The Rubens Vs Steve Kilbey: "I Don't Know What It Means To Be Soft"

28 January 2016 | 3:23 pm | Uppy Chatterjee

"I don't get angry at people for eating peanut butter sandwiches when I don't like peanut butter. Each to his own."

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It's been a whirlwind 48 hours for The Rubens, having picked up the coveted crown in the triple j Hottest 100 on Tuesday with Hoops, to the band's elation and Steve Kilbey of The Church's confusion. 

Penning a highly-shared piece — full of his "curmudgeonly thoughts" — called I listened to Triple J's Hottest 100 so you don't have to on The Guardian, the 61-year-old took apart why nearly every track in the countdown's top ten was either "meaningless", "pleasant pop" or "mostly forgettable".

Of The Rubens, Kilbey wrote, "It’s another wry bouncy (little) song, pleasant and innocuous and harmless and twee. No electric guitars were harmed during the making of this record, and no revolution is preached. Catchy to the max, but no oomph or grunt or even twist. This old curmudgeon shrugs his shoulders. Why this song is No 1 eludes me. Triple J listeners have gone a bit soft, I guess."

Speaking exclusively to today, The Rubens keyboardist Elliot Margin, said, "I don't really understand it. I don't know what it means to be soft. It's a listeners' poll, people vote for what they like or think should do well, what they're proud of, and people get angry at results because that's human, we're all invested in it and it's a big thing.

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"I don't really understand how people go soft, or how people vote soft. I don't get angry at people for eating peanut butter sandwiches when I don't like peanut butter. Each to his own."

Margin said he glazed over most of Kilbey's scathing thoughts, stopping only for his remarks on the countdown's #2 — Kendrick Lamar's King Kunta.

"I remember reading his stuff about us and I thought, 'fair enough, not everyone has to like us' but then he said King Kunta sounds like everything else he's ever heard and I thought, 'WHAT are you talking about? That is ridiculous!' That was the only time I got angry. It was such a blatant lie. King Kunta is a ridiculously original song, what the hell is he talking about?"

The band's exact moment of glory has been shared all over social media in the last couple of days, thanks to triple j's vague request for The Rubens to come into their Melbourne office and film their reaction.

"We were in Melbourne at the time playing the Australian Open and we got asked to come in, they were like, "can you come into the studio after you play?" Which made us think we were doing alright. We knew we must've placed well, but we had no idea... we were just waiting to hear our song."

The Menangle five-piece have also just been announced for this year's Groovin The Moo.

"We're so excited, we've never played that festival [Groovin The Moo] and a bunch of our mates have and it just sounds like a really good festival, one of those ones like Laneway where you get to actually play multiple shows and travel around, get to hang out with the bands a little more. We're really excited.

"There was nothing really like this when we were growing up [in Menangle], there was one festival in Camden, Secret Garden, that's an awesome festival in the bush and it's really beautiful with great bands and it's for charity. You get your party on and then enjoy yourself knowing it's going to a greater cause."