As The Rubens continue work on their next, full-length album, there’s one question everyone is asking: how do you top a #1 single like ‘Hoops’?
The titular single from their second LP released in 2015 dominated Australian airwaves and took out the lauded number-one spot on Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year. Drummer Scott Baldwin says that while they’re fully aware of the pressure facing them on this next record, the band isn’t letting it get to them.
“I think there is a pressure to it, but you have to try and keep yourself enjoying what you're doing,” Scott says. “I suppose in the back of your mind you're trying to create something better, but just to enjoy it and see what comes from your creative juices.
“We try to ignore the pressure a little bit because I feel when there's pressure, you acknowledge it but try to put it aside and use it as fuel rather than worrying about it. Hopefully you get better music.”
With the band ensconced in a New York recording studio working on demos, Scott is reminded that The Rubens’ biggest hits have been born when they were least expected. “When we wrote 'Hoops', it was an afterthought really,” he says.
“Elliot [Margin, keys] woke up one night and had the melody in his head. We already had the album written, so we decided to record it separate to the album. We had all those other songs on the album ready to go, the album was finished; then when there was no pressure the best song of the album came out.
“That's the kind of thing that has happened twice: ‘Never Be The Same’ was written by Sam [Margin, lead vocals/ guitar] in the first album after all the other songs had been produced already. You feel more relaxed and at home when you're not putting so much pressure on ourselves [sic]. In saying that, we're definitely keen to better number one.”
It may be sometime though before we get new music from The Rubens, as Scott tentatively estimates an early-2018 release date for the album. In the meantime, fans can get their fix of The Rubens when they play BASSINTHEGRASS in Darwin this month.
“Apparently it's one of the biggest events to happen up there, it's massive,” Scott says excitedly.
“There's some good artists as well so it's going to be fun. Peking Duk are playing, Amy Shark – she got to #2 in this year's Hottest 100 – I haven't seen her live and I’m keen to see Tash Sultana play, she's different and has some cool music out. She's also unbelievable on the guitar.
“It's going to be a lot of fun, that's for sure, and for us it'll be about a month between shows so it'll be fun getting back out there because we've just been writing and in the studio. My favourite part of being in a band is playing the live shows; that's where my passion is.” The Rubens perform at BASSINTHEGRASS (Darwin) 20 May.