With major record labels more out of touch with what's happening on the rock scene than ever, bands are taking a more DIY ethic. Reuben first hit the scene a couple of years ago, went out on tour with the likes of Hundred Reasons, Kinesis and Miss Black America and took over the likes of MTV2 and Radio 1 with the ease. "Racecar Is Racecar Backwards" is the bands debut album, a culmination of struggle, hardwork and good old fashioned rock n roll. Designer Magazine caught up with the band to look back how it all came together
Q: We first saw you alongside Kinesis and Miss Black America last year. There does seem to be a real kicking against the majors DIY ethic that you all share. Would you agree?
A: I can't speak on behalf of the great Miss Black America or Kinesis, but we've always been very DIY orientated. It's not necessarily been intentional, just a means to survival. I've always admired people who don't sit and complain about things, just get on and do something about it instead.
Q: For people who haven't heard Reuben, how would you describe the sound? I guess its safe to say there's a huge American influence in there?
A: For a while, when we started to learn guitar, all the best British bands I would hear would be very Britpop. We had to look elsewhere for bands who played the Rock music we'd like to listen to. Most of them just happened to be American, until a while ago. Nirvana had been and gone before ever played guitar, but I still found much of what they did very inspirational. We've all got a diverse range of influences really. Ranging from Rock to dance to orchestral.
Q: Reuben took the work ethic of just playing and playing till you built up a groundswell of support. Who would you say have been your favourite touring partners over the last couple of years? Was it rock n roll debauchery all the way?
A: We've been lucky enough to tour with loads of great bands, who we get on well with. There are bands who haven't treated us so well, but we're all big believers in karma, and we believe in a 'treat others how you would like to be treated ethic'. We can't really choose favourite touring partners, like I said before, we've toured with a lot of great bands, but I've really enjoyed going out with Engerica before Christmas, and The Holiday Plan and Septembre merely a few weeks ago. We're really dull, after a show we just like to get back to the place where we're staying and have some tea, toast and television viewing. We've met a lot of bands who take things a bit to the excess, and we've had crazy times, but ultimately, we're pretty quiet chaps.
Q: Despite the fanbase that you built up from just gigging, the major deal never materialized. I'm sure many bands have been in a similar situation. What were you hearing from the majors A&R peeps at the time?
A: We nearly signed to many major labels in the country, and a few in the U.S. A lot of people said things, but really if it's too good to be true, it usually is. We're really glad we've signed a deal with a label who seems to have faith in us.
Q: Do you feel that the music industry has lost touch with what's really happening. Gigs are selling out each week, but they keep signing "fad" bands that disappear in 12 months.
A: That's true, record companies seem to sign a band to make an instant buck. There's not much nurturing of new young bands. If U2 for example had signed a deal no, they would've been dropped after the release of their first album. look at them now, I'm sure that their record companies have earnt back the money that's been spent on them with a few million pounds on top of that. Record companies have forgotten the Art of growing a young band into megastars. They expect them to be megastars within the
first 12 months, or they'll face the exit.
Q: "Racecar Is Racecar Backwards" - explain the thinking behind the album title?
A: It's about not seeing something until it's pointed out to you.
Q: I believe you have had major difficulties with the recording the album - losing your studio and rehearsal place etc. What was the story?
A: We used to rehearse in a portacabin on a farm which we, along with another band, inherited from Vex Red. After a while, the farmer decided that it was a little bit to much hard work and decided that he'd rather let the cabin go. We now rehearse at 'The Rooms' in Ash Vale.
Q: I guess being around for so long and releasing so many singles it was quite hard to pin down the final tracklisting for the album. Tell us a little bit how it came together and what are your favourite songs?
A: It was difficult to decide. We recorded 18 tracks, but only completed 16. Initially, we were going to be brutal and release a 14 track album, but we wanted to let people hear as many tracks as possible. Too many bands make short albums, and I think that we should make people get as much value for money as possible. We decided that we wanted people to hear all 16 tracks.
We decided that the Singles 'Stux' and 'Scared of the Police', are a part of the band history before we were signed, and should've been on an earlier album. We didn't want to re-record the tracks and ruin the sentimentality the tracks had. They would've then sounded out of place on the record.
My two favourite tracks on the record are 'Noone wins the War' and 'Moving to Blackwater'. The first track is always exciting to play, and moves a lot within the 3 minutes It hits hard at the start, and doesn't loose pace. Moving to blackwater moves slowly, gradually picking up pace, until exploding at the end. The track also features A string section, which was really great we had the chance to include it.
Q: Last, but not least. You have the storming "Freddy Kreuger" single. Plug away boys and tell us about it?
A: Erm, It's not fully representative of what Reuben are, but It to me is a heavy pop song, and I hope that loads of people get the chance to hear it. The video was made on a tight budget, but it was made successful by all the people who voluntarily appeared in it, and the people who voted for it.
"Freddy Krueger" is out now
"Racecar Is Racecar backwards" is out June 21st
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