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Feature Interview: Elliot Margin 'The Rubens'

The Rubens released their debut album in 2012, since this time they have been busy. The self-titled album was a huge domestic success coming 3rd in the ARIA charts and was nominated for a J award; internationally they have also been kicking goals. The boys have toured extensively through the US, UK and Europe. They are set to release their second album “Hoops” on the 7th of August and we sat down with Elliot to talk Rubens.

Hey man, I was so happy to hear you guys had a new album coming out. Who did you record this one with?

David Khan, he’s the same guy we recorded the previous album with.

I heard there was a nice story that he was a fan of your music before you recorded the first album with him?

Yeah we have a friend who is a sound engineer and he went to a seminar in France where David was it’s called “Mixed With The Masters” and he slipped David one of our demo tracks “My Gun” and he really liked it and invited us to work together. This was before we got any radio play so it was pretty ridiculous. I was still in high school and it was amazing.

What a good mate! After the success of the first album you have seemingly been touring endlessly, how has that been?

It was good; it was definitely jumping in the deep end. Before we recorded we had played like 15 live shows in total, we weren’t a very good live band at all. When we came back from New York we went straight into touring pretty much and we had to learn on the road. I mean we got there in the end by the end of that album we thought we were a good live band; this time around we have done a whole lot more rehearsing and have stepped it up a notch.

What were some concerns you had when you were touring?

It was just about pacing yourself really, every night you need to put on a good performance and if you’ve had a huge night that’s going to be hard to do. We watched how much we drank, not staying out too late, watching your voice and everything there was defiantly a lot of learning in those first couple of tours.

Were there any classic rock star moments of trashing hotels or anything like that?

Haha, no. Trashing a hotel room would probably mean the end of the tour. We’re already in the red from recording; we’ve got to take it easy.

After the success you had with your first album, were you guys nervous at all before writing this one?

To be honest there wasn’t a whole lot of nerves there was just a lot of excitement, I mean seeing how far we had come from the first one we knew what we were capable of. We were really ready for it, really ready to write a new album.

For this album were all these songs written specifically for Hoops, or did you use some older songs as well?

For both albums it’s all been pretty much fresh stuff, Sam did a bit of solo stuff when he lived in England but none of that really crept into The Rubens.

Do you have a favourite track on the new album?

I think it’s still “Hoops” it was the most recently written one and for everyone it’s really fresh. You know, we’re not sick of it yet haha. But I’m sure it will change especially when playing shows live, a new song will come up through the ranks.

It must be a nice feeling to play some new songs rather than just the old album?

Oh man, I cannot wait. I cant wait to change the set list every night, I mean it got a bit old playing the same set list every night. Really looking forward to changing it up and chop and changing the vibes a bit.

So what’s the plan for the rest of this year?

Yeah so the tour later this year, we’re going around the country so that will be sick. Then a bunch of festivals lined up and playing this new record really. It’s the best part, writing and recording is really fun but nothing beats traveling and playing to fans.

Have you had a favourite place to play so far?

I think a stand out would be Darwin we went there; it might have been 2013 and played at a show called the railway or something. It was some Northern Territory celebration where fire works are legal for that one-day only. After the show it was Armageddon, people were throwing fireworks at each other, at cars and it was just so much fun. It’s often a highlight to go to these remote places because they really, really appreciate it.

What was the thought behind the funky album artwork?

We were having lunch and just sort of came up with the hoops sign, then took the basic idea to artists around Sydney.

There was a bit of more ambient guitar sounds in this album, how did this come about?

Zach has just been hoarding heaps of pedals and interesting things and they’re great tools for songwriting. Because you just want to fiddle with them and see what happens, to try and get some weird sounds of them. Sounds you might not expect from a guitar, like the line in “Hoops” that’s one of the fun parts about writing experimenting and trying something new.

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