Melbourne band R.U.B are about to release their debut EP, so Allan Reid caught up with the band for a chat about how it all came together...

(Live pics by @electrumphotography)

At what point did the band form and how did it all come together?

R.U.B grew into what it is today from the tiny seed of a bunch of demos Soph recorded in the haze of the brutal covid lockdown in Naarm at the end of 2020. Uploaded to Bandcamp as a DIY punk project called B!TCH, it was really just going to be a standalone piece of work and that would be it – until Soph met Liv in 2021 at the funeral of their mutual friend Sean in Adelaide.

The two got chatting, Liv found the demos and decided that B!TCH needed to be a band… promptly inspiring the two of them to form what has become R.U.B. After more writing, chatting, playing guitar together and recruiting friends Marc and Ryan to complete the line-up, we all found ourselves playing our first set together at Nighthawks in November 2022. Sean would have LOVED it.

Would readers recognize the members from any other bands?

Liv, Marc & Ryan have all been in bands for a number of years, and Ryan as an expat was heavily involved in the DIY scene in his hometown of Milwaukee. For Soph though, this is her first proper band, unless you want to count a 2000’s high school punk band (…you don’t). We reckon that is why R.U.B has us all excited – it’s got all the fire of that first real project you create because for Soph, it is.


In your own words how would you describe the sound of RUB?

We would describe our sound as 90’s femme punk with a hardcore bite. Our sound has naturally taken shape from the subject matter we write about and has formed more of an aggressive edge than even we originally intended. We’ve tapped into it – the catharsis for Soph of alternating between melody and a yell, scream or snarl has become so important to what we are doing.

We want to show our rage – rage that isn’t pretty, rage that is both fucking furious and vulnerable and tender at the same time and most of all, rage that is expressed in a way that we don’t always see in what is often a hypermasc punk and hardcore world. We want to break that apart and create a space for femme, queer, nuanced, vulnerable aggression at its most honest and raw, without any weird ego or feeling of having to conform to that classic “tough guy” persona. We are the opposite of tough guys, we’re trying to show that very intentionally.


What bands are influencing the sound of RUB?

In terms of our sound, we draw from so many influences from 70’s punk icons X-Ray Spex, the Runaways, Siouxsie & the Banshees to 90’s riotgrrrl bands like L7, The Gits and Bikini Kill. There is also a tiny bit of that Rites of Spring/Fugazi 80’s HC tint musically too.

Our ethos is just as important to us as our sound, with our focus on being a DIY punk band that is accessible, anti-capitalist and is really embedded in left wing activism and counterculture. We DIY all our own merch from secondhand clothes, make sure we play venues that are accessible, and are very intentional about inclusion. We want to help create spaces in punk and hardcore that are welcoming to everyone, especially people who may not feel historically included. In this vein, we are inspired by DIY bands like Fugazi, queer/femme bands like G.L.O.S.S, Limp Wrist, Gel, Gouge Away and Pussy Riot, and Australian bands like Outright, xCherishx and Frame.

What would be a dream line up of bands to play with?

Honestly – any band who has moved away from a lineup purely of white cishet men. We want more, we just don’t really find that inspiring or relatable, and we can see the scene changing and diversifying which is so fucking exciting. There are SO many local bands we would love to play with - xCherishx, Outright, Stabbitha & the Knifey Wifeys, Frame, Blonde Revolver, Shove – the list is endless! Bucket list current touring international bands would be G.L.O.S.S, Scowl, Gel, Gouge Away, and literally any riotgrrrl band that would have us.

In 2020 during COVID Lockdowns RUB released a series of tracks to introduce the band to the world. What was the writing/recording process for these tracks with the challenges of isolation and lockdowns?

The origins of those first tracks were both as a response to the frustration of the lockdowns and the bullshit political hellscape of the time. Having to watch the news for COVID updates and seeing the unholy trinity of Trump/Johnson/Morrison was enough to make anyone start screaming, Soph just did it into a bedroom demo setup her partner had in their home studio in Coburg. Those three songs were written quick and recorded even quicker – everything was tracked by her in one take to keep it rough and raw. Soph’s partner took on the role of DIY recorder/producer (and drums) which made that gnarly 5km radius not much of a barrier.


RUB played your first official show in November 2022 – 2 years after the bands tracks were released. How has the response been to the bands first run of shows?

The shows have been so fucking cool and super inspiring. We hadn’t expected to get as much of a response as we did – we sold out our very first show! The most incredible thing has been the conversations we have had with people who have resonated with our music and what we are trying to create at a R.U.B show, who have felt excited by seeing themselves represented and not just included but actively welcomed. That has been the most important thing for us and really our guiding light.

We’ve had a lot of people come to our shows who don’t normally listen to punk / hardcore or if they do, don’t always feel super comfortable at live shows, but have been interested in what we are doing in terms of our ethos and have felt safe enough to come, and that feels like confirmation we are on the right path.

Got a fave RUB track and why that one?

Oooh we love them all! Womb is one of my (Soph’s) favourites to play live because of its nasty opening riff and then the baby breakdown at the end. We are currently workshopping turning it into a fake-out double breakdown for our EP launch… sludge-style. Womb is also the first song we realised people knew the words too which is sick because it’s about abortion rights and how men in power seem to always have to relate women/queer rights issues to their mothers or daughters to understand instead of maybe just seeing us as… idk people?


What else is in store in the foreseeable future for your band?

We have recorded our first EP and our launch show is on 27 May at Nighthawks, we can’t fucking wait!! We have a few shows coming up with some of our favourite local bands which we are so excited to announce. We are also super keen to put out our first zine, which we are hoping to release in July – it will be DIY punk/riotgrrrl style, with info sharing, articles, art, pieces of writing by our friends, mutual aid info, and maybe a cryptic crossword to boot.

How can people get in touch, pick up releases/merch or keep up with what’s happening in the band?

Have a look at our Instagram - @rub.punk our Linktree – or our email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are on Bandcamp and streaming services so you can suss our releases online. In terms of physical copies, we are wanting to keep things as DIY as we can so we are releasing everything ourselves - keep an eye out online for news about tapes. As for our merch, we are only doing it in person at our shows for the moment, mostly because each piece is 1 of 1 and sizing can be quite random because it’s all secondhand. We usually get people to go and try things on in the loos first!

Most importantly though, the best way if you’re able is to come up and have a chat to us at our shows! We want to chat, hear your thoughts & ideas and make sure everyone feels included. For the shows we put on, keep an eye on our Instagram in the lead up for accessibility info including a specific spot to meet if you’re coming alone and you’d feel better having a friendly face guide you in and get you oriented and comfortable. We always make sure we do that. You’re always gonna be welcome at a R.U.B show!


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