You get an interesting set of results if you attempt to Google a band named Rubber. The tire-making product itself is most prominent, with useful educational articles titled “Rubber: A Simple Introduction To Explain That Stuff” popping up first. There’s lots of rubber band content, of course. Apparently there’s also a 2010 movie entitled Rubber: “Rubber is an English-language French independent, satirical horror film about a tire that comes to life and kills people with its psychic powers.” Apparently, this is based on a true story.
If you’re looking for Rubber, the band, that consists of Andrew Loper (Singer/Co-Writer) & John Della Franco (Producer/Co-Writer), it’s almost impossible to find them due to the useful office staple hogging all their search engine space. Nevertheless this amiable Philly duo is quickly gaining steam and streams, playing local venues and drawing crowds with only two singles out. They say an EP is coming soon.
“Control” is an auditory adventure featuring sophisticated melodies, taking on the fear of entering a serious relationship, the trepidation of intertwining your life with another person. A steady diet of prescribed pills, self-meds, insomnia, and insecurity leave the protagonist in a weary state. Loper’s vocals are eerily reminiscent of one of his faves, Frank Ocean. The production allows the track to shimmer like a hazy hangover. “Take a shot/ Take hit/ Don’t worry/ It won’t hurt a bit. I have connnnnntrollll”.
The idea of letting go of your depression is at the heart of “Won’t Come Back”. Kicking off with a tiptoeing chime, the track slides into a seductive groove. And when Loper purrs, “Won’t come baaaack no more” you absolutely believe him.
The Rubber duo kindly answered some of our questions.
Hope you are having a grand Sunday. I noticed on your cover for control there is a smudge stick. Tell me about the art work? I like it very intriguing.
It’s a care package from a far away place, things collected with intention. There’s a lot of spiritual and ritual imagery. Control is about moving from one stage in your life to the next, breaking with one ritual and forming a new. The cover art is a multimedia exploration of that idea.
How did you get started and what made you want to form a duo? Do you play with other musicians?
We were connected by a mutual friend who wanted to form a band. Things never quite got off the ground but we found that our writing styles worked really well together so we continued to write and eventually decided to record the songs as a duo. John creates the soundscapes and Andrew creates the lyrics and most of the melodies. There is collaboration in both directions though. We do have a network of musicians that help us out when they can.
How did you come up with name Rubber? Just to let you know when you google Rubber band well you know what comes up? Rubber bands!
Well, we started of as Andrew Loper & the Only Memories. We wanted to change it since it was too long and no one seemed to like it. We were brainstorming for a while and there were a bunch of names in the mix but one that stood out was Andrew & the Rubber Band suggested by our keyboardist Drew Cluff. We decided to shorten it to Rubber after watching the movie Rubber, about a tire that comes to life. It’s not very deep or meaningful or anything, it just felt right.
The song “Control” is deep. What message were you trying to convey?
It’s not a message as much as it is a story. All of the songs are stories about my (Andrew) life. People can take from it what they want. The story is about the beginning stages of what I knew was going to be a serious relationship. I was in a bad place mentally at this time of my life and so the song is me navigating the struggles of intertwining my life with someone else’s, exploring the idea of routine and what happens when it’s broken.
How did you come up with arrangement?
All of the production is spearheaded by John with some creative input from Andrew. We are lucky enough to have some truly gifted musicians on the tracks as well who helped bring our vision to life but not without their own creative input. Charlie Smythe played synth on this track and Matthew Chenery played drums; both incredible creative minds and gifted musicians who breathed their own life into not only Control but the rest of the songs we’re working on. Gianni Brown our sound engineer and Drew Taffe our manager (and also a sound engineer by trade) were also vital to the process.
I really like the vocal style. Do you have any musicians that you looked to for inspiration?
Between the two of us we have a wide range of musical influences ranging from Metal to Gospel but as a vocalist I (Andrew) am inspired by artists like Kim Burrell, Jessie J, YEBBA, Frank Ocean, and Nai Palm (The lead singer of Hiatus Kaiyote) to name a few.
Any fun facts about your band?
Andrew studied Economics and Anthropology in school and had plans to pursue a PhD in Urban Studies before Rubber signed to Belltower Records.
John only learned how to play guitar when we began working together so we could write songs. He grew up playing the upright bass and considers electric bass his main instrument.
When can we expect new music?
The next single dropped 7/26. An EP will be coming out not too long after.