Interview: The Rubens

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We recently talked to Sam Margin, the lead singer of Australian alternative rock band known as The Rubens before their performance last September at The Sinclair, Boston, MA with Grouplove. Check out Abbey Toomey-Fisk’s interview with the band below and read the full interview in our issue here.

Who formed your band?
Sam: The band was formed originally by, I believe it was Zack and I. There are three brothers in the band, so there’s me, Zaac and Elliot and two other dudes who are friends of ours. The band was started by me and Zaac because we had finished high school and there was nothing much going on in our lives. We were working. I was working in a bar and he was working in a kitchen somewhere. I think we had just been playing music separately for a few years and hadn’t actually done anything together…and I don’t know, one day we just got out my laptop and decided to do a few songs and then Elliot, who was still in high school, came back from each day of high school and put down some keys for us. We wanted to play live, so we got a drummer and The Rubens were formed.

How is touring in the states different from touring in Australia?
Sam: Touring in the states is really different: one because we don’t really have like any following over here at this point. In Australia we’re doing different sized venues and there’s the fan thing so we don’t really get that in the states. The other one is that in Australia because the cities are so far apart, you can’t tour there for very long. There are only so many major cities and then you can do regional tours which we do and also areas outside of the cities. There’s only so many dates that you can do so we don’t do tour buses like over here. Over here you have to have a bus. You basically play the show and then drive to the next city over night. That’s not how it works in Australia; we fly everywhere.

Is there a message you want your fans to take away from your music?
Sam: Overall, this record is pretty negative lyrically. It’s all about breakups and stuff. I didn’t realize I was writing about that kind of stuff; I have no reason to be bitter. It’s not about me, it’s mostly fictional. I enjoy writing stories. If there’s anything I think people can take away from it, it’s just that as a band we’re just a bunch of normal dudes. I want people to hear the music and see that we’re approachable, normal dudes from Australia.

How did The Rubens become popular so quickly in Australia?
Sam: Our song just got played on Triple J. It’s the only station that’s Australia-wide and that is cool and the kids basically listen to whatever they play. The station really helped. We were able to get a lot of support and play big shows. The records started selling really well and we were actually able to do three headlining tours.

How long do you plan on playing music?
Sam: For as long as possible. We’re just going to keep going. We’ll keep releasing albums in America until we break. That’s just how it’s going to happen. 

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