The Rubens on SummerSalt 2023, festival lineups and new music

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The Rubens on SummerSalt 2023, festival lineups and new music

Credit: James Simpson
Words by Benjamin Lamb 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a harder-working band than The Rubens.

Since they first burst onto the scene when they uploaded their first song, ‘Lay It Down’ to triple j unearthed and debuting at #3 on the ARIA chart with their first album 10 years ago, they’ve become a staple of many festival lineups over the years, most recently being announced for the popular SummerSalt festival, making its way to Victoria this summer.

We caught up with the group’s keyboardist Elliot Margin to chat about it all.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Having dropped their fourth album 0202 in early 2021, The Rubens released their most recent single ‘Waste A Day’ late last year, the track being one of the few times Elliot and his brother Sam have worked together on a track. 

“It’s one of the rare times in which Sam and I co-wrote together,” Elliot says. “Usually, we work the demos out on our own, bring them to each other, and then go from there.

“But this one was from the very beginning; it was fun and different; it can get to the nub of an idea a lot quicker when two brains are working towards it.”  

A band still at the top of their game, The Rubens always receive a massive reception when they play festivals, and now more than ever, their fans are keen to get back out there and experience live music. 

“The pandemic forced us to realise again how lucky we are, we’ve been back playing shows for a while now. They’ve all been so special, but this tour especially, we’re really looking forward to the venues, all the places we’re going to be playing.” 

Delivering another season of live music in some of the most scenic locations in the country, SummerSalt festival features some great bands and artists alongside The Rubens with City and Colour, Ben Harper, Alex the Astronaut, Middle Kids and Angus & Julia Stone joining the festival. 

“I’ve never seen City and Colour before, they’ll be cool to see.

“I knew that we were playing the festival; you get the email and you make the phone calls, and you get locked into it. Then when I saw the poster for the lineup, I was like, holy moly, this is something awesome to be a part of.” 

SummerSalt Festival brings Angus and Julia Stone, Ben Harper and more to Torquay

The exciting part of this festival is that it hits some points across the country that don’t often get live music, with Victoria’s incarnation taking place in Torquay and the Yarra Valley this February. 

Elliot notes that there’s always something a little bit special about bringing music to these regional areas, with punters excited to have a night out with a popular band. 

“Over the last year, for our record [0202], we did a lot of regional touring. There is a difference between playing in capital cities to regional towns, people are super appreciative of getting live music out there.

“And maybe, you roll up to a small town where there might not be a lot of Rubens fans in the town, but you might be the only event that’s happening that night. And people will come along just because it’s fun to go to, and you might win some people over, and that’s the special thing.” 

To win these soon-to-be fans over, Elliot notes that there is often a process to appeal to a broader demographic.

“We’ve played on a lot of different stages where we’ve had to try and figure out what our approach would be, supporting other bigger artists like Bruce Springsteen or Pink, to playing Falls Festival. 

“I think what we’ve realised over the years is it really just comes down to putting on what is our most engaging show and putting on a show that people are going to really, really connect with.”

Festivals like SummerSalt do a great job of appealing to several different people, showing that an Aussie music festival is always a special place.

“Australians are good at putting on broad music festivals that usually have music for everyone, I think which is cool and special. 

“As a punter, I’ve been to music festivals where maybe I’ve only known one or two bands on the lineup, and then I’ve left the festival becoming a fan of a whole new array of bands.” 

And for those that already are fans of The Rubens, the good news is there’s some new music on the horizon. 

“At the moment we’re working on new music, writing and recording. Next year is when new music shall be drip-fed out to the public, which is exciting.” 

SummerSalt is taking place at Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley on February 4 and Torquay Common, Torquay on February 5 2023. Final tickets for Torquay are on sale now here