Per tradition, ASU’s Programming and Activities Board (PAB) hosted Battle of the Bands, a two-week long event in conjunction with other campus organizations. Each of the four campuses held its own preliminary rounds, and the winners competed during the final round at the Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix.
The four-piece band is comprised of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Trixia Dela Rosa, a senior studying biomedical engineering; lead guitarist and senior electrical engineering major Nic Medina; bassist and ASU alumna Esther Wilbur; and drummer and senior biomedical engineering major Nic Peters.
"Ruby Shore is for when you want to be sad but also dance around at the same time," Dela Rosa said. "I feel like we resonate most with sad songs sometimes. And so we write a lot of those."
The band draws inspiration for their eclectic sound from artists like Peach Pit, The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. The variety in influence gives the band flexibility in approach, whether it be from a pop angle or something with a bit more edge, Wilbur said.
"I think we have … a lot of different experiences," Peters said. "Coming together, as different types of musicians, I think that really gives us a pretty unique sound."
With Wilbur's grunge influence, Dela Rosa and Peters' respective acoustic and alternative rock backgrounds, in addition to Medina's indie-rock sound, Ruby Shore has developed a versatility that shines through in their music.
"We make music that I would listen to in the car, and I want to hear on the radio,” Dela Rosa said. “And it definitely informs the songwriting process."
While Ruby Shore has only existed in its current form for two months, the band’s roots go deep. Dela Rosa and Medina started playing music at coffee shops together in 2018 before deciding to turn their duo into a band.
From there, they went through a bassist, guitarist and name change before finding Wilbur, Peters and the name Ruby Shore.
Through all of this, the band faced a standstill brought by the pandemic.
"We were playing for a while — just Trixia, Esther and I — and then our old drummer," Medina said. "And we stopped in about February when COVID started getting bigger."
Once the case numbers decreased and the band was fully vaccinated, they felt more comfortable playing live shows, Dela Rosa said. But that wasn't the only challenge the band faced.
With the original drummer leaving the band and Wilbur moving to Tucson, it became increasingly difficult for the band to book shows because a lot of venues required a full band to book, Dela Rosa said. Once Peters joined and the band adjusted to Wilbur's commute, Ruby Shore became complete.
So far, the band has released three original songs on Spotify and has garnered over 250 monthly listeners. Sappho, their debut single, seems to be far and away their most popular, with just under 18,000 hits.
“We put our heart and soul into it because we wanted it to be a big entrance into the music scene,” Dela Rosa said. “It's also a little more catchy than the other ones with repetitive melodies and riffs, and so it's a lot easier to catch on in playlists.”
They brought this catchiness with them to Battle of the Bands, securing a first-place win.
“It felt like it was really up in the air,” Wilbur said. “I didn't have a clear image at any point in my mind of who was going to come out on top.”
“I definitely, just from hearing the sound and how we clicked together ... had a pretty good idea that we could totally come away with this,” Peters said. “I was still surprised, though, because there were a lot of really good bands that played at that Battle of the Bands, (like) Popsicle Stick Airport, Weapon of Pride (and) Vinyl Faces.”
As for future aspirations, the band hopes to develop their own merchandise, book more gigs, and work out a solid social media presence and strategy. Devilpalooza will hopefully help keep the momentum going, they said.
“It’s a giant stage,” Peters said. “I'm just excited to play (with) whoever's headlining … to be on the big stage and just get the word out about our band.”