It’s impossible to listen to ROMES and not get swept away by a tidal wave of joy. In the middle of winter, ROMES is the sound of summer. The band’s charisma stems from their eclectic influences, friendship, and pure passion for making music. ROMES is addictive, electric, ear candy.
Brothers Jacob (vocals) and Nick (drums) grew up in Ireland where they met Andrew (bass) and James (guitar). They have been making music together since they were 10. Now the 4 live together in Toronto where they practice every day in their basement studio.
The band is flying high after recording their debut album Believe in LA with producer Tony Hoffer who’s worked with some of the greats like Beck, Phoenix, Fitz and the Tantrums, and M83.
ROMES kicked off their Canadian Tour in Vancouver last week. They play Montreal tomorrow night at Petit Campus. I chatted with Nick about working with Tony Hoffer and their creative process.
Why did you name the band ROMES? Well, The Beatles was already taken so unfortunately ROMES was the next best thing we could think of.
This makes me laugh.
How did growing up in Ireland inspire your music? It had a really big impact. We were influenced by the British Indie thing that was going on like Block Party and Ferdinand. That’s what first inspired us to start playing music together. We played a bunch of covers of music that was big over in the UK and Ireland, and just got really excited about it from that point on.
Who are your biggest influences? It’s kind of a smorgasbord of inspirations. I was heavily influenced by hip hop. I listen to a lot of Kendrick Lamar and Notorious B.I.G. There were a lot of 80’s influences on this record like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. It’s hard to pinpoint what our sound is and I think that’s a result of the 4 of us being influenced by so many different genres.
Name your favorite concert? It’s a tie between Daft Punk and Rage Against the Machine. Both of them are just incredible.
What’s your creative process? Jake will come up with the basic idea for the song. He’ll put a skeleton together for the music. If we think its worth pursuing, we’ll get together, and the 4 of us will start jamming it out. We add our layers to it and that’s when it really becomes a song. Once that happens, Jake will write lyrics.
Is writing music therapeutic? We’re fairly open with each other. We’ve known each other for so long that the 4 of us know each other’s deepest darkest secrets so we’ve let our emotions out, but I think ultimately the true emotions of what we’re going through at the time, especially with Jake, comes through our songs.
What do you want to give to the world? If people can connect with a song on some emotional level, whether it makes them feel on top of the world, or if it gets them through a tough time, then for us that’s solid.
What are you guys up to before and after the show? Before the show we’re normally just hanging out. A half an hour, or an hour, before the show we start getting in the zone, vocal warm ups, getting nice and relaxed. Afterwards you’ll usually find us at our merch table trying to meet as many people as possible. It’s always one of the most rewarding things about being in a band. Then we’ll have a few drinks and what not, and try to get to bed at a reasonable time, but that doesn’t always happen.
How much rehearsal goes into your music? A lot. If we’re not in the studio recording, then we’re rehearsing. Maybe it’s because we’re somewhat perfectionists, but we’re never really satisfied with our live show and we’re always thinking of ways we can make it better, for us and for the audience.
How do you guys stay so relaxed? We’re just 4 chill guys I guess. I think it’s just our personalities, the stress levels are pretty low.
What was it like working with Tony Hoffer? That was unbelievable. The guy is a wizard in the studio. We learned so much from him. How to get the right sound for each instrument. The entire experience of being out in LA recording our debut album with such a renowned producer; it was hard to take it all in at the time. How fast everything was going, and how exciting it was. When we look back, it was a really special couple of months. We keep in touch with him now. He’s a great guy.
Did you study music? We are all self-taught. We started early playing cover songs together, and then trying to write our own music at 10, 11 years old, so its been a learning experience. I don’t even think any of us could read music, we do it all off feel.
What makes Montreal audiences so amazing? Montreal is one of our favorite cities in the world. They don’t have the mentality that some bigger cities do; where they are scared to show their true emotions. Montreal crowds go nuts, and they show you they are enjoying the music.
I can’t wait to see them live! I have a good feeling about these guys. I’ll be hanging with the band tomorrow before the show, so stay tuned on my Instagram videos. xx
To buy tickets and get their music, visit their website here. Common Deer opens at 8PM and ROMES is on at 10PM at Petit Campus tonight Thursday Feb 15th!
Follow ROMES on Instagram here.