If you happened to be passing by The Undrwrld in New Brunswick one Saturday night last month, you might recall a wave of upbeat electronica emanating from the home’s basement. Inside, New Jersey based musician and producer Ruby Rainbow, aka Lisa Berkman, was building layer upon layer of 8-bit, chillwave ear candy.
Her chiptune beats pulsed through the crowd at the house venue known as The Underworld. The crowd cheered as vocal samples of infamous cartoon villains permeated Ruby’s opening mix.
Inspired by sample artists like Pogo and The Avalanches, Ruby Rainbow pays homage to her favorite cartoons and television shows like Adventure Time, Avatar the Last Airbender, and the Powerpuff Girls.
“That's where I get a lot of my inspiration from, and it's probably what contributes to the 90’s nostalgia quality,” Ruby told me in our short interview.
Ruby began performing her electronica set live at the start of 2019.
“When I started making this style of music, I wanted to create a sound that would make people happy, uplifted and relaxed. A bit of simple purity and a dash of vibrant color.”
Ruby doesn’t only look for inspiration from media. On a recent trip to Cape Town, South Africa, she began recording interesting sounds around her to use in her music. A new song featuring these recordings can be heard on her bandcamp.
“The music feels like a journey because that's exactly what it is. Every step of the way I'm exploring what I would like to hear, and I often surprise myself with what I make. I hit record, put my fingers on the keys, and just see what happens.”
It was a real pleasure to see Ruby Rainbow perform and to experience the energy of a crowd who identified with her sound and the samples.
As nostalgia culture continues to make a substantial space in our generation’s artistic expressions, Ruby Rainbow’s ability to tap into that wellspring of emotion can take her far. This is definitely a set you’ll want to catch live.