For Hits and Gigs © 2018

  • Sierra Badua

Old Diary Entries and Never Sounding The Same: Taking It All In with Ritt Momney

While the saddest songs can hurt the most, they can also help the most. Ritt Momney takes sadness and growth and turns them into music.

The members of the indie-rock band Ritt Momney may all be young in age but their sound is anything but immature. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Ritt Momney is the project of Jack Rutter, the band’s lead vocalist for both recordings and live performances. Jack and three friends, Noah Hamula, Jonas Torgersen and Auden Winchester come together to create and perform the songs that make up the Ritt Momney discography.

I was lucky enough to interview Jack Rutter - the brain behind the project - to get the clearest picture of what Ritt Momney was, is and will become.

Disclaimer: the name Ritt Momney was never meant to be political. Rutter and his bandmates had started out wanting to be a garage or indie rock band - genres that are better suited to an ironic name such as Ritt Momney. Rutter knows there’s the challenge of getting people to look past the name and focusing on the music. Ritt Momney is a band composed of 17-19 year olds and a band with a weird name: an immediate turn off to anyone who's a bit snobby. Unlucky for them though - the music of Ritt Momney is mature, beautifully produced and builds on powerful themes of love and loss.

Music creators are music lovers, a statement that reigns true when it comes to Rutter. The Ritt Momney discography features a cover of The Beatles’ "Golden Slumbers," a song that Rutter says he never remembers listening to as a child but when hearing it as a teen he felt as if he had a connection to it. Only after asking his mother did he learn that it’s a song she would play all the time. A subconscious connection - one that’s worked its way into his music now. Rutter also gave me a bit of interesting information: the three artists he admires the most are STRFKR, James Blake and Earl Sweatshirt. Despite the impact they’ve had on him, he doesn’t take direct inspiration from any artist. Instead, he works to foster a new, unique sound. These artists have inspired him to make music, not how he makes his music.

Rutter is a self-taught producer, he started out on GarageBand and later graduated to Logic. At the same time as he was learning he had what he called a “low-stakes SoundCloud account,” a place where he could put really roughly produced songs. Rutter spoke very fondly of this time. He is very grateful for the unsupervised learning he did and he feels like this period really allowed him to develop originality in his production style.

Rutter emphasized that when it comes to making music his favorite part of the process is the production. He knows there’s an infinite number of possibilities and new avenues still left unexplored. So when I asked him if he found lyric writing therapeutic, he realized that he had never really thought about it before.

After a moment to ponder, he came to the conclusion that writing lyrics helps him organize his thoughts. Old songs on his SoundCloud became synonymous to a diary, listening to them months later still brought back feelings from the past. A good example of this process is their song "Pollution/Disclaimer." Rutter had written "Pollution" when he was going through a breakup with a girl, later he wrote "Disclaimer" when he had healthier feelings and emotions. This transformation is obvious not only in the lyrics but also in the production and instrumentation. While "Pollution" is minimalistic, "Disclaimer" is bright and upbeat. Rutter compared "Pollution" to a former diary entry and "Disclaimer" as a note he had gone back to scribble on the bottom of the page. These songs are personal and complex. It’s clear that the music of Ritt Momney is like a diary with its own soundtrack. The lyrics play off the production and instrumentation and vice versa. One can’t exist without the other.

When looking into the future, the members of Ritt Momney see music, music and more music. Rutter ideally wants to take Ritt Momney as far as possible and is hopeful that someday they will be able to do a national tour. Guitarist Jonas Torgerson chimed in when I asked what their dream venue to play would be. He said The Gorge Amphitheater in Grant County, Washington. A scenic venue that overlooks beautiful mountains and of course - a sparking blue gorge. For the members of Ritt Momney, the future looks promising: they are set to release an album later this year and go on a west coast tour.

Rutter emphasized that the live performances will not feature copy and paste renditions of their songs. The music will take its own shape as it’s moved from the recording into a live version. New songs will be played. Emotion and energy will be brought. A tour you do not want to miss.

Rutter also mentioned that we can look forward to hearing a lot of different sounds on the upcoming album. He stayed away from keeping one monotonous style throughout and instead experimented with different combinations.

You can’t just listen to a Ritt Momney song once. The lyrics, the instrumentation and the production all play a significant part in the overall artwork that it’s impossible to get the whole picture with just one listen through. These songs are gonna tear your heart out. These songs are gonna heal you. If you’re gonna listen to a new song today, make it a Ritt Momney song.

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