What is your name and role within The Rubens?
My name’s Elliott, I play keys.
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m currently based in Sydney, in an inner-western suburb called Petersham. The music scene is really strong in Sydney, despite a lot of venues closing in recent years thanks to some heavy lock out laws introduced by the government. There’s a lot of great artists doing really cool things, you just have to know where to look really.
Your new single ‘NEVER EVER (FEAT. SARAH)’ LISTEN HERE is out now, what influenced the songwriting for this track?
It’s hard to say what might have influenced this track because it all happened so quickly. Sarah, who we’d never met, hit us up hoping to do a writing session when she was in our city. Our schedule was pretty full as we were finishing up the recording of our album here in Australia and over in New York but we managed to find a date. We were back home and the album was done so we sort of approached the session as an experiment, having never written alongside anyone else before. There was no plan to go any certain direction, I played a chord progression and melody I had been messing around with and we started throwing ideas on top of it. Sarah has an amazing voice so it kind of made sense to try a duet between her and Sam. Five hours later the song was done and we said goodbye, wondering who we would get to sing on the track because we never considered it a Rubens song. We quickly realised it was too special to pass on and squeezed a spot for it on the album.
How has the response from fans been to Never Ever?
It’s been overwhelmingly positive which has been sort of a relief actually. We always loved the song but it’s pretty different to anything we’d done before, especially the fact that it’s a duet, we weren’t sure how people would react to it.
Your 3rd album LO LA RU will be coming out on June 29, when and where did you record?
We recorded most of it last year in our home town of Camden, about an hour south of Sydney. Will, our bassist, had built a studio with his mate Timmy in an old World War II munitions bunker by the little airport there. It’s an incredible space with an amazing vibe, close enough that friends and family can drop by for a beer but tucked away enough to lose any distractions and just create.
What instruments and equipment were used during the recording process?
A lot of the synth sounds were done on a Dave Smith Prophet 6 that we had rented. I fell in love with it so decided to buy one after we had finished. We found an old baby grand that used to live in a pub down the road that was cheap as hell and sounded passable after a tune up. Zaac has a few vintage guitars that he cycled through; a 70’s Telecaster, Strat and Gibson 335. We recorded into a Soundtracks Jade console through Neve and API preamps.
Did you collaborate with anybody?
We were lucky to have Wilder and Torbitt Schwartz producing, two brothers who we met on a festival tour when they were touring in El-P’s band back in 2013. We found out that they had helped produce Run The Jewels’ records and coaxed them into coming over to Australia to produce our album. They’re super fun to work with and make for a chilled creative vibe in the studio. We were working 12 to 14 hour days in the studio seven days a week but it never felt like it, it was always just a fun time with them.
Do you have a favourite track from the album? If so, why?
That’s a really hard question, the answer changes from day to day. Right now I would say it’s ‘Never Ever’ because it’s so different for us, it’s been cool to see how people have been reacting to it.
Where will we be able to listen to LO LA RU?
Apple Music, Spotify, anywhere you like to listen to music really!
What do you have planned after the release of LO LA RU?
We’ll be hitting the road for a lot of the year, getting in front of as many people as possible.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Right now I’m listening to Kali Uchis new record, and Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy.
How did you first start playing music?
I got lessons on piano when I was young but hated it and soon quit. As I got older and started to get into music and artists I picked it up again just as a way to connect with all this music I was discovering.
Any advice for artists wanting to make a living from their music?
Be persistent and practice. It’s true that there is a lot of luck involved but a lucky break won’t mean anything if you’re not working your butt off and ready for it.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Probably Thai Food, if I can be as broad as that. Favourite place to hang out is the bunker where we recorded the album. The best place to get away, have a barbecue and just relax.