The Rubens have been making a name for themselves both locally and internationally since just being formed in 2011. The band is made up of three brothers, Sam, Elliot and Zaac Margin and childhood friend Scott Baldwin and also William Zeglis. Their soulful rock sounds have been extremely popular on the airwaves and for the past year, they have been around the world playing at sold out tours and shows. They even caught the eye of Grammy Award winning record producer David Kahne (who's worked with Paul McCartney, Regina Spektor, The Strokes) and had their self titled debut album produced by him.
Last month, they headlined an exclusive Nova Red Room event presented by Jack Daniel's 1907. I met up with them after the show and had a chat to Elliot about everything that's been going on, from winning the title GQ's Band Of The Year 2013 to how they came up with the band name 'The Rubens'. They've just signed globally with Warner Bros. and currently working on their second album. I'm looking forward to what this young growingly successful band has got installed for us next!
Check out the interview below! By the way, do you like my photo with The Rubens, seemlessly trying to pretend I'm in the band with my friend Romi? haha
Hey, how are you doing?
I'm good! Just chilling out.
So the other week, The Rubens was announced as GQ's Band Of The Year. How does that feel?
It's awesome, we weren't expecting anything really.
Did you guys go celebrate?
Yea we did at the after party. It was awesome fun!
You guys are reaching your second year as a band, what would be some of your highlights so far?
We're probably two and a half years now. We're done a lot of cool things like supporting The Black Keys and Bruce Springsteen. I think one of the coolest memories is the friends and the first people that came to our show before we got any radio play or anything.
What's it like having sold out tours and shows? That's pretty insane!
Oh yea it's crazy. We kind of started off at really small venues and then the next tour, a little bit bigger and we didn't know if we could get people to actually see us. Then the next tour it's an even bigger venue, and we thought surely we can't sell out, but we do. It's a good feeling to have people come along to see your shows.
I know you've performed in many different places, what it's like playing to a totally different audience and not really familiar with the band?
It's good! We did a tour recently with Grouplove in North America and over there no one actually had an idea who we are. So, it's a lot different to playing in Australia where we've kind of got a solid fan base and when we do a show, we know who's going to be there willing to listen to our stuff. When we played in America we had to win them over. It's a nice change and good to have a challenge. It makes it a lot more fun, especially when we've played a lot of shows in Australia.
What about the best and worst part of being a band made up of 3 brothers and a childhood friend?
The best thing is that we already know each other's habits and things, so when we go on tour there's no surprises. Worst thing.. I don't know! People always asks us if we have any fights or challenges, but we don't have anything like that going on. I can't even think of any negatives.
What about music wise? I could imagine there to be so many different ideas and perhaps conflicting?
It kind of works in our favour because we all have a lot of different tastes in music but we all accept each other's opinions. If someone in the band says something about an idea that we've written, we listen because we're respect each other's opinions. We work together on it, we know how to deal with each other and work through problems. I can't think of a downside to it being brothers. Something will come up one day haha!
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, we are renting a house in Woolongong, so we're writing and recording demos for album number two.
So, besides being in a band, do you guys work or study outside of that?
No, not at the moment…not anymore. We did have jobs and other things when we first started but it just got too busy and we couldn't juggle it anymore. Now we're full time.
Where are your favourite places to hang out?
It could be anywhere! Well, at the moment, probably the house we're renting. It's right on the beach. It's a shithole but it's our little place and there's barely any furniture, but it's nice. It's really chill. Especially coming off a tour, we can come back here and relax and unwind. It's our favourite place.
Do you guys go out to bars or any places like that?
We don't go out often anymore. We're so busy and when we have downtime we just want to chill and really don't want to go anywhere. When we first started out, we played a lot in World Bar. We hung out there and we knew a lot of people there. It was kind of our base where we first started. There's places like The Metro where we go and see bands and we're like... wow we would really love to play at that stage and eventually we did get to play there. I reckon The Metro is the coolest places in Sydney to play.
What would be some of the other bands that you like?
We really love Tame Impala. Whenever we are on the same festival we try and go and catch them, it's such an awesome set. Hmm...pretty much all the people from Tame Impala and Pond as well. They're such good bands to watch live and they really put on a show.
Since you guys are always performing, I guess you can't wear the same clothes every show, where do you get your threads?
I don't know. We pretty much don't have a set thing we wear on stage and we wear whatever we are wearing during the day. We grab our clothes from anywhere.
How did the name The Rubens come about?
Well, we've got a younger brother, his name's Jethro. But at the time when the band started, his nickname was for some reason Ruben. He plays drums but he couldn't play in the band because he was too young, I think he was like 15 at the time. In honour of him we named it, in a way after him.
Does he ever play in the band now?
Sometimes, when we play in Sydney, he'll come up and play percussion.
If you guys were a drink what would it be?
Oh, that's a hard one. I reckon we'd just be a beer. A nice cold glass of beer.