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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


The Format grows up with Dog days

Nate Ruess, lead signer of the band The Format, performs at Centennial Hall Nov. 9.
Nate Ruess, lead signer of the band The Format, performs at Centennial Hall Nov. 9.

The Format’s Nate Ruess has had quite a year. He went through a tumultuous breakup with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, battled bouts of depression and insecurity, and on top of it all, his band, with his best friend Sam Means, was dropped from its label.

But, Ruess found himself in a much better place when he talked to the Arizona Summer Wildcat June 28, and it is all because of The Format’s second album Dog Problems, which comes out Tuesday.

Considered the next big band out of Arizona, following former tour mates Jimmy Eat World, The Format was formed by long time friends Ruess and Means in Glendale and has now gained quite a large following throughout the country, selling out shows not just in the duo’s hometown.

With their upcoming release, The Format is well on its way to recognizable success. But success does not come without a few problems (no pun intended).

Not only did the issues leading up to Dog Problems allow the boys to start their own label to release the album (The Vanity Label), it was also the therapy Ruess needed to bring him to a comfortable place in his life. As the songs on Dog Problems flow together as if almost one epic song, Ruess admitted they are supposed to be telling a complete story.

“”It was supposed to be a two-sided album. The first half sort of being the gloom that took over right after Interventions (and Lullabies) and the second half being some sort of a big realization, but I never really got there. I think I just ended up with, ‘Hey, I’m all right,'”” Ruess said.

With the freedom gained from releasing the album on their own label, The Format was able to move away from the single driven style of Interventions and create a concept driven album with complete instrumentation.

“”The full orchestration on the record is something we’ve wanted to do since Interventions, like really go heavy at it. And maybe not so much full orchestration but just horns and different instruments than your typical four-piece instruments,”” Ruess said. “”I think that can get a little boring just because we had been playing in punk bands for so long. It was good to be able to utilize the studio to do so many different things to the songs.””

The title for Dog Problems comes from Ruess’ repeated attempts to solve his relationship issues by getting a dog with his girlfriend each time they got back together. Ruess said he now has two dogs: one that lives with his parents and his Labradoodle that lives with him and his roommate in his downtown Phoenix apartment.

Whether or not that was a mistake, Ruess’s new motto is to learn from his mistakes, and he used the album to help him come to this realization. Ruess said that performing the songs from the album has been the finishing touch to that process.

“”I’m a pretty nervous dude on days of shows…but I love it.””
Nate Ruess, The Format

“”People make mistakes. That’s where I am right now and especially when you’re young. I mean I don’t know anything about relationships, and I shouldn’t expect that she knows everything about relationships,”” Ruess said. “”It makes it nice sometimes to sing the songs, but I’m pretty much over it. That’s where I wanted to get, and the album helped me get over it.””

Now everything is about moving on for The Format members as they transition from the creative process to the promotion and touring process. Ruess and Means are fine-tuning their performance with their fellow musicians and orchestra (making a ten-piece band) for their upcoming tour, which Ruess admits always make him nervous.

“”We’re pretty psyched. I’m pretty nervous. We’re working diligently. I can’t wait to show everybody. I’m a pretty nervous dude on days of shows, and I kind of freak out, but I love it,”” Ruess said.

Because Ruess believes he is a normal guy just like the rest of his fans, him and Means have made sure to involve their fans as much as possible, creating a special fan group called The Living Room, asking them to vote for the first single from their album and Ruess letting them in on the personal details behind the record with his intimate postings on the band’s MySpace Web site.

After their headlining tour for the album, boys of The Format have a lot of firsts coming their way with the shooting of their first music video and their first tour abroad opening for All American Rejects.

In that vein, The Format will be doing a meet and greet and album signing at Zia Records, 3370 E. Speedway Blvd., on Tuesday and appearing on 91.3 KXCI in addition to their show on July 15 at The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 7 p.m. It is an all-ages show and tickets cost $16.

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