Riffs, Beards and Gear with Ryan Bruce

Ryan “Fluff” Bruce is a busy guy. From wrapping up a whirlwind tour with hard rock band Rest, Repose to producing some of the best music and gear videos on YouTube for his popular channel Riffs, Beards & Gear, Ryan’s passion for music touches all aspects of his creative ventures.

We recently had the chance to connect with Ryan on his thoughts on gear setup and what’s up next for Rest, Repose.

Q: You recently came back from tour, what was that experience like?

A: Oh man, being out on tour for six straight weeks was really life-changing. So many wonderful experiences and shows, and meeting all these new people every night was really wonderful! Can’t wait to go back out!

Q: What’s up next for Rest, Repose?

A: Good question! We are writing the next album, and I think we may be going back out on tour before the year is up. Busy busy!

Q. How did you get the nickname Fluff?

A: Well, back in the late 1990’s when I was in a punk band, I had bleached spiked hair and when I wouldn’t spike it, it would basically be this bleached puff of hair, and my friends started calling it a fluff, then me fluff. The name stuck – haha.

Q. What does your current guitar rig look like?  

A: I tour with a couple of my signature Balaguer Hyperions. Those go into my rolling rack which has a Line 6 G90, Line 6 Helix, Two Notes Torpedo Live and an Orange Rockerverb 50 mkIII in it. My favorite rig I have ever toured with!

Ryan Bruce on stage with Rest, Repose

Q: What does your process look like for creating a song?

A: For me, it all starts with the riff, because I am a guitar player obviously, but really it’s about the feeling. I will track some riffs and kind of just let them take the song where it needs to go. I am not really that methodical about the songwriting process. Sometimes I start with a cool drum beat I think of in the car, too, but from there it’s just building the story so to speak.

Q. What artists have been your biggest inspiration?

A: Oh man. When I was a kid, I loved Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden, STP, Pantera, Beach Boys, all sorts of stuff. These days Mastodon, Gojira and Ghost really inspire me.

Q. Who are some of your favorite guitarists? Who would you love to grab a beer with?

A: I would honestly love to grab a beer with Dave Grohl and probably Devin Townsend. I think the conversations would be hilarious and amazing!

Q: You are a man of many hats (musician, YouTuber, audio engineer, etc) – what does your current audio & recording setup look like?

A: Back in January, I moved the home studio to my new house, (I refer to it as Beardland Studios – haha!) and that gave me a chance to refresh some things. I have an Argosy Halo console, some lovely Nuemann KH310 monitors, a UA Apollo interface and a pile of guitars and amps. Pretty simple really.

Q. What goes into reviewing a new piece of gear? Can you walk us through your process?

A: The demo really starts with just spending time with whatever I am going to demo. It is important to know the ins and outs of something, but sometimes that’s hard if you have a company wanting to meet a certain deadline for release or something. After that, I will generally write a short song using that piece of gear, and after that, it’s just a matter of filming. Sometimes it takes a day, sometimes three — it just depends.

Q: How have you been using the MixPre-10M? Any favorite features?

A: I actually like to travel with the MixPre-10M. It just makes setup very fast. You can turn it on and just go; it stays out of your way, which I love. Favorite features are the fact it can run off batteries (so brilliant!) and the touchscreen. I really appreciate the touchscreen!

Bruce’s MixPre-10M Review

Q: What do you think is the most underrated piece of gear?

A: Most underrated piece of gear honestly is probably the mic stand and/or camera tripod. A lot of people hate paying money for good ones, but the cheap ones will always leave you on the side of the road – haha!

Q. Who are some of our favorite YouTubers at the moment?  

A: I really love a channel called Polyphonic. He does these insane deep dives into music and pop culture related things that are just mind-blowing.