Their Time Is Now! – Reubens Interview

Outside Glasgow’s ABC, there’s already a queue of people forming underneath a giant Reuben ‘Sold Out’ sign. Tonight’s show is for the hardcore fans only, the ones who have been eagerly awaiting their new record, the ones who will later go on to sing the words to every single song in the set (apart from the new ones that is, although by the end of those ones we have pretty much cottoned onto the choruses enough to attempt some mild sing-a-long).

Inside, the band have just finished their sound check, Jon (bass) is offering me every available piece of food and drink on their rider from cups of tea to carrots and highlander crisps, Guy (drums) has taken him up on the offer and like everyone else in the room is tucking into the feast before us. But not everyone is feeling that good, Jim (vocals/guitar) has a bout of food poisoning and is feeling a bit worse for wear as he sits down for the interview dressed in only a few towels, to which he later swaps for a hospital gown when he takes to the stage, emphasising how unwell he feels.

It may only be day three of the tour but already things haven’t been going too well, “On the grand scale of it, its been pretty bad so far, all that could happen bad has happened and I’m sure they’ll be more bad stuff happen sometime. But the shows have been really good and the kids have been wicked” says Jon trying to remain optimistic about the whole thing.

So why did you decide not to upgrade any of the venues in the cities that had sold out?

Guy: We felt we hadn’t really toured, we hadn’t done any headline tours in 2006 so we thought best to come back get used to playing headline sets and it would just be good fun to play small clubs, then go back later in the year and do a proper big tour.
Jon: It’s that whole thing where we haven’t released a single for a while you know, we’ve got the album coming out in June/July and that’s when the single is gonna be out and this tour is just off the back of what we’ve done previously.
Jim: It’s also a bit like a tour full of shows that are pretty Reuben fan orientated, whereas the next tour we’ll have had another album out, so the people turning up to these shows are based on things we’ve done up until now. So by the next time we have something out we’ll probably have, well we’re hoping to have an influx of healthy new amount of people for the third album, so this is a bit of a fan type tour.

Are you planning to preview new songs on this tour?

Jim: We’re going to play 30 seconds of every song on the new album…I’m Joking!!
Guy: We’re doing about two or three that will also appear of the DVD that we’ve just released as well, which we’re about to release but it is already selling at the shows as a pre-release. But yeah the reason for that is we don’t want to give too much away. Plus if you haven’t really heard anything and you hear a new song live it can be a bit boring and you don’t really know what’s going on
Jon: It’s always cool when bands do a set of all brand new songs but you can only really do that if you are an uber fan of the band and you want to hear new stuff. And if you wanna come down and here the old stuff then you’ll be a bit gutted, so we try and do something for everyone.
Guy: And the album is gonna come out in the summer and then we’ll do an autumn tour in September so by that time then people will have heard the album and we can just play lots of songs from that album. We’re actually playing a few things we haven’t played on the last few tours, so we’re swapping the set round a bit from previous tours.

How have the new songs been received so far on the tour?

Jon: ‘Cities On Fire’ is one that’s doing quiet well
Jim: Yeah we’ve been playing ‘Cities On Fire’ for about a year now, so people are starting to get used to that. And once people see the live DVD then people will know it a bit more. It’s difficult to tell at a show because there’s always a bit of a gap and then they know its finished and clap and you never know with a Reuben song they can stop/start and come back in, its difficult to tell.

How does the new album compare with that of the previous record?

Guy: There’s a song on the new album that was written at the same time at ‘Return of The Jedi’ and in my mind those two songs, the one on the new album is called ‘Three Hail Mary’s’ and it seems like the partner of Jedi, like they’re both related and at one point it was gonna be a toss up between the two songs to go on the last record, ‘Very Fast, Very Dangerous’. So there is a crossover and ‘Return of the Jedi’ won, so ‘Three Hail Mary’s’ is on the new album. And apart from that is a very different album
Jim: I think it’s very different, the biggest contrast yet.

Are you worried at all about how the older fans will react to it?

Jim: Not really worried, I’m more interested than worried. We’ll always be interested in what people think. We try not to take criticism too seriously; we try not to take praise too seriously either. If someone says it’s a good song or a bad song you can’t start to try and write songs differently, but if people say they want to hear this kind of thing in a set then we can, that’s the sort of thing when we listen to what people say seriously.
Guy: I just don’t worry about what people think cause there will always be people who do like what you do and don’t like what you do.
Jon: We toured for a while before we actually recorded and released a record, so there are a lot of tracks we didn’t include. It was a sixteen track album but you’re not going to please everyone there are still song that we didn’t include and people were like, 'why didn’t you include this?'. We should have done a double disc with twenty-two songs.

You’ve just set up your own label, is the plan just to release your music or would you ever think about signing other bands too?

Jon: It’s definitely us for the short term. It just depends how it all goes and if we lose a lot of money and we all hate each other then there’s no future in it, but if it works out really well and we’re having a good time. I mean we’ve never worked in an office atmosphere together; we’ve only worked in a studio or a rehearsal room, you know so suddenly I’ll be going “I don’t like Guys suit, I just can’t get on with it.”
Jim: The plan was never to set up a label as such to release bands, it was just so that we’d have a way to get our music out as we want, but there’s no role against releasing other bands.

So what made you decide to set up your own record label in the first place?

Guy: I think it’s just naturally the way things go if you look at the industry we’re in and we’ve had quite a good insight to the industry in the past few years, it just felt like the natural way to go do to it ourselves.
Jon: To be honest we know exactly what to do to get our records out there and we know there are people who will buy them, so we might as well do it ourselves and have all the control.
Guy: And cut out the middle man.

What do you have planned for this coming summer?

Guy: I think that’s the main plan, release the album, do some festivals and then hit the UK with a tour in September and then some in-stores.
Jon: It’s actually a very underrated thing, but I like in-stores because they’re free and there are people there that aren’t necessarily fans, you know they’ve just been in the store buying a record.
Guy: I think we all have the intentions to get back over to Europe at some point too, so if we can fit that in at some point so if we could squeeze that in this year that would be amazing.
Jim: Yeah, that would be a bonus.

Are there any bands out there just now you really like?

Jon: Sucioperro, they’re a brilliant band, we’ve known them for a while but this is the first time we’ve had total freedom to get who we want on the bill, so we thought lets get our mates on the tour and they’ve been great every night. They’ve been helping carry guitars in and amps and have been really helpful, not a lot of bands will do that.

So what do you think about the state of the music industry just now, with it being more indie dominated?

Jim: It’s the whole, I dunno it’s the whole download is in a state of flux and we’re in a state of instability and I think the record labels are just about coming around to the profits that can be made from downloading after fighting against it so hard for so many years.
Jon: Yeah instead of trying to stop it they should have been trying to work with it.
Jim: I think its gonna make it very difficult for the musician as before the musician could get signed for something like a ten album deal and get a lot of money in advance to live their life that way, and now because the advent of home recording, because technology is so much easier, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on bands and recording companies are thinking well why do we need to give this band money to live on if they can record for nothing, we don’t need to spend any money on packaging either, its almost free. Which is great for the industry because you know, they’re making a pound a tune of itunes, for nothing, for a digital file which can be copied at the flick of switch and so the musicians are left to make their money off things like live shows, which until you get to certain stage aren’t that profitable.

Do you think at all that the rise of downloads may help you guys when it comes to releasing the third album?

Jim – There’s pros and cons with everything, I mean it’ll help us get the music out there but it might mean we lose a few sales but for a band at our level, losing sales to download’s if we’re talking about pirating is not really worth thinking about.
Jon – Yeah it’s not worth thinking about but then on the her hand its quite a good promotional tool you know, like quite frequently ill be downloading a record and if it’s any good then you go and buy the album, and if its rubbish then you don’t. It’s quite good for weeding out the crap songs and the crap bands.
Jim: It’s like if you’ve got x amount of marketing budgets then you can get in the window of HMV and if you don’t then you can’t. And it’s the same with Itunes, if you’ve got cash and you can get on Itunes band of the month when it loads up when you open the music store and if you can’t then you don’t, it’s just like another record shop really. You know, they’re still telling you about Bloc Party and The Fratellis, not to downplay those bands but as a consumer I already fucking know about those bands, they’re all over MTV and all over NME and channel fours album chart show.
Jon: Someone told me that Arctic Monkeys sold more copies of their album on vinyl, so it still proves that vinyl is still, I mean they could be lying to me but it proves that, that format of music distribution is valid. I only don’t buy vinyl because I don’t have a record player.

And finally is there anything else you would like to add?

Jim: Just come to the shows in September, come see us at the Glasgow Garage, it’ll be a good show.
Guy: Buy our new album in June called. ‘In Nothing We Trust’.
Jon: Buy the DVD, we’ve got a massive lawyer bill and it could help.

When’s the DVD officially out?
Jim: 19th March.
Guy: And it will be available to order from and from any shows people come to. And eventually we’re hoping to get it into some independent stores, we can’t name any yet but that is the plan, chain with no name shops.

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