By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Oct. 7, 2021 was an eventful day for writing-producing duo Rubber, who dropped their catchy, uplifting, self-identity-centric single “Synth Pop Idol” and topped it off with a show at The Bowery Electric in New York City that night.
Rubber – composed of singer-lyricist Andrew Loper (he/they) and producer/multi-instrumentalist John Della Franco (he/him) – have maintained their tight bond since they formed at Temple University in 2018, with a sound that gleefully dances on the edge of genres like R&B, funk, hip-hop, jazz and soul, all with a shiny pop glisten, as they were influenced by acts like Frank Ocean, Thundercat and Amy Winehouse.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with them about “Synth Pop Idol” and more.
Music Bugle – What do you enjoy the most about performing live?
Andrew Loper – Connecting with the audience, making eye contact, feeling their energy and telling the stories I think they’d like to hear.
John Della Franco – Connecting with the band, connecting with the audience, just connection in general.
Music Bugle – How did you decide on the name “Rubber”?
Andrew Loper – We were in Nashville doing some recording and we had booked a show, but hated our name at the time and intended to change it. The night before, we had to tell them our updated name for the poster. We watched the movie “Rubber” and just kind of went for it.
John Della Franco – “Rubber” had a large effect on us. It’s a movie about a tire that comes to life and starts blowing up people’s heads with psychokinetic powers, which is exactly what we want to do.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your latest single “Synth Pop Idol”?
Andrew Loper – To sit back a little bit and create some transparency with our fans. We want to show us as we really are and the music video really illustrates that.
John Della Franco – We just hope people like it. If it gets a lot of streams and brings more recognition to the project, that’s a plus.
Music Bugle – What is the most challenging aspect of being a musical duo?
Andrew Loper – Finding paid opportunities!
John Della Franco – It can make compromising a little bit difficult. We can’t really vote on anything because it’s only two people, so we have to go that extra mile to make sure we can both stand behind whatever we’re putting out.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Andrew Loper – The borderless-ness of it. We try not to stick to a lane or a sound. We just make what we like and the modern pop music landscape is really conducive to experimentation right now!
John Della Franco – I think it’s different. I don’t really see people blending the styles that we’re blending in the same way that we’re doing it.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
John Della Franco – I listen to mostly hip-hop these days. My favorite current artist right now is definitely Hi-C. I listen to him everyday.
Andrew Loper – Oh, geez… lemme look at my Spotify, hold on… PinkPantheress, NAYANA IZ, Amaarae, underscores, Sam Bekt, Remi Wolf, Noname… the list goes on!
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Andrew Loper – Both! It has democratized the ability to advertise to the masses and created opportunities to get in front of millions even without paying, but it has cheapened the value of an individual creation, flooded the music market and still favors companies with large budgets and direct connections to the social media companies at a high level, so if anything, it’s just made the whole thing a lot more complex.
John Della Franco – Social media is annoying, but at the end of the day, it can only help you as an artist. It gets your stuff out to a large audience in a fraction of the time that it used to. What could be so bad about that?
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
John Della Franco – Lack of inspiration, less stability in pretty much everything and not being able to play live was a major bummer.
Andrew Loper – No shows for a year definitely hurt, bad. Like, really bad. Cancelling our tour to SXSW in 2020 was like a knife to the gut, but it did make me really consider what I wanted to spend my time doing and the answer was always music, every time.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
John Della Franco – “So, if you want to be a musician, you just have to realize that no one is going to care,” by Frank Zappa.
Andrew Loper – “Stillness will meet you for tea or a walk by the ocean. You must be gentle when you approach her…” by J. Ruth Gendler, from “The Book of Qualities.”
Music Bugle – What’s something that people might be surprised to know about you guys?
Andrew Loper – I studied economics in college and had planned on pursuing a graduate education in Policy Research. I even turned down a grad school offer at the London School of Economics.
John Della Franco – We play soulful music, but I’m pretty sure that neither of us actually have souls.