Editor’s Note: It was quite an interesting conversation with Ilan Rubin for Madness To Creation. Ilan’s drumming skills became a worldwide sensation as he drummed for a band called F.o.N. as an 11 year old at Woodstock 1999. He’s gone on to play in other bands such as Fenix Tx, Lostprophets, Denver Harbor, and Paramore. He currently drums, plays piano and does some guitar work for Nine Inch Nails, in which they have personally called him “the secret weapon of Nine Inch Nails”, and he drums for Angels & Airwaves, and is the mastermind behind an incredible band known as The New Regime. The New Regime have released “Heart Mind Body & Soul” this year, and played some shows with Silversun Pickups. Covid-19 would be the cause of the Silversun Pickups’ tour to be cancelled and Ilan shares some of his experience about that. In this interview, get inside Ilan Rubin’s mind as he discusses his drumming techniques, studio mindset, along with The New Regime and mental health awareness with Madness To Creation. Fans can find The New Regime at the following locations:
MTC: How are you holding up from the Covid-19 pandemic?
Ilan: I’m holding up probably as well as you can, I feel terrible for all the people that get stir crazy inside, but I feel like I was built for isolation.
MTC: Do you consider yourself an introvert?
Ilan: Definitely, but it doesn’t mean that I have any sort of social awkwardness, but I definitely always prefer to be at home.
MTC: Have you had to alter your strategy on the social media front?
Ilan: Yeah, I mean it hasn’t been too strategic but I’ve just made an effort to be a little bit more active, I mean I’m not the most active on social media to begin with just because I’m fairly diligent with other things and I don’t want to be that annoying person that’s inundating people with nonsense but I know a lot of people have been using it even more so because everyone is stuck at home and needs a little bit of entertainment, so I’ve gone live a few times and posted a few other things and people have seemed to be enjoying it, but other than that I’ve just been keeping up with my usual routine of writing and recording.
MTC: You’re involved with a lot of projects, what have you been working on?
Ilan: Currently, I’m going through some Angels & Airwaves material and figuring out what is going on with that, there’s a lot of material but we’re not sure on when we can get together to record cause everyone is in their quarantine, and I’m in L.A. and everyone else is in San Diego, but with the gods of technology seeming to smile upon us, we’ve been able to be pretty productive.
MTC: What is your mindset when you go into the studio?
Ilan: When I have the most fun writing is when I don’t actually have a mindset, I just love playing music, as you can imagine, if I’m sitting there playing piano or playing guitar, whatever it may be, I’m just having fun experimenting, and when a melody sort of presents itself in my mind, that’s when I plant the seeds for creating a song, and I could definitely force myself to write but to keep it feeling fresh, I really like to seize the moment when it comes naturally.
MTC; You’re a great musician, let’s say someone has never picked up an instrument, what’s the first thing that you’re going to teach them?
Ilan: Which instrument are we talking?
MTC: Let’s start with drums.
Ilan: I suppose the first thing that I would teach them is the absolute simplest of beats, I wouldn’t bother with rudiments or reading or anything like that, just the simplest of beats so I can see how their tempo is and their sense of time, then I can see how the limbs move independently of each other, and then I take it from there, and some people would immediately come to a halt right there and some people would actually pick it up very quickly, and you gotta see where everyone is at, everyone’s starting level is a little different.
MTC: Would you say that your mindset in the studio is different from playing live?
Ilan: Absolutely, it has to be, playing live is more about playing with energy and with entertainment, studio is more about craft and creativity.
MTC: From The New Regime, I really enjoy the music video for “It’s Gonna Be Ok”, I feel that the song resonates with our vision of the website which is normalizing mental health awareness, can you take us into the song and a message about mental health awareness?
Ilan: Thank you! I mean, I don’t think I’m the right guy for giving solid advice or consultation on mental health awareness but it’s something that needs to be taken very seriously and for those that have a harder time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, whether they’re going through an episode or if they’re feeling particularly down, just know that there is that light at the end of the tunnel and that you will be able to feel better eventually and that it’s a-ok to seek help from friends and family, it’s something that I say most people go through and that some feel more comfortable than others in terms of reaching out and talking about it, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of and there will always be people willing to help and things will always get better.
MTC: The new album “Heart Mind Body & Soul” shows a lot of musicianship, where would you like to continue your growth as a musician?
Ilan: Well, I’m constantly growing, I think a lot of it has to do with never wanting to repeat myself, I’ve always wanted to write something different and new, especially in comparison to what I’ve already done, so naturally that’s what always keeps me evolving. I’ve definitely become a much better vocalist over the years I think from when I started as a singer, so I’m very proud of that, but what I would like to improve upon, well it’s hard to say specifically, because I obviously want to write better and better songs, but that’s obviously subjective and that can mean writing things that are a little bit more simple and potent or it can be things that are deceivingly complex, or who knows what, because the point is for me to enjoy it and for everybody else to enjoy it, so what I wanna do next, I can’t really say. I just hope that I do it well.
MTC: I know that The New Regime got in a few shows supporting Silversun Pickups. How did the shows go and how did the crowd respond to your set?
Ilan: Yeah, it’s such a shame, the tour was going extremely well, their audience was very receptive to us, we were having a fantastic time, but about halfway through, it was cancelled because of Covid-19 and we had to pick up and drive home to the West Coast from Knoxville, Tennessee, so it was a bit of a sad departure but we hope that we can make up the dates when it’s safe to go out and play again.
MTC: Do we have a ballpark of when? Or we probably can’t really tell?
Ilan: Exactly, I really have no idea, but like I said, I hope that it’s as soon as possible but the priority is that everyone is safe and contained, but I’ll just be waiting around for that phone call to say let’s do the tour!
MTC: For sure! What is the biggest challenge for you, fronting your band, drumming for Nine Inch Nails, or Angels & Airwaves?
Ilan: While I’m fronting and heading the project of The New Regime, the arrangements are different in all three bands. While I drum for Nine Inch Nails, they ask me to come up with piano arrangements, sometimes I play bass and sometimes I play guitar, the music is just extremely diverse, with Angels it’s more of a straightforward thing as a drummer, but I still come out to play acoustic guitar when I’m on the stage, as a core it’s all very different.
MTC: Favorite memory of Tom Delonge and Trent Reznor?
Ilan: I have no idea to be honest with you. I just enjoy hanging out with both of them and playing both of them, I know that’s a really boring answer, but I really have no idea.
MTC: Anything that you would like to add about “Heart Mind Body & Soul”.
Ilan: I would just want people to listen to it and enjoy the album and to really take it all in, it’s a fairly long album, it’s extremely diverse, I would venture to say more diverse than anything I’ve done at the moment. I hope you enjoy it, I really think with The New Regime, there’s something there for everybody, I hope they find it enjoyable during this isolating time.
And there you have it! Check out “Heart Mind Body & Soul” via Spotify below: