Written by Michael Carr on August 2, 2008

Having just launched their self-titled album a few weeks ago, Sydney’s foot soldiers of funk-reggae tinged hip-hop Rumpuch are riding high. “The album launch was awesome, just unbelievable,” keyboardist Charlie tells me.

“Yeah it was pretty fun, it was big. We were all out late at night postering our asses off in the rain. It was kind of strange doing all this self promotion and stuff, because you don’t really know what’s going to happen. You know one flyer doesn’t mean one person and in the end there were about 460 people, which was huge,” bassist Ev confides, as Tucker, the resident MC adds, “It was the first time we’d ever put on a party, so it was a nice pleasant surprise when people turned up.”

These two have been bouncing off each other all night, as Ev plows through his Guinness. His hair is a wild explosion of curls, giving him the look of a mad scientist that fits in with his character so well you have to question which came first. Tucker on the other hand, is… well reserved isn’t the right word, but neither is exuberant if you catch my drift. Charlie is nervous but charming, and every time she laughs I wish I knew why, while Aaron the guitarist beams with the benevolence of a drunken grandfather who hasn’t seen you in a long time.

The band has been experiencing a lot of support recently, building on their strong fan base, established through their renowned live performance and general dedication to enjoying themselves. “For the album launch we put a lot of time in to try and give people a satisfying show, so it was a little tighter, and a bit different to most other shows.  We sort of like to improvise a little in certain areas and with some songs, we’ve performed something and it’s gone into the song because we found it performing.”

Throughout July they have been playing a weekly residency at the Macquarie Hotel, with the band loving the regular audiences and party atmosphere.  “People have been turning up, and supporting it and getting down and having a boogie,” Tucker tells me, with Ev remarking “ it’s makes for a good one when people turn up.”

Musically they sound like a mix between The Herd and The Cat Empire, and they have a summery feel that is every inch Australian despite the obvious Dub-Reggae sound. Their live show has a jaunty swagger to it, a carefree swing and involving groove that rolls you around in their warm arms until you drift off into a trance only interrupted by silence.

They will be pulling up stakes to head out on tour in the coming months, as they intend to spread the word of the punch of rum. “We’re about to go on tour in September, it’s our expansion,” Tucker sheepishly explains before Ev buts in. “We’ve actually all been at work today, and we’re going home to pack tonight and we’re going to the snow, yeah!” he cheers. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like down there but it’s going to  be cold and it’s going to be fun,” he adds, contradicting himself.

Named after the Elmore Leonard book, Rum Punch which became the basis for Tarantino’s blackxploitation masterpiece Jackie Brown, Rumpunch are loaded with as much soul and flavour as Pam Grier, and as much power as Samuel L. Jackson’s voice.  “None of us have read it, except our drummer, who is absent. But everybody’s seen Jackie Brown, so it’s ok.”

With the band moving from strength to strength at the moment, Rumpunch have escaped from the world of pub bands. While they still may play pubs, they are now widely acknowledged as one of Sydney’s finest musical exports. “The key is to just be really persistent and patient with your music and do everything with fun intended because if you have fun and you’re passionate about it it’ll be really positive,” says Tucker, but not to be left out, Ev adds “Yeah, but don’t be too indulgent like him.”

Be sure to get down to the Macquarie hotel tonight (August 30) to check out their final show of their residency.

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