Born from the lovely winter chill of Canada, Reuben and the Dark (Reuben Bullock—lead vocals and guitar, Distance Bullock—drums, Shea Alain—multi-instrumentalist, Dillon Whitfield—bass and keys, and Scott Monroe—bass and keys *not touring*) is a group of soulful, brotherly, folk-laden lads that are definitely one to keep an eye on, eh. Here in Boston for the first time last Saturday night, opening for Australia’s The Paper Kites, they played a spirited and incredibly engaging set for the people of Brighton Music Hall. Opening with the new single off of their upcoming album “Rolling Stone” (check it out below) the audience was instantly captivated by the riveting rhythms, rich texture, and intricacy of their killer harmonies.
Intrigued yet? These guys are coming back and playing a FREE show next this upcoming Saturday (November 16) over in Cambridge at 7:30 P.M. at The Toad, and it will not be one to miss. So grab your friends and groove on over the Charles River to catch their wicked set!
Read on below, as Reuben—a fan of fall, sun, Americanos, roasted mate and more, answered some questions about the origin of his newest project, Reuben and the Dark, and talked about some cool experiences.
Why don’t you start by telling us a brief history of yourselves. You guys have such a tight and well-refined stage presence. How did it all begin?
RB: The band came to be in a very organic way. I had just finished my first solo record, Pulling Up Arrows, and was trying to figure out a way to perform it… My brother had already been playing with me on percussion and cello. Shea Alain saw us play a show and really wanted to start jamming with us. Dillon joined the group shortly afterwards, filling in for our bass player at the time. There were no auditions to join the band. Everyone was added naturally and the lineup has remained the same since its inception, with the exception of Scott Monroe who has been the rogue fifth member of RATD. (Not present on this tour). We have a strange chemistry. The band plays like brothers. I like it that way.
What is your favourite thing to have in your mug? Tea, coffee, etc…?
RB: Personally, Americanos and scotch. Roasted mate, too.
How was it being on tour with The Paper Kites? Any rad memories?
RB: Touring with The Paper Kites has been a blast. Best memory so far would probably be hearing them do a reggae version of our tune “Rolling Stone” during a sound check. So funny. They know how to have a good time. The band is kind and humble and very easy to get along with. Good people, we are going to miss them.
I read that you were brought across the pond to London by Mariead Nash (Manager of Florence and the Machine/Blood Orange). What have you brought back with you from that experience?
RB: After the trip to London, I think our dreams just came a little closer to a reality. It was good being around people like that. We recorded “shoulderblade” there and Chris Hayden produced it and played drums on it, too.
Where do you draw some of your inspiration from, or what types of things help shape the sounds you create? Those rhythms, especially in “Marionette,” are pretty stellar.
RB: There is some gospel influence for sure. I think the band really had its own sound as well. Everyone’s taste and style really contributes to the overall sonics of the band.
On that note, how would you describe your own sound?
RB: Space gospel. Folk noir. I don’t know really.
The title of your song “Winter’s Widow” reminds me, it’s not long before the icy chill begins. As winter starts to roll in for the east coast, what is the best time of the year to you?
RB: I like the colors of fall. Especially in this part of the world. If I had the choice though, I would choose a California climate. I need sun.
What do you foresee in the future for you guys? Anything you are really psyched about?
RB: Just more writing and touring. Our debut album is coming out on Arts & Crafts (Canadian label with Feist, broken social scene etc…) in early 2014. Stoked on that.
Thank you for your time!
So yeah, definitely check out that show November 16 at the Toad, and hear some stellar unique sounds slight reminiscent of that warming Mumford and Sons/The Head And The Heart-type feel but with an intriguing newfangled perspective. I know I just saw these guys, what—yesterday, and I’m already psyched to hear them again for sure. Listen to another great track of theirs right below!