Music conferences can seem like a bore: hundreds of artists pitching their mediocre songs to producers who are paid to sit at a panel all day, giving an uninterested thumbs up / thumbs down response. What isn't immediately seen, however, can be the big payoff... the reason we drag ourselves out of the hotel room the next morning to do it all again.
“A friend of ours from Australia was in France at a seminar where people get to meet with big producers, explains Sam Margin, frontman of the Rubens. “Producer David Kahne (Paul McCartney, New Order, Regina Spektor) was there and our friend dropped a [bedroom-produced] demo of our track ‘My Gun’ to him. David liked it so much that he reached out to begin talks.”
A four-piece Australian band comprised of three brothers and a friend on keys, the Rubens worked through Kahne’s contacts to eventually land a deal with Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, CA. “He basically got us in contact with our lawyer,” explains Sam. Management, publicity, etc. soon followed, but it was the band’s lawyer who got their music to the heads of Warner Bros.
Since their signing with Warner, the Rubens have played South By Southwest, Bonnaroo and are prepping for their first full-length US tour in September. A stretch of shows that will be much different than the band’s normal approach back home.
“Australia, you fly everywhere because there are only so many cities you can play," notes the Aussie veteran. “There aren’t enough cities to have a tour bus; we basically just fly constantly. It seems like over here, once you get big enough you live in a van and sleep in a tour bus. We’re excited about that, but I’m sure after two days we’ll probably wish we were flying from hotel to hotel again.”
And as cookie-cutter as the deal may look on paper, Sam offers the following advice to fellow musicians looking to get a US deal: “Take any chance you can. We took a lot of risks. If you really do believe you’ve got something good, at some point you're going to have to put it all on the line. No one is going to get anywhere without sacrificing.” –Andy Mesecher