Rubix is the newest drum retailer to open in London. It’s a drum store with a difference, whose proprietors are also trying to make a difference.
The shop is only part of what the Rubix team does to serve the drumming community. As demanding a time as it is now for drum retailers and manufacturers, Rubix thrives by not trying to compete with major brands and established retailers. Rubix is a unique, boutique one-stop shop that brings drummers and drum services together under one roof to meet the needs of the community, one drummer at a time.
MD spoke with Bence Bolygo, who, along with his partner Peter Ward, has built Rubix over the past five years in the bustling Park Royal area of West London.
Rubix is much more than a drum store. We aim to position ourselves at the core of London’s drumming ecosystem. We’re here for everyone—local professionals, touring drummers, famous artists, and musicians at all stages of their hobbies and careers. We have a lounge where drummers can hang out. We have a workshop where we repair drums, with a four-hour emergency turnaround service for people passing through London on tour. We provide a service to help international drummers obtain U.K. work visas. We store drummers’ kits and display them for customers. Right now we have gorgeous touring kits for Brian Blade, Derrick McKenzie, Harvey Mason, Pete Ray Biggin, and more.
Our ethos means we don’t sell all the brands or accessories you might expect to see in a typical drum store. However, we own and store many kits from all the big manufacturers, so our customers can try them out and record with them.
Most instruments we sell are made by craftspeople we know well and trust. We like to build close relationships between the maker and the buyer. Smaller companies struggle to compete in the global marketplace, so by supporting niche manufacturers, we can support a more diverse marketplace and keep the small, bespoke manufacturers solvent.
One company Rubix works with is Snareweight, a small U.S. firm producing an amazing product. We also provide U.K. distribution and European artist relations and support for legendary Canopus drums. We stock beautiful drums by ASBA, Angel, FG, British Drum Company, INDe, Rogers, and more. By providing U.K. and European distribution, we increase market awareness, which benefits the brand and, most importantly, more end users. We’re helping to build a more sustainable economy for all.
At Rubix we allow you to take a drum home for trial purposes without paying for it. If it’s not the right drum for you, you can bring it back and choose a different one. We want to nurture a mutually respectful musical community, and not just sell people stuff because they liked the way it looked in the shop window.
We’re obsessed with the heritage of drumming and drums. That’s why we have Slingerland Radio Kings, Rogers kits, and a super-cool pink Hollywood Meazzi kit played by Max Roach, among many others. Bridging the past and the present is the concept that underpins our Rubix house brand of drums, Vintage Soul. Every Vintage Soul drum starts with a classic vintage shell, which we remodel for today’s discerning drummer. In our workshop we refine the bearing edges, select hoops and lugs for a custom look and sound, and finish the shells with meticulous care and attention so that each drum is a unique blend of past and present, with that key musical ingredient: soul. We make our own cymbals, too. And because we care about our customers first and foremost, we are thrilled to sell them the highest-quality metals at surprisingly reasonable prices. We like giving drummers what they want—beautiful instruments from people they know they can rely on.
“When you visit a drum store,” says Bence Bolygo, “go there to explore and to learn. We aim to build community at Rubix. All drummers feel welcome here. Come to Rubix to learn about what drums and cymbals you like. Come here to record a drum track. Come here to take lessons or to browse our huge collection of vintage and contemporary drumkits. Come and learn about how design impacts the sound of a drum. Come buy a truly unique Vintage Soul snare drum. Let us know how we can help you, and we will.”
As a professional drummer and engineer, I was frustrated by the shortcomings of generic studios. Two recurring problems were acoustics and setup time. So Rubix had a leading acoustician design a live room exclusively for recording drums. We have a vast array of the highest-quality microphones—some custom—and use the latest Focusrite RedNet technology.
We can also mix your recording using the latest PMC monitors. To ensure the best use of session time, I discuss with drummers their exact requirements for gear and sound before they arrive, and set up the most suitable kit for them. Zero time wasted, maximum value for money.
We work with several big music colleges, helping them create more diverse programming with world-famous drummers. We help them to provide master classes on all aspects of drumming and the music industry. We work with important industry hubs such as Ronnie Scott’s and Tileyard studios. This benefits the professionals of the future by improving education opportunities for them, and it provides good paying work for musicians.
It’s important for us to feel good about what we do, so that drummers and other service providers in our community feel good about what they are doing, too. We care about treating people well, and this attitude extends from our customers to the suppliers and manufacturers with whom we work. Is the person making your drums being fairly compensated? Are the materials they’re using ethically sourced? How can we support expert craftsmen and craftswomen across all sectors of the drum industry? If we don’t do our bit to take care of all members of the drumming community, then that community will cease to exist. We believe we can all thrive if we lift one another up.