I am meeting one of the most exciting rock bands out of Australia, The Rubens. The band known for their gritty dirty blues style were last here in Aotearoa supporting American Rock duo Black Keys, their recent sophomore album Hoops has been making waves both here and in Oz, while the boys hope to crack American & European audiences next year. "I'd like to go to Europe" quips Scott.
We casually work our way to talking about the band's latest rock offering Hoops, however talk turned a tangent as the subject of New Zealand's change of flag debate struck a chord with the group. "You know your captain of the All Blacks Ritchie McCaw" says Scott. "He wanted the leaf (Silver Fern) or something so basically everyone's on his band wagon, so whatever he wants we'll just go with that. It's pretty funny".
The ‘bro' band comprises the three Margin brothers, Zaac, Sam and Elliott, Will Zeglis on Bass and childhood friend, Scott Baldwin. "We actually grew up together and went to school with our singer Sam" says Scott. "We share cousins actually".
The band originally from Menangle, New South Wales first burst onto the scene a couple of years ago. Their acclaimed debut self-titled album The Rubens gained them domestic success with it reaching No. 3 on the Australian Music Charts (who can forget the oh-so catchy My Gun?) gaining the group a nomination for a J Award for Album of the Year. It doesn't do any harm having a band name that is easy to remember.
"Our band name, I kind of forget how it exactly happened" recalls Zaac. "But it's our little brother it's his nickname, he's Ruben. Somehow our older brother came up with it, Sam. I just can't remember how he came up with it, he started calling him Roy, then Croydon and then Royben. Then it just changed to Ruben somehow and then we were thinking of a name for the band and Sam said ‘Why not The Rubens?' We asked him to be the drummer I think when we weren't even a band, and he said ‘No' and Sam said ‘We'll just name the band after him" I think that's how it happened.
Hoops is the latest CD from the talented group, it also spawns the catchy single of the same name with its impressive kaleidoscope effect, its shot walking through the inside a white room, a video that came together rather quickly. "It was a quick shoot one of our quickest shoots we've had" says Scott. "It was over 3 or 4 hours really and a couple of takes and the rest was CGI'ed, it's a simple clip but we're pretty happy with it". "We wanted to have something that was visually good to look at and not really like a narrative" chips in Elliott.
Produced once again by Dave Kahne (The Strokes, Paul McCartney, Lana Del Rey) and mixed by Michael Brauer(Coldplay), Hoops was crafted over two years of relentless touring and song writing, it still retains the bands signature kitsch blues sound, the driving force behind Sam Margin's raw and raspy vocal style. It's a sentiment that rings true for keyboardist Elliott. "We had a lot of fun picking sounds this time, not just keyboards but guitar and things. It's just what comes naturally, the fact we all write songs. It's a bit different from the first album I think, Hoops just takes the R&B thing further, which is cool". "Some people have been commenting on the use of synth on the new album it's not anything there, it's Zaac's guitar effects which is cool" chimes Scott.
Bassist Will is more optimistic, his learnings from recording and touring are a welcome reflection and insightful. "You're in the middle of it and you don't realise what's happening" he says. "But we're just trying to keep relaxed and just go along with the flow, because you never know what's going to happen with the music industry, especially being a band you know? We're going alright today but tomorrow we could be nothing so were trying to enjoy the ride for what it is now".
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
The wait is almost over as Auckland City Limits is set to take place this Saturday (March 3rd) at Western Springs Stadium. Included on the bill are one of France’s most famous four-piece band's Phoenix.
“I find inspiration from people who are trying to do something different. There's a lot of producers trying to copy each other, eg Terror Squad. But it’s really cool to hear guys like SumthinSumthin, completely unchallenged in their own lane.” – Graham Matthews
John Butler Trio announce their return to New Zealand in March to play Nelson’s Trafalgar Centre on Saturday 2 March and an afternoon set outdoors at The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, Auckland on Sunday 3 March.
British rock royalty Arctic Monkeys have ushered in a spectacular new era with their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and it has now been announced that the band will return to New Zealand for a mammoth arena show in March 2019.
Californian rock legends Jefferson Starship will join TOTO and Dragon on next year’s ‘A Summer’s Day Live’ series, which will take in some of the most picturesque locations and popular concert venues across New Zealand.
In celebration of the highly anticipated November release of their fourth studio album Delta,English folk conquerors Mumford & Sons today announced details of a massive 60 date world tour which will include a very special one day event in Auckland this Summer –their first New Zealand show since 2015!
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Following the release of her critically-acclaimed My Design, On Others Lives in April this year, Estère teams up with the poetically tongued NZ/Rwandan MC Raiza Biza, to take on the myth of an infamous figure in cross-continental African folklore, the Tokoloshe.
If Anika Moa was feeling ready to kick back for the remainder of 2018, then things haven’t really run to plan. In fact it’s about to get a whole lot busier for the multi-talented entertainer with a new album release, tv series and live shows all on the way.
Since achieving international recognition from Rollingstone.com and Billboard.com for hit singles Too Strung Up and Stone Cold, and amassing over 3 million Spotify streams for their releases to date, Alae now unveil All Gived Up.
'Call Me', the latest track by Wellington electro-pop singer and producer Josie Moon made last week's New Music Friday playlists from Spotify Australia/NZ and Japan and influential UK blogger Popjustice.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.
The last hurrah of the Comedy Fest! The Season Finale! The bit at the end where the awards are decided, everybody relaxes and much fun is had. It’s the titled Last Laughs on Sunday 20 May at SkyCity Theatre.
The 13th Annual Doc Edge, International Documentary Film Festival opens today - Wednesday 9th May at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema followed by Auckland’s Q Theatre on Wednesday 23rd May, bringing an influx of prestigious directors and documentary subjects from all over the world.