Rolo Tomassi- Interview
Chances are, you have heard of Rolo Tomassi by now. Simultaneously adored by much of the Indie crowd, as well as the hardcore scene from which they draw influence. This genre-hopping nature is reflected in their music, with a plethora of styles incorporated, so much so that they elude classification in terms of genre and sound. Having developed an adrenaline soaked, frantic live show, playingÂ alongside bands from Melt-Banana to Gallows,Â and releasing an excellent debut EP toward... (continued)
Chances are, you have heard of Rolo Tomassi by now. Simultaneously adored by much of the Indie crowd, as well as the hardcore scene from which they draw influence. This genre-hopping nature is reflected in their music, with a plethora of styles incorporated, so much so that they elude classification in terms of genre and sound. Having developed an adrenaline soaked, frantic live show, playingÂ alongside bands from Melt-Banana to Gallows,Â and releasing an excellent debut EP towards the end of 2006, as well as a 7", both on Holy Roar, expectations are high for this young group from Sheffield. The band release their debut album âHysterics' in just over a month from now, so the405 sat down with Edward Dutton (drums), Joe Nicholson (Guitar) and Joseph Thorpe (Bass) to hear their opinions of the new material, as well as other issues that affect the band. You probably get sick of constant references or questions about your age, but have you found it has been more of a hindrance beyond that? JT -When we were actually the age that people seem to think we are, it was. When promoters found out that we were under 18, they didn't really want us to play. Three of us are twenty this year, two within, like, a month. ED- Especially now Eva is 18 as well, its all fine, no problems. You seem to be beyond simple classification in terms of genre or sound, so what are the main influences that you draw from? JN- We draw from a wide area of influences, a lot of hardcore bands, Converge, The Red Chord, but also moving back in time, with 70's prog, like Yes and King Crimson, and then I'm into jazz, such as John Coltrane, and classical music as well, like Stravinsky, so all sorts really.Speaking about the album tracks, how did you go about creating them, and incorporating the influences you just mentioned? ED- Joe Nicholson is pretty much the creative mastermind... JN- I sit at home on my computer with my Guitar *laughs* JT- He's really cool! ED- Wasn't a lot of it stuff you had done on the computer when you were about 15, that you had found? JN- Yeah some of it, I've got a huge catalogue of a wide range of stuff at home and we just get through it as we go along, depending on how we feel, and what i've been listening to. JT- He is quite prolific, and the basis of the songs he presents to us, then we work it out individually and instrumentally, and chop and change parts, generally trying to create and interesting sort of sound. You've played with all kids of different types of band, from stuff like The Fall of Troy, Melt Banana, to more hardcore bands like Gallows and the upcoming tour with Throats, as well as bands like Meet Me in St. Louis and I Was A Cub Scout, but with which kind of band and crowd do you feel more comfortable amongst, and who is the best band you have played with? JT- We definitely like playing with bands that don't sound exactly like us, but have similar aspects to the music maybe, as in song structure and stuff. Obviously we can appreciate straightforward songs too. JN- Youthmovies were really cool to tour with, as well as Meet Me in St. Louis; they were probably the two favourites so far. They haven't got a sound that is particularly like ours but we can really appreciate it. You've got the more hardcore aspects, but also the Indie influence with bands like MMISL. JN- Yeah. Both publications such as the NME and the hardcore scene in general seems to be a fan of what you are doing, but have you experienced negativity though as a result of crossing these borders? All- Yeah ED- Surprisingly when we toured with I Was a Cub Scout, we got less criticism in a month, than we did with Gallows and just one show. *laughs* Why do you think that was? ED- I think it took more people by surprise. JT- Yeah and the IWACS fans didn't really know how to react to it, but the Gallows fans were more vocal in their criticism. âWhat the hell is this, I don't like it'. [caption id="attachment_1409" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Rolo Live"][/caption] Is it a conscious decision to appeal to and incorporate elements of these different genres and scenes or is it just case of just having something everyone can enjoy? For example my friend who came to see you play with me recently is more accustomed to electro stuff, but ended up buying a 7". JN- Mainly we just want to appeal to ourselves. JT- Yeah, it just sort of happened really, we like that much different music, and what we listen to affects the music we play. ED- Its just how we want to sound really, and people liking is just a huge, secondary bonus. Â You chose not to include songs from your debut EP on the album, what are the reasons behind this? JN- We just felt it would be a bit of a cop-out to just re-record songs, and we want to play a new live set. We've been playing the EP songs for quite a long time now, and we want to move on as a band from that. ED- Another key point I think is, that we wanted to write an album as apposed to a collection of songs. So if we were to put songs from the past on we would have to make the other songs work around that in order to fit. And we have changed since then, and we've developed a bit more. How have these developments affected the new songs, do they differ much from the ones we have heard already? ED- There are bits that are definitely more of the same, but we have toyed around a bit. JN- I suppose we sound a bit different in a way, and things have definitely been written in a different way to before. JT- I think it's like we have gone deeper into all the aspects that we had before, so that's partially why the songs are also longer on the album. We've had more to go at I think. So what are you hopes for the album itself, and the band beyond this? JN- To get more people to listen to us hopefully. ED- Money?! *laughs* JN- Not money! JT- Just to carry on what we are doing really, everything is going incredibly well for us, and we are very lucky to be where we are, and just to be in a position where people want to hear what we are doing and we have got the option to make more music. ED- Also I think to play to more people, and play to people with different music tastes, like how we do now, going from playing with bands like IWACS and then hardcore stuff like HORSE the band as well, just to vary it and spread our music further. JN- There is a lot of bands we would like to play with. Speaking of which, if you could play with any band you like, tomorrow, who would you like it to be? JN- There's too many! ED- The Mars Volta All- Yeah! JT- We can all agree on that one, but I think I would hate that, I would be worried they would be looking down their noses at us! ED- Bon Jovi! *laughs* JT- Metallica! Slipknot! ED- Slipknot would be cool! *laughs* JN- Dillinger Escape Plan! JT- Yeah! Yeah! Do you feel the hype, which has been overwhelmingly positive has helped the band, or has it put pressure on you? JN- Yeah there's a little bit of pressure, but now we've actually finished the album, we can't change it so we just have to wait and see... ED- That's not to say we aren't really happy with it. JN- No, I am just really looking forward to seeing what people have to say about it. What was the thinking/motivation behind singing with Hassle, after releasing your EP etc. with Holy Roar? JN- (Joking) We just fell out with Alex! (Holy Roar/ RT's Manager)... we just believe we could take this further with Hassle. I think Holy Roar is an amazing project, but it's still quite small, and I suppose Hassle is a level above that. We want the record to go out to as many people, and as far and wide as possible. I feel we can do that with Hassle. What have been the best experiences you have had as a band, or live and what have been the worst ones? JT- In general, it's always nice to play somewhere, and see that the crowd and everybody are really enjoying it. Seeing that on stage, or if people come up to you afterwards, that's really uplifting. ED- What I really enjoy, is when you are playing something, and someone in the audience is not expecting it, and they just end up laughing at you, but in a good way, that's really cool. Â How do you think having a female lead singer can affect people's perception of the band? I've noticed that often people mention it, when it's just not necessary, or in intending to be complimentary, but making issue of it, almost as if you have overcome a disadvantage, when it's really not the case? JN- It's not a disadvantage to the band at all, she's a really good screamer, far better than a lot of male screamers, and she's got a really good range as well. It's an advantage really, because people look at us and think, âI might listen to them' It sets you apart? JN- Yeah, it gives us a bit of a different image. How do you respond to people if they do seem to hold sexist views? JT- Sexist views have no place in music really; you just shouldn't say things like that. But have you noticed that there are people who do say stuff like that? JN- Oh yeah, there's crude comments and stuff that people make, and it's really not fair. JT- Anyone that does it just looks like a prick anyway! What bands do you think people should be listening to at the moment, old or new? JN- I'm really listening to The Red Chord a lot at the moment. JT- Drive Like Jehu are always a good starting point. JN- Throats and Mirror! Mirror! Â Â How would you describe you album to someone who is new to the band? JT- Just listen to it with open ears and an open mind. JN- You can't really judge it by any section alone I don't think, it might be difficult at first to sort of, âget it' too. JT- I think in a way it is a bit more accessible, I'm not saying it's not weird... ED- Possibly structurally it is yeah. JT- We have a few more repeated parts. (Gets look of disapproval from JN) Not in a bad way! JN- Well we have a couple! Â Hysterics is released on 22nd September. Rolo Tomassi are on tour throughout September and October, see www.myspace.com/rolotomassi for more details.