EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: The Rubens Embrace Flawed Individuality in “Million Man”


After going platinum and gold domestically with their first two albums, respectively, Australian band The Rubens is building intense anticipation for their upcoming third album. Pictured above, The Rubens is a five-piece, alternative rock band originally from Menangle, New South Wales, comprised of the three Margin brothers, Elliott, Zaac, and Sam, as well as their friends Scott Baldwin and William Zeglis. We're honored to premiere The Rubens new single, "Million Man," here at Ones To Watch as your first glimpse into the forthcoming record. 

"Million Man" starts simple with an even rhythm of chords on the keyboard and Sam's vocals. As his vocals rise, percussive snaps are added in addition to the single strums of an electric guitar. This minimalism builds anticipation until finally in the chorus, the rest of the band kicks in along with the energy, carrying this liveliness through the rest of the track. With a repeating verse and chorus, the song is easily infectious and simplistic in its delivery. The song has an upbeat vibe, but the lyrics reveal that there is often a price to be paid for carefree living:

“The song is about living life on the debaucherous side. Enjoying certain pleasures and freedom while also dealing with conflicting feelings of hollowness or regret. Finding a balance and embracing who you are."

The origins of the new single actually traces back to several years ago. At the 2013 Laneway Music Festival, The Rubens befriended rapper El-P and rap duo Run The Jewels' producers Wilder Zoby and Torbitt Schwartz, aka Lil' Shalimar. The RTJ producers flew to the band's new recording studio in Sydney (previously a World War II communications bunker) a few years later in early 2017. After the friendship kindled year prior, they finally began to create new material and see what their blend of genres would result in. The band reveals of the process,

"'Million Man' was one of those songs that sort of comes out of nowhere, just sitting at the piano and playing whatever is in your head. Sometimes songs can be a real labour to get them finished or to work out where they're meant to go, but this one wasn't like that at all. It was also the first demo we showed to Wilder and Torbitt, the dudes who ended up producing the whole album. They loved it and helped us bring a real energy and rhythm out of the song."

The band has also opened for several major artists, including Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys, and Grouplove. In addition to their albums being gold and platinum accredited, both records peaked in the top three spots of Australian music charts.

As we anxiously await the band's third record, your first stream of "Million Man" is below: