The Rubens have had what could be described as the perfect start to the year; winning the Hottest 100 with their track “Hoops”, spearheading the Groovin the Moo line-up, and announcing their biggest headline tour yet.
It’s going to be a busy year for Australia’s favourite rockers, so keyboardist Elliot Margin gives us the lowdown on how they plan on writing new music on the road, their appreciation of hip-hop and heaps more.
“Right now, it’s a whole lot of busyness behind the scenes, announcing tours and getting things organised,” he says. “This year is going to be quite exciting and busy for us, which is nice.”
2016 will be the first year The Rubens play Groovin the Moo, and the festival shows throughout May will be their first Australian performances since their Hottest 100 win. Will the festival be a celebration over the win?
“Yeah, I guess it will be! We’ve heard awesome things about Groovin’ and can’t wait to play it. Festivals are great, because you get to play in front of more people than you would at your own shows,” he says.
And unlike Beyond the Valley where they were “in and out”, The Rubens are looking forward to catching sets from some other artists on the bill. “I think we’ll be getting to the festival, finding out where we’re playing and then just going out and seeing who we can see. I’m really excited to see Vic Mensa,” says Elliot.
The Rubens are known to be self-confessed hip-hop nerds, so it seemed fitting to ask Elliot about their interest in the genre, and how it seeps into their sound.
“When we’re writing a lot of the time what we’re listening to can leak into the songs, especially listening to hip-hop. As a rock band, sometimes it’s scary to be put in that box of straight up rock and roll and hip-hop is a genre that really pushes the boundaries in every direction. So it’s nice to listen to that and think, “Okay – we don’t have to sit here and be stagnant and use the same sound every time, or write the same songs.””
“Obviously, we’re not going to start rapping or anything,” he laughs. “But when you listen to artists using cool sounds like Pusha T and Kendrick, you start to think “What makes this beat so good, why does this move so well? How are they doing this?”, and then you try and draw inspiration from that.”
As to whether there is any new music on the horizon, Elliot tells us they’ve always got stuff in the works but that the art of writing while on tour is a skill yet to be perfected by The Rubens.
“We’re not good at it, really. Whenever we’re on the road and we have downtime, we go have a nap or read a book or something instead of actually working. It is something we should get into, because obviously if you’re busy enough, you won’t have time to go home and have the isolation to keep writing. If you have an idea on the roadm you need to be able to get the idea out.”
June this year sees The Rubens tackle their huge Hold Me Back Tour, playing venues like Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne and the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. “It’s scary,” says Elliot. “These are places that we go to see some of our favourite bands and some of the biggest bands that come to the country, and now we’re playing there.”
“But it’s exciting as well, because we understand that as artists this is a huge moment for us and we’ve got to enjoy it, and make sure the audience enjoys it as well. We have to prove that we can fill those places and put on a show that’s worthwhile,” he says.
“The show needs to have those different ‘wow’ moments that make people walk away thinking ‘holy shit that was a good show’.”
2016 is the year of The Rubens, and with plenty of opportunities to catch them live, you’d be silly not to.
GROOVIN THE MOO:
Sat 23 April – Maitland NSW
Sun 24 April – Canberra ACT
University of Canberra
Mon 25 April – Oakbank SA (ANZAC Day)
Sat 30 April – Bendigo VIC
Bendigo’s Prince Of Wales Showground
Sun 1 May – Townsville QLD (QLD Long Weekend Monday Public Holiday)
Murray Sports Complex – Townsville Cricket Grounds
Sat 7 May – Bunbury WA
THE RUBENS AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES w/ Slum Sociable and Mansionair
*Ali Barter only appearing in Melbourne & Sydney
June 11th | The Tivoli, Brisbane | 18+
June 18th | Metro City, Perth | 18+
June 24th | Hordern Pavilion, Sydney | All Ages
June 25th | Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne | All Ages