Hey Reuben! Thanks for finding the time to chat in the midst of the tour… How have the first couple shows gone?
Hey! Good… pretty wiped at the moment. Just laying in the back of a tour van driving across the prairies. The shows have been real good though.
In that case, thank you that much more for doing this. It must be pretty surreal getting closer and closer to playing at the Jack Singer in Calgary… That place is a pretty special piece of the city.
Yea man. It’s funny because this tour started in the states… we are playing to about 100 people each night and really just grinding. But then the closer we get to Western Canada, the shows just keep growing and growing. JS is the dream though.
Man, you guys are killing it. It makes sense though, I think people from Calgary are beyond excited to feel like they are a part of the band’s growth and support a group that constantly recognizes Calgary as home. Do you find the hometown shows have a different feel than some of the other places you’ve played?
Thanks! Yeah Calgary has always been so supportive. That city really stands behind its artists and it goes along way… that support follows us around the country. Calgary shows have always been amazing. But it’s growing everywhere now. We played a sold out show in Winnipeg last night and it blew my mind. So much love. It gets pretty emotional to experience that stuff.
"Sometimes something will just open up and writing a song just feels like I am channeling something. When that happens I really just try and stay out of the songs way. "
I can’t imagine how emotional that can be. One thing I’ve always wondered while listening to the album is whether or not you try to write in particular environments, or need to be in a specific head space to get some of those songs out? Do the magical moments seem to simply present themselves or is there a certain amount of deliberation that goes into finding them?
It always varies. I write everyday. It tends to be a heart space. Sometimes something will just open up and writing a song just feels like I am channeling something. When that happens I really just try and stay out of the songs way. Occasionally I’ll really chase a tune in a deliberate way though. This album was a combination of both of those processes. Songs that took minutes to write and songs that took years.
I think there’s lots to be learned from ‘staying out of the songs way’... whether it’s songwriting, skateboarding, or tackling some other creative pursuit in life. Learning to turn down the mental dialogue and let things come as they are can lead to pretty amazing stuff. Do you function in a similar way in other areas of your life, such as skating or shooting photos?
I approach music in the same ways I approach skateboarding. I probably have just learned most life lessons through skating so it has really influenced and informed all my artist pursuits. The fears and self doubt you end up battling trying to learn or film a trick… the insanity. I think it really has a way of freeing the mind. It definitely allowed me to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Normalizing so many experiences. It opened my perspective quite a bit. Giving me confidence to pursue things that other people around me were too scared to pursue. If that makes sense? Me, driving around the country in a van… jumping on stages every night in front of hundreds or thousands of strangers, somehow feels the same as grinding handrails.
That makes all the sense in the world. I definitely think skateboarding teaches us a lesson managing self-doubt early on. It’s so cool to see how you’ve harnessed that and applied it to all these other areas of your life. That being said, surely it wasn’t always that easy to push the self-doubt aside? Was it something that was hard to get past when you first started playing music?
When I first started playing music, I felt like it was this brutal double edge. I had this burning desire to write and play but that was counterbalanced by severe stage fright… it was a crazy curse. It has taken me a very long time to overcome that. There is always this option of walking away when things get too intense. I’m not sure what it is inside of me that pushes through, but it is so necessary. This inflated confidence that seems to trump reality. That’s probably what I really took from skateboarding. When both your body and mind are telling you not to do something… but then there is this other part of you that seems to push you through. And the more you follow that voice. Slowly, it gets easier.
Well I for one couldn’t be happier that you’ve managed to push through and jump on those stages every night. You and the band are creating something special that touches lots of people… I’m sure the honesty inherent in your music and your interviews is inspiring people right now to do something similar. On that note, I’ll wrap this thing up and let you enjoy the rest of the drive in peace! Thank you so much for the words Reuben. Best of luck with the rest of the tour.
Nice speaking with you. See you in Vancouver!
You can catch Reuben and the Dark live at the Imperial Theater in Vancouver on Nov 8th.
Interview by Dylan Stack