do.

– Phone connection starts dying –

Are you still there?


Okay, sorry. It sounded like you were going out.

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

Are there any plans to release anymore material or other bands under The Vanity Label?

I hope so at some point. At this point we’re just so focused on doing the record and discovering how to work the Vanity Label as well as, you know, promoting the band ourselve, but I think that once things die down and we get a little bit of free time and we’re writing our own music, I think that we will probably start looking for some music. I would love to produce and release something, but at the same time I haven’t found anything, yet.

Oh, so there’s no bands inparticular you are looking at?

Nope, and it’s good to because we wouldn’t be able to release them at the time. So, I don’t want to find something and then get like “Goddamnit, I can’t release them.”

Yeah, that’s always a bummer. This next one is a fan submitted one, but does smoking affect your vocals at all?

Uh, it does. I mean, I like to think it doesn’t because it’s something I feel like I have to be doing at all times. But uhm, no it.. At the beginning of tours I usually lose my voice for a few days, or it can be a little bit of a wreck. Like when we started this tour a few weeks ago, maybe like the third and fourth show, and maybe the third, fourth, fifth and sixth show we’re a little rough. But once I get a day off it comes back, it comes back. And then if smoking does anything to affect my voice beyond that it’s usually just ’cause I’ll smoke too many cigarettes and I’ll get sick. But it doesn’t like.. I don’t think it really does too much. Like on tour it’s a problem, but it doesn’t affect my voice in the studio.

In the song “Snails” you mention that your dog Nico ran away. Did she ever come back?

No, she ran away while we were actually doing Dog Problems. So that made it even more right to have that be the album title, and we put up flyers. I went home a few days later, we had a break, and my roommate put up flyers and he had already been to the humane society, but we did it for another week to be sure. We never found her.

Oh, okay. So is that why you guys are teaming up with local radio stations to help humane societies?


Then I guess that already kills the question “Where does Dog Problems come from”, right?

Well, not necisarily. I think Dog Problems we had for a while, and it’s taken on so many different meanings, and essentially I think it that it just means that.. The album itself is about a relationship that like had gone on for five years and had just gone, like ended. And it was five years on and off. There were three times when we thought that, you know, I didn’t help the relationship. Like some people would have a child or something, we would buy a dog.

How many dogs would you say you ended up with?

I ended up with three dogs.

This is a fan submitted. They just wanted to know if anyone has ever jumped up on stage and “rocked out” with you guys and sang vocals with you, and if you’re totally cool with that kind of stuff.

Like fans jumping on stage?


Eh. I don’t know. We’re so wrapped up in our own thing that it’s kind of.. like when people jump on stage, I mean I guess, you know. There are times when we are having a great time . So like people will just come up and it’s kind of like a feel of the moment type thing. But no, not generally.

So you also have this song called “Faith in Fast Cars.” What’s the story behind that? Is it going to be on an EP, or a b-side disc, or release it on the internet?

I think what we’re going to try to do with Dog Problems is a b-sides disc. You know, I want to do that song. It’s just we’ve tried so many different versions and we haven’t been able to nail it properly. And I think that the subject matter is something that I’m completely over, and I was at a time that I was probably like at my worst, and I think it’s time to just let things go.

This is a great question. A fan wanted to know “What’s up with your obsession with Mickey Mouse?”

I’m just fortunate to have the most Mickey Mouse shirts in the world. I don’t really like Mickey too much, but he makes a good shirt and he makes it really nicely.

Alright, they also wanted to know if you wanted to be a Mouseketeer when you were younger.

Nah, I don’t .. well it would have been pretty rad especially like, my age group of the Mouseketeers were like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. So yeah, that would have been amazing.

Did you ever consider releasing Dog Problems on Jim Adkin’s label, Western Tread?



No there was never like.. It was never discussed. I mean, those guys, the people who run Western Tread, are great but it’s just we wanted to do it on our own.

Okay, this is the last question we have. I guess it’s sorta a personal question. Well, for me. I just saw you guys last year in Detroit with Jimmy Eat World. Uhm, so what would you say is probably been your favorite tour to be on in your career?

Uhm, hmm. Well, I really love this tour that we’re on right now. All the bands are really great. And also we did a tour with like Steel Train, Limbeck, and Reuben’s Accomplice, and I think that that was probably my favorite tour.

Alright, I guess that’s all the questions and thanks a lot.

Oh, no problem.


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    I’ve been looking all over for Nate’s birthday. I would lke to celebrate it! But, i can’t do so if i don’t know his birthday! help? anyone?

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