A CHAT WITH: ROAM
aaamusic | On 15, Oct 2014
ROAM – a five-piece from Eastbourne – are here to reignite the UK pop punk scene and are quickly winning over fans from all corners of the country with their passionate live performances and honest, no bullshit approach to songwriting. Just before the band hit the stage at a recent gig in Manchester, Alex Adam (vocals and guitar) and Matt Roskilly (bass) sat down with AAA’s Joe Sheridan to talk about their new EP Head Down, the pros and cons of social media, and the what the future holds for ROAM…
AAAmusic: Let’s talk about your new EP. What were you consciously thinking when writing it, and what did you want to try and capture?
Alex Adam (vocals/guitar): I think it was kind of building on what we had already done on Head Down and expanding the sound to have more of our own ideas and bringing influences together to form something that was a bit different from… not generic pop punk, but adding some different influences was a big thing for us; we wanted to make it as interesting as possible really.
Matt Roskilly (bass): We wanted to make it more technical in some respects too, compared to our older stuff, because a lot of it very simple.
AAAmusic: Can you say what bands have influenced you, individually and in relation to the band?
Alex: I guess, with regards to the new record that we have just recorded, we tried to draw a lot more from kinds of things that had influenced earlier us a band, as opposed to modern pop punk bands; more like Sum 41 and going back to as well that era of Green Day too. We would listen to those bands and pick up on even things like structures of the songs.
Matt: Definitely going back to what originally got us into pop punk and hoping, in a way, that translates onto the record.
AAAmusic: Do you feel as though you have done that justice?
Alex: I think so – like we haven’t had the final mixes back, but we’ve had a few mixes back and they are sounding a lot bigger than our previous EP, I think – in terms of production, but also, with how we wrote the songs, there’s a lot more thought into every single part as opposed to just the whole. It was really more about thinking about everything that would go into the song, which was made easier by having more time to do pre-production on this EP, so we played the songs and we’d listen back, and anything we didn’t like we changed out. This was something we never had time to do before and it was really good to be able to do that.
Matt: I am definitely excited to see the response and see if people like what they hear.
AAAmusic: Interestingly, when listening to your latest EP, I could hear the strong British accent resonating through, which to your credit I did really like, albeit it was a bit of a surprise. Sometimes having that American tinge, which you can get use to, can taint the music.
Alex: Yeah, I think that was something that we wanted to stay away from… and I don’t think that there is anything wrong with it; also, a lot of the time, it’s actually easier to sing certain notes in an American accent. But, we wanted to differentiate ourselves in a way and kind of just be honest with what we are doing; trying actually to represent who we are, with our English accents. I think, sometimes, when bands sing in strong British accents it can sound…not bad, but it can really stick out and be overpowering. So, what we tried to do was find a way that we could make it work.
AAAmusic: Being that there are so many access routes to listen to music, and that there is just so much more music to listen to because of that, do you think that as musicians it changes how you promote yourselves? And, if so, is it a bigger challenge because of that?
Alex: I think it gives a lot more opportunity, at the same time though it does kind of over saturate the market; like, everyone can release a good sounding demo and just put it out and then you are left with thousands and thousands of the same sounding band. That can be a negative thing and it can be difficult – for example, if you were to post a song on a forum, there’s the likely chance that there has already been hundreds of people doing the same thing, and possibly no one will give it a chance. So, in a way, it’s a negative thing because everyone has quick access to do that, and in doing so can discredit the artists’ work. Alternatively, it can open up more opportunities with social media if you use them to their full advantage. Ultimately, there’s a positive and a negative to both sides.
AAAmusic: Are you guys big fans of social media?
Matt: Definitely, it really does help the music industry, because there are so many pathways you can take, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Bandcamp. There are just so many access routes to music, so people who don’t necessarily use Facebook can find it on other social media, so it’s important to cover all basis.
AAAmusic: When I was in a band, we found it difficult to find a middle ground to not oversaturate people’s newsfeeds on Facebook, but at the same time trying to engage with people.
Alex: Yeah, you definitely have to learn how to use it, for example, if you were to post on Facebook five times a day, it can lower your reach of people and not give you a good response, and in turn you are going to get downhearted because of it. It’s kind of like a vicious cycle – so you do have to learn how to use these sites.
Matt: There is a lot more to it than just posting.
Alex: Yeah, you have to learn what your fanbase likes and it’s a great platform to be able to interact with your fans, but equally you need to draw a line – for example, on Twitter you can post constantly everyday and no one would bat and eyelid, but it’s an interactive platform. But, on Facebook, if you post too much you lower your reach, so yeah, it’s about finding a happy medium.
AAAmusic: Do you think that the alternative music scene, or pop punk in general, is becoming more of a niche and gaining more traction in different circles?
Matt: Definitely – it’s not been and gone, but for a short while there was a lot less pop punk music going around and it’s come back in a good way, with a lot of good bands making a name for themselves.
Alex: I think with every kind of genre it goes in cycles and sometimes it will die down for a bit, and then you’ll have someone else who will come a long with a similar sound… it can be nostalgic because it reminds you of what you used to listen, but with a modern take. So, it becomes something new – you get into that and I think a lot of people now are starting to get back into [pop punk] because it’s kind of gone in a cycle, as some of the new fans didn’t grow up with the older bands, but might have grown up with bands like Simple Plan or Good Charlotte – there are newer bands who have a modern twist on that sound.
AAAmusic: What are your aspirations for the future of ROAM?
Matt: Touring is so much fun and it’s probably the best way you can get your music out there. So just pretty much tour as much as we can and get our music out there as much as humanly possible without exhausting ourselves.
Alex: I think right now the tick lists are different countries. So for example, America, Japan, and Australia are the big things we are looking forward to potentially doing next year. It’s crazy looking back that we did our first tour this year and now are able to get into America and Australia next year, which I think will be amazing – I think that’s what we are kind of aiming for right now. Obviously we are going to put out a full length as well next year, which is kind of daunting, but I was more daunted when we started writing this EP because of the fact that the next thing we had to write was an album, but now we have done the EP I feel quite confident.
Matt: At the end of the day, it’s a passion for us and if we can make it our job, or we can make it so we are touring as much as humanly possible, that would be what we want really.