Rubin Mathias on his new song, Demon Princess, and its anime influences
Rubin Mathias is a post-rock guitarist hailing from Bengaluru. He’s been playing the guitar from a very young age and as a child, he was introduced to many cultures impacting his musical style. Rock and roll and Hindustani music played a pivotal role in his initial years of being a musician. His music is influenced by anime movies and television shows, the intricate storylines inspire the structure and tone of his music. Drawing influences from guitarists such as Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Gary Moore, and Warren Mendosa, his song Demon Princess features heavy riffs with melodic and vocal guitar solos. The song itself is inspired by powerful female characters featured in anime movies like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. The song also features Pineapple Express and Kelvikurri drummer Ujjwal KS. We speak to him about the song. Excerpts from the interview:
How has writing and composing music been different during the pandemic? And how was the experience like collaborating with Ujjwal KS?
The pandemic definitely gave me more time to work on my music. However, jamming with other musicians has taken a back seat. I've seen Ujjwal perform a couple of times with Kelvikurri and Pineapple Express. I was very impressed with his work and almost immediately wanted to work with him. Ujjwal was very professional with his work and had good attention to detail. His drum parts elevated the song and were far better than what I had initially programmed.
Have you always been a huge anime fan? What is it about anime that inspires you so much?
I've been into anime from a very young age. I like the innovative storylines, they inspire me musically. They're more compelling and there are no creative limitations to what you can portray. Akira directed by Katsuhiro Otomo is my all-time favourite.
What inspired you to be a musician?
From a very young age, I was introduced to a wide variety of music. My dad listened to old school rock and roll and my mother used to sing in the church choir. As a young kid, I was a huge fan of Michael Jackson, Jimmy Page, and David Gilmour. I used to play at a couple of venues, but not professionally. Music was something that came very naturally to me and was something that I couldn’t do without.
Have you had any formal training? How has your music evolved over the years?
No, I haven't been formally trained as a musician apart from some basic training in Hindustani music as a kid. I learnt the instrument by playing with a lot of musicians. My musical style has evolved in the same path of my music listening. I started with Michael Jackson, Nirvana, and classic blues-rock artists. After being introduced to prog metal/rock I paid more attention to drum grooves, rhythmic aspects and locking in with the rhythm. I focus on the catchy melodies in pop music and incorporate them into progressive music.
What is your creative process like?
I start out programming the main drum groove of the song and then build the rhythm guitar and the other melodies around it. Experimenting with different tones or melodies and go with my intuition and natural musical flow.
Who are your influences?
When I was younger it was the likes of Jimmy Page and David Gilmour that inspired me to pick up the electric guitar. I'm a huge fan of Warren Mendosa who's solos have that Page and Gilmour effect. Technically I lean towards blues style and draw influences from Gary Moore. In terms of prog Sithu Aye is my main influence. My favourite albums are the ones that are inspired by anime. For his latest album Senpai III, he wrote a novella that goes along with the album and that really intrigued me.
What do your tools look like? Any other players tones you really dig?
I really dig Warren's tone. On Demon Princess the tone is inspired by Plini, I've rolled down the mids and treble a bit. I'm using a Cort Zenox Z42hd, line 6 pod 500, Bias fx, and the Archetype Plini plugin.
Watch the video here: