Ilan Rubin won a worldwide competition when he was 12 years old — “Best Undiscovered Drummer Under 18.”
Drummer Ilan Rubin plays on the new Paramore album and has rejoined Nine Inch Nails, but he’s keeping his New Regime solo project alive with the May 7 debut of an eight-song EP, Exhibit A. “When it came time for a third release, I had enough material for almost two full-lengths,” says Rubin. “But, unlike my first two albums, these songs weren’t written with a definitive vision in mind. I realized that this broader spectrum of ideas was an exciting thing. I could release the music as a series of EPs. I call them ‘exhibits,’ a collection that I can and will constantly be adding to.”
Everything on the self-released digital EP was written, performed, sung, and coproduced by the 24-year-old, alongside engineer and mixer Aaron Rubin. Though it won’t be supported with a tour (“Nine Inch Nails rehearsals begin soon”), Rubin is in the final stages of editing a video for the featured track “Daydream.”
Mixing industrial electronica with more traditional power-trio song structures, Rubin says, “I wanted to continue to push my songwriting in multiple directions, while keeping songs direct and concise.... I always like to keep music moving in various directions and have the listener guessing what’s next. Sonically, the material on Exhibit A lent itself to both very organic sounds as well as quite a bit of electronics.”
It’s an accurate enough self-assessment, though it’s not always easy to draw parallel lines directly to the almost-arena-sized anthemic rock heard on his earlier Regime releases, Coup and Speak Through the White Noise. “The New Regime has many musical sides,” notes Rubin. “While the tone of the music may be on the darker side of things, it has its moments of mellow, heavy, up-tempo, pop in a more traditional sense, guitar-based rock, and classically influenced piano-driven songs.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
- “Depeche Mode’s Delta Machine is in my CD player. My brother picked it up and left it in my car, so I’ve been listening to it. I love listening to the sounds they come up with, especially after all these years.”
- “Barton Hollow by the Civil Wars has been listened to quite a bit. I was drawn to them by the undeniable talent and, even though I haven’t really listened to much music of that style, I really enjoy their songs. Their harmonies are incredible.”
“When I was a lot younger, I had been advised by older musicians to get out of music altogether. Encouraging! But I’d have to say the sentiment that rings loudly with me is that if you truly believe in what you’re doing — and I don’t mean ignorantly and stupidly thinking you’re great — stick to your guns and see it through. My parents always told me to pursue what I do, always work on getting better, and to always be smart, since the industry is notoriously unstable.”
MOST VISITED WEBSITES?
“Ebay.com, Analoguehaven.com, Bigcitymusic.com, Vintageking.com, and Craigslist.org. What can be found at all of these sites are instruments and recording equipment. I have a problem.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?
“Grow your hair out as soon as possible, and don’t worry about the awkward stages.”
DRINK OF CHOICE?
“Lately, I’ve been drinking sparkling water by the gallon, it seems. It would have to be between that and good old coffee. My coffee addiction has grown more dangerous since my friend from Angels & Airwaves, David Kennedy, started roasting his own beans here in San Diego.”
MAC OR PC?
“Once I went Mac, I never looked back.”
“The best thing I ever won would probably be a worldwide competition for the Best Undiscovered Drummer Under 18, put on by Modern Drummer magazine. I won that when I was 12.”
YOUR BEST DISH (AND WHAT’S YOUR SECRET)?
“I can cook some pretty delicious eggs. I do that thing where you put a little bit of water in the pan while the eggs are cooking, and then place the lid on so the yolk cooks enough without having to risk the flip. However, my flipping skills are pretty damn good, and I make a pretty mean eggy in a basket. The trick there is to use bread slices that are big enough to press out a good sized hole with a glass, without compromising its structural integrity.”
“Before going on tour, I do have a bag of medicine for practically every illness. I’m paranoid of getting sick on tour.”
BIGGEST LIE YOU EVER TOLD?
“Good show, man.”
WHAT REMAINS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
“I would really love to own a place in the Austrian Alps, with the recording studio of my dreams. I’d be taking my hermit lifestyle to the next level.... I’m extremely boring and practically never go out when I’m home.”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“I haven’t really found a pair of men’s jeans I’m entirely comfortable in.”