Ruins Are a Sad Beautiful Thing: In Conversation with Adam Schubert and Alexa Viscius
Written by Adam Schubert & Alexa Viscius
I first met Alexa at a show that Cafe Racer and Bunny were playing together at, the now defunct, Double Door. I’ve known her for a few years. My first memory of meeting her is when she grabbed one of Cafe Racers buttons and gave me a peace sign. After that, I always gave her a joking peace sign wherever I saw her but was too nervous to talk to her beyond that playful interaction.
Now Adam and Alexa are inseparable, playing in Chicago outfits Ruins and Bunny, as well as their newly minted duo, Husk. Read below as Alexa interviews Adam about his project, Ruins, in lieu of his upcoming tape release.
We are driving in a car listening to OK Computer by Radiohead.
Alexa Viscius: What are your first musical memories?
Adam Schubert: Listening to the Beatles with my Mom. I really loved the album Magical Mystery Tour growing up. I guess the most specific memory is singing "Being the Benefit of Mr Kite" and memorizing the lyrics together. That's not on that album though.
AV: How long have you been playing music for?
AS: Umm...I got my first guitar when i was 13 I’m pretty sure. It was one of those Epiphone starter packs and it was an SG style guitar in black. I didn't know how to wear the strap and played it hanging from my neck for awhile.
AV: How many bands have you been in?
AS: Probably around 4 or 5.
AV: Since you were 13?
AV: What was your first band's name?
AV: [Loud laughter]
AV: Why did you name this band Ruins?
AS: I think I was trying to think of something that fit with the style of music I play. The idea of ruins made a lot of sense to me. There's a quietness when you are surrounded by that kind of desolation and there's also a sense of tragedy as well. Maybe a kind of savage beauty, and I thought that fit nicely. Also. Ruins is a cool sounding name.
AV: Yeah. Ruins are a sad, beautiful thing.
AV: Oh, who is your dream jingle client?
AS: Mattress Firm would be cool.
AV: Is that cause you like to sleep?
AV: Have you ever been in a cover band or if you were in a cover band who would you be covering?
AS: I’ve never been in a cover band but I would LOVE to be in a cover band. I would be in a Weezer cover band most likely. Or a Who cover band that played early songs and live versions of their first few records. Weezer would be the most fun though.
AV: I'd hire you to play my dad's birthday party.
AS: I would absolutely do that.
AV: What do you like about the Chicago music scene/dislike?
AS: I think the thing that I continue to admire about the music scene is the determination most people have. Not just in creating music, but attending shows as well. I remember when I first moved here my best friend Michael took me to one of his shows at Coles bar. It was the year of the Polar Vortex so the temperature that particular day was I think around -25 or something. I just imagined no one would be there at all and it was probably the most packed I've ever seen that place. It was like the best validation I could have gotten having just moved here to play music.
AV: Who are your favorite Chicago bands?
AS: Bunny, Lala Lala, Dehd, Nehi, Earring, Deeper, Jolly's, Twin Peaks… I mean I think every band I've played with or gone to see has been very good. I think the Lala Lala record release show with Dehd and Choral Reefer was one of the best shows. Also, Ohmme's record release with the Hecks was unforgettable. I mean the best thing about Chicago music is that every band I've seen really puts themselves out there. It's revealing, intimate and very courageous. It's inspiring to see someone believe completely in what they are doing. That’s why I love this music scene.
AV: If you were on a cool skating compilation what would your song be?
AS: Oh man, great question! What era of me though?
AV: Like, the height of your skateboarding "career."
AS: The Misfits’ song "Teenagers From Mars". I was obsessed with that song when I was a teen. That was one of the first bands I discovered on my own and I just feel in love with them. I'd listen to that song a few times a day for like, 3 years.
AV: What's your favorite thing to do outside playing music?
AS: Thrifting. I really love thrifting.
AV: What's the best thing that you've ever found thrifting?
AS: Well, everything I find thrifting is the "best" thing in the moment. Till that feelings dwindles the next day, then I sell it, then thrift more. It's kinda a "viscius" cycle but I really love it a lot.
AV: If you could back in time and tell yourself something, what would you say?
AS: Don't worry too much. It's not always going to be like this and one day you will be comfortable in your own skin. Just keep trying, work is not supposed to be easy.