In the big wide world of the internet, finding fresh new talent can be tough. That’s why we are bringing it straight to your screen.
Having raw talent, individuality and something to say is no easy task these days, but that is exactly what Roar is doing. With a sound like no other, and lyrics that all tell a story, it is hard not to get lost in this sound.
The stunning Pathétique aesthétique came out earlier this year, and after finishing a tour with AJJ it’s been a busy year for Roar. So, obviously we had some burning questions to ask.
Here is how it went:
Your sound is incredibly unique, it stands apart from a lot of new artists, was it your aim to go for a completely different sound or is it just what feels natural?
I definitely didn’t set out with the intention of sounding unique or original. I feel like the music is still fairly derivative.
Regardless of how I feel, it’s nice to hear that it’s not coming across that way. So, thank you. Some of that may be due to the constant switching of styles within a song. A song (usually parts of a song) generally makes its own demands as to what intuitively makes sense for a “style” or production choice.
Sometimes I’ll be forced to experiment if the intuited sound turned out to be awful. That’s fun, because then I have no idea how it’ll sound, and the surprise can bring me joy. Ultimately, I’m trying to make songs that I would want to hear.
To more directly answer the question, it’s just what feels natural.
Your music, especially in tracks like Pavane for a Dead Prince (a personal favourite!) can sound cinematic and almost theatrical at times. Do you get inspiration from any of these sources, and where else do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t get too much inspiration from cinema as far as a score or the sound of a song in a film.
For a while classical music was really doing it for me. I don’t have the attention span to stick with much of it for long, though. I’d find these little sections, however, where the melody was so moving, it sounded like the composer’s soul was climbing out of the speakers and grabbing me (see Tchaikovsky’s “None But The Lonely Heart”).
Melody/chord changes are the most powerful elements of music IMHO. It’s tough to list influences as far as specific artists. If there’s a “good” melody, I’m in. It’s great that way though, cause I’ve felt just as enthused by the Supremes, as I have by Pavement or Mariah Carey, or U.S. Maple. I love certain moments in songs more than any one particular artist’s overall output.
On your album Impossible Animals you had quite a few collaborations, was it hard to find musicians to match your sound, or did you already have them in mind?
Impossible Animals suffers from some issues with labelling on Spotify. I tried to label all the musicians who played on each song. They weren’t really collaborative songs, but I asked friends to perform pre-arranged parts. I’m really fortunate to be friends with some amazing musicians.
On that note, is there anyone you would really like to collaborate with?
I would really like to collaborate with my friend Thomas Hughes. He was in The Spinto Band, The Music Tapes, and has a current project called Carol Cleveland Sings. He is one of my favourite musicians ever. He’s played instruments on one of my records, but we’ve never really collaborated.
The new album, Pathétique aesthétique, has a slightly more futuristic sound to it. Was this intentional or just how a sign of the times changing?
The new Roar record wasn’t intended to move in a particular direction with regard to sound. It’s basically more of the parts of the songs dictating their own direction by intuition, trial, and error. I’m sure my tastes are constantly changing and so the intuition part of that formula is subsequently evolving or devolving.
Roar recently toured with AJJ the Band, how was that? How do the crowds react to your sound live?
Roar has toured with AJJ, and that’s been a wonderful experience. I owe a great deal of Roar’s exposure to them.
Their fans have been incredibly receptive and kind to Roar. Playing drums in AJJ, and having been involved, to some degree or another, with them for over a decade, has given me experiences I will be eternally grateful for. They are some of my best friends, and each of the members has had a huge impact on my musical tastes.
Which is your favourite track to play live, and why?
My favourite song to play live is whatever song I make the least mistakes in. That changes on a regular basis.
Is there anywhere, whether that is festivals/cities/venues that you would really like to play?
I would love to play in Japan some day!
Songs like Wondering Why seem to comment on how easy it is to build problems out of small things in the digital age, was this a message you were trying to convey, or if not, what messages do you try to work into your music?
I don’t often start a song with a particular message in mind. I usually start with a lyric or two and write around those until something begins to take shape. Then I carve away the useless bits.
For this most recent record I bounced a lot of stuff off of friends of mine who are great writers. That song is pretty specific though. I went through my second divorce around then and a good deal of lyrics were born out of that. I keep coming back to certain themes though. Trying to reconcile how you feel with what you think is a big one for me. This album contains a lot of specific situations for me, but I’ve tried to keep the main ideas general.
Obviously we don’t all go through the same experiences, but we basically all feel similar things at different times.
Your relationship with your listeners is incredibly open and honest, especially through Tumblr, how do you think this influences your music?
As far as the connection to Roar’s listeners goes, I’m so grateful for them. Because there aren’t a ton of them, it isn’t too difficult to respond to whatever messages come my way. Dialogue with them has given me the indispensable feeling of human connection. Their patronage helps give my son and I food for our tummies and a room in which to sleep. I literally give thanks almost every night for that. I’m honestly not sure how this influences the music.
What would you like to achieve in 2019?
2019 goals: tour, make another record, remain grateful and help others whenever possible
These goals obviously mean there is a lot left for Roar to give musically, and we are just as excited to see these targets hit. If the last record is anything to go by, the next one is going to be incredible.
Featured Image Credit – Roar Tumblr Page
Listen to Pathétique aesthétique below.