Three years ago five boys from the small country town of Menangle, New South Wales, went to New York City to record their debut album with only 14 songs and just $20 per day to spend on food between them. It wasn’t all bad though. They had the attention of Grammy Award-winning producer, David Khan.
Three years, a platinum album and numerous sold-out tours later, The Rubens are back with their second record, Hoops and a national tour underway.
Comprising the Margin brothers, Zaac, Sam and Elliott, and childhood friend, Scott Baldwin, The Rubens have had a whirlwind year. Elliot explained that the writing process for the album was intense and to knuckle down the band relocated to Coledale on Sydney’s south coast. They rented an old fibro house, fitted it out with a bunch of old furniture, threw bedding on the floor and set up a makeshift studio.
“We stayed there for five months drinking beers and having barbeques, it was great, we hadn’t really done the whole writing thing like that together,” he told Blank. “When we did the first album we only had 14 songs under our belt, this time we could actually sit down and think about what it was that we wanted the album to be. And we had 35 songs in the end which meant we had a lot more to choose from.”
“People say the second album is a scary one because you’re competing with your old self and hit all the same marks as you did on the first one but go further. I feel like we didn’t really have any of that anxiety because we were just confident in the material and we enjoyed recording it. If we enjoy it hopefully the fans enjoy it.”
Theor sophomore album went head to head with Dr Dre and debuted at #2 on the ARIA charts.
“It’s crazy to be number two under Dr Dre of all people, if someone told me that would happen two to three years ago I’d be like ‘piss off, no way’. Then you wake up and see on twitter that you debut at #2 and it’s like holy hell this is amazing”.
Proving things got a bit deep during their five months get away, Elliot’s favourite song on the album, Hoops pretty much explains that one weird relationship I’m sure everyone’s experienced once in their life “It’s about someone in a relationship doing damaging things to you in the hope to try and keep you and keep you with them. But it’s like I’m here anyway, I love you despite that so stop doing this weird creep shit.”
Still riding the wave, the boys are currently on tour and Elliot says he’s more excited than his fans.
“We are definitely a tighter band, and we had to learn as we were going. By the end of two years of touring the first album we had progressed so much. Especially now going back on the road we can really use that and make sure the shows are as tight and good as possible”
“You go away to write, spend ages away, stuck in the studio, weird hours, you lose sight of why you’re doing it, then once you’ve finished, you get to go out on the road and play it live for people, that’s why we do this. And that’s our favourite part of being a band. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning”
Clearly keen to get on the road again I asked him what he wants to do when he hits the Sunshine State. Laughing he said he’s always wanted to go to the theme parks but everyone’s always too drunk and hung over.
“We’re really really excited, it’s been a long time since we’ve been on the road – we’re looking forward to having a good time and forcing people to have a good time with us.”
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The Rubens play Cooly Hotel on 24 October.
Check our Gold Coast gig guide for other live music listings.