It was only last year that Sam Margin was sitting in his bedroom in the rural New South Wales town of Menangle waiting for his younger brother Elliott to come home from school and work on a new song he’d just written. After recording the bones of the track on his laptop, Sam put it on a loop, walked out of the room, and left Elliott to jam on it for a while. The track was then handed to their brother Zaac and good friend Scott Baldwin to add their input. The song that resulted was “My Gun,” one of a handful of demos The Rubens recorded at home and put online in the hope that a few people might hear them.
What they didn’t expect was that this home recorded demo would find its way to the ears of David Kahne, a New York based, Grammy Award winning record producer whose impressive client list includes the likes of Paul McCartney, Regina Spektor and The Strokes. In France for an audio engineering seminar, Kahne met young Sydney engineer Dean Tuza, a friend of the band from their hometown who had helped with the initial home recordings.
The strength of those demos was enough for the producer to consider recording The Rubens’ debut album, even though at the time they had no record label and had only played a handful of live shows. Sam spent a month in New York trying to lock everything down and turn the prospect of recording with Kahne into a reality. Meanwhile. Zaac, Elliott and Scott were back home working to save enough money to get to the U.S., should the plan all the plan come together.
While the album was nearing completion in New York, the band was back home playing sold-out shows across the country, including four shows at Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club and three at Sydney’s GoodGod Small Club. Throughout Australia, word of The Rubens as “Must See” live act had spread across the country almost immediately. One of their home recordings, a track called “Lay It Down” had struck a huge chord at radio and found itself sitting at #57 in Triple j’s 2011 Hottest 100 poll. With Sam’s soulful, bluesy vocals, Scott’s swinging, hip hop beats, Zaac’s swaggering guitar lines and Elliott’s organ tones, it’s a song that perfectly encapsulates The Rubens’ signature sound.
Though in many ways, this is just the beginning for The Rubens, perhaps it’s no surprise that both their debut single, “My Gun,” and subsequent self-titled first album has already reached to the top of the Australian pop charts and have been certified Gold. The undeniable combination of a young band equipped with natural song writing and vocal abilities under the guidance of an experienced producer can only be a powerful force. And when fueled by their tireless desire to put themselves on the line The Rubens have made one of the most ambitious and exciting debut records you’re likely to hear for some time.