A Day In Life With David Ruiz of SadGirl

Directed/produced by Ambar Navarro

Written by: Victor Valle

Suffice to say that punk has really taken on new births since it’s humble beginnings in the 70s and incarnations from the 80s to now. Embodying audibly the sentiments of resistance and anti-establishment, craving to be heard through the noise with the loudest of noise. It’s also one thing that SadGirl and The Paranoyds have in common – their glimmering nostalgic sound, their recipe for recreating something that you could only relive through old TV shows and movies. SadGirl has been around for years but been steadily appearing on some of the largest music festivals – Tropicalia included – and touring with acts such as Chicano Batman, Tiger Army, The Coathangers & more. The Paranoyds – who recently had to postpone their European tour due to COVID-19 – toured heavily and performed at Desert Daze in 2019.

Then comes David Ruiz. Another factor both bands share in common. 

Photo by Max Flick

David embodies the epitome of ÓRALE Magazine – a true bridge between two cultures, two histories and two places that exist in such entirely different worlds but that are more similar than you’d ever imagined. From his work drumming for Sadgirl and The Paranoyds to his story of being born in Mexico and moving to the United States, David took some time to talk to us here ÓRALE about all of it and more.

Can you talk a bit about your background? Many don’t know this but you were born in Monterrey, Mexico. Did growing up in two different countries affect your cultural identity?

Yeah, totally. Monterrey is a big city and with the rise of the internet, I started getting a glimpse of the world via pop culture at a pretty young age. So by the time I moved to the US, there were a lot of things I wanted to learn about and explore. I was pretty amazed by how different all my peers at school were despite being at a predominantly white school. My first two friends were from South Korea and Sri Lanka (Shout outs to Brandon Roe and Davinda Rodrigo)–countries that I’d barely ever even heard of. At my school in Monterrey, everyone was Mexican and Catholic and all our lives were pretty similar. So yeah, being here definitely changed my view of the world and my place in it.

What are some of your childhood memories? What were some shows you were watching as a kid?

El Chavo del 8 played every morning as I had breakfast before school and sometimes Dinosaurious. I remember I had a very early curfew of 8:00 pm which is when Dragon Ball Z would air on Canal 5 so my brother and I would sneakily watch it in our bedroom until our mom would catch us. She once heard on the news that a kid in Japan had a seizure from watching it so she prohibited us from watching Dragon Ball Z as well as Pokemon even though my brother and I aren’t epileptic hahaha

Your mom worked on the radio and your Tia was sort of a celebrity, right? Was there any influence being surrounded by that? What was that like for you?

My mom produced El Show De Don Cheto on La Que Buena for about ten years. It was rad because I always got to go to really dope shows and was always around a lot of funny people and great musicians. Oh man, my tia is a huge character and she was in one of those Celebrity housewife reality shows. But her celebrity status comes from being married to my Tio Pepe Garza, who is my mom’s brother. He’s a dope songwriter and has had a hand in launching a lot of carriers in the “Regional Mexicano” genre. He has definitely always been someone I look up to.

When did the interest of drumming begin? Any artists influence you growing up?

I always wanted to play drums but our house in Monterrey didn’t have space for them. About a year into moving to California I started saving up for a drum set. When my Tio Alex found out that I wanted to play drums, he got really stoked because he’s also a drummer and just took me to Sam Ash and bought me one. He always checks up on me and comes to shows whenever he’s in LA. Love that guy. As far as influences go, I’d probably say basic classic rock. All the shit my dad showed me like Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Guns N Roses as well as Mexican bands like Jumbo, and Plastilina Mosh.

What is life like outside of music? What are some things you enjoy?

I work on commercial and fashion Photoshoots as a Production Manager so that keeps me pretty busy. When I’m not doing that I take it super easy. I love to cook, read, watch movies and TV, go to shows and hang out with friends.

You currently are the drummer for Sad Girl and The Paranoyds. Can you talk about how you came to be a part of two well-known bands?

It all started because my friend Spencer asked me to fill in on a short SXSW run with his band NoFi back in 2015. We were playing all the shows leading up to Austin with Sadgirl which is how I met them. After the tour, Misha got me a job at a screen printing shop in West LA and he would constantly tell me about his sister’s band and that I should try jamming with them. On our SXSW run Sadgirl kept playing the song “Heather Doubtfire” and I really fucked with it so I was super down to try it out. I started jamming with Lexi regularly and still am. When Paul quit Sadgirl I was asked to play on the coming tour and have just been doing it since.

How do you go about resolving conflicts between the two groups so that it doesn’t affect your bandmates or music?

It’s a first-come-first-serve kinda thing for shows/tours. Luckily we have a lot of super talented drummer friends, so we’ve been lucky to have dope people fill in when we’ve had conflicting dates.

When you switch between the two groups, do you feel like you are switching between two identities?

Not really. We’re all friends and do a ton of shit together so its a very similar vibe.

Sad Girl was supposed to travel out of the country for a tour. Is the team still planning to do so? And how did you feel when you found out the tour was canceled? Have you ever traveled out of the country before?

The Sadgirl tour had a couple of Canada shows, which if everything gets rescheduled in the same order I’m sure we’ll be hitting. I’ve never been able to travel outside of the country as a musician due to my DACA status. Hopefully soon!!

Under this situation we are currently facing, is the group working on new material? How’s that creative process for you all?

Yeah, we’ve (The Paranoyds) have been playing a really sick game of broken telephone where Lexi will send a file with just the bare bones and ill add drums and then send it to Laila and Staz and they’ll add their thing and then we exchange notes and mess around. For Sadgirl, we were lucky to have hit the studio right before this all happened, so keep your eyes and ears open for some potential quarantine drops.

Any interest in playing in Mexico? Any artist you’d love to play without there?

I’m dying to play in Mexico. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know any bands out there, but if anyone reading this has any good recs please send em my way!

Lastly – If you could go back to your childhood days, what advice what you give yourself?

I’d tell myself to practice music more seriously. Playing to rooms full of people never seemed like a real possibility so I half-assed my early music learning days because I always thought it’d just be a hobby.