For Kay Gillette, it’s another exciting show. For Joseph Barker, however, it’s back to humble beginnings as he returns to his hometown of Orange City. The two musicians, who together comprise the group Bella Ruse, will be putting on a concert Friday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. at The Old Factory Coffee Shop.
With the debut release of their new album, “Kuhzoo,” Joseph Barker and Kay Gillette are hoping for a bit of a different feel from their previous works.
The duo strived to bring out the fun and innocent nuance of the kazoo’s sound throughout the entire album theme. “We wanted to communicate a less than serious tone,” Gillette said, as they decided to incorporate the unique noisemaker into most of their selections.
The two gained much inspiration for their recent album’s theme from favorite groups such as Feist, Sigur Ros, Regina Spektor, Over the Rhine and Edith Piaf, whom Gillette labels as one of the “old, fresh singers.”
Working at a restaurant together and playing small ensembles on the side, Gillette and Barker’s musical career together began with jazz love songs for a special Valentine’s Day show.
“We liked playing together,” Barker said, and from there, they coupled their musical ambitions.
Bella Ruse came about from its Eastern European connotations, as the two wanted to express what the image evokes rather than what it actually means. Barker and Gillette express the indie, artistic feel of their music genre, yet have also brought an ethereal, authentic tone that is wholly their own.
This dynamic due is all about style; their eccentric tour van is powered solely on vegetable oil. “It’s been an adventure,” Barker said. Through his music career, he’s “learned more about car mechanics than anything else.”
Both began their musical ambitions at young ages, developing their individual talents on a number of instruments. While Gillette pursued her musical talents by way of a degree, Barker found a love for philosophy, choosing to switch from an initial music major to a philosophy degree, keeping music as a significant hobby on the side.
Barker and Gillette both agree that one of the most memorable moments in their career was in the opportunity to play with Sarah McLachlan. “That was awesome,” Gillette said, “in the true sense of the word.”