Rubedo: That yin and yang

by TAYLOR SUTTON

Hailing from Denver, CO and playing a rock music bombarded by countless influences, Rubedo consists of Kyle Gray (lead vocals, synth, and ukulele), Gregg Ziemba (drums, vocals, and circuts), and Alex Trujillo (guitar, bass, and vocals).

The three were born and raised in Denver, and Kyle and Gregg first met in fifth grade. According to Gregg, Kyle was a bit of a class clown, leading them to become friends. “One day we both had shirts with aliens on them, and we thought ‘Oh, we should be friends,’” Gregg said. A few years later, Kyle and Gregg started a punk band together, and spent quite a few Fridays playing at Café Euphrates. The two met Alex in high school and realized that he was “a monster at guitar,” and they all started hanging out.

After high school, Kyle traveled for a while, and both Alex and Gregg were thinking of playing together again. Gregg said he thought, “I want to be in a band with Alex again.” That same day, Alex called Gregg and told him they should start a band together.

After releasing their first EP, Lapis Sephorum, in 2010, Rubedo met the late Isaiah “Ikey” Owens, a Grammy winning keyboardist best known for his work with The Mars Volta and Jack White. He produced their two full-length albums, Massa Confusa and Love is the Answer. The three are currently working on recording their third album with Jonny Bell (Crystal Antlers).

About their upcoming album, Gregg said that it’s a more isolated, cleaner recording sound – “not as much bleeding” – and that it’s more personal and “a lot more naked.”

Although they call Denver their home, Rubedo is no stranger to new lands. The band has done a ton of touring during their career, on their own and with bands like Authority Zero. Currently they’re on their “Love is Still the Answer” tour of the West Coast, joined by another Denver-based band, Holophrase.

In addition to touring all over the country, the group has had some other significant opportunities over the years. In 2012, through the DIY Denver music venue, Unit E (where the guys lived for a while), Rubedo got to curate the Blacktop Festival. Then in 2013, they were asked to perform at the Denver International Airport a few hours each day for a month.

When I asked Gregg how he’s feeling about their upcoming show at Jacuzzi House, he said, “We have DIY roots and we still like to do that when we can.” He added, “We just want people to feel welcome and to be themselves. Our music is for everyone. That’s the special thing about house shows—we’re on the floor with everyone and able to connect with everyone. … And if people feel comfortable being vulnerable, that makes the energy better.”

Rubedo’s music is rock music, but with so many other interesting sounds and influences. The guys’ backgrounds in jazz definitely show through in the loose flexibility of the sound. Rubedo draws inspiration from many aspects of life. For instance, Kyle is really into tarot, and that and the concept of archetypes has had a lot of influence on their music. He’s also really into alchemy. The band’s name actually comes from a Latin term, meaning “redness.” The term, “rubedo” was used by alchemists to define the final major stage of trying to create the philosopher’s stone and in working to transform metal. The group’s name says a lot about who they are as a band and the music they make. They’ve managed to create a completely unique sound, “turn[ing] lead into gold.”

Gregg said it’s a metaphor for being a good and balanced person. “You have to have negative and positive energy to reach that balance – that yin and yang.”

LIVE SHOW: Rubedo plays the Jacuzzi House on Friday, Feb. 5. For more information on the venue, check it out on Facebook. See Rubedo’s website at www.rubedomusic.com. 

Published in the February 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine