For a band that seem quite new, The Rooves already have an impressive collection of quality tracks, and a story behind their name that most artists could only dream of. I had a chat with the easy-going group before their London gig, to find out more about their philosophy towards the band and the intriguing influences on their lyrics.
How did you come together and how did the name come about?
“Me and Brendon started the band. Well, it wasn’t a band at first, and then we added Dan who just came to practice, and then Ross joined later and we made a song. The first one was Games Without the Fun. And then Charlie came to the next practice after Brendan met her at a party.”
“Yeah, we went to this party – we’d all gone to school together for the whole 6, 7 years, but I’d never spoken to these guys, really. Brendan and I went to one of our friend’s house parties, and there was a guitar there. Me and one of my close friends at the time, we were just jamming to – we were playing Toxic by Britney Spears, actually, just as a joke! Brendan secretly kind of filmed it and sent it to their group chat. I’d never really sung in front of people before, hence why we’re kind of shy about stuff because all this is really new to us. He was just like, “Do you want to join the band?” and then me being as drunk as I was, was like “Yeah! Course I do!”. The next day I went to my best friend like, I think I accidentally joined a band last night.”
“At the time we had my mate in the band, who was quite atrocious really, so we kicked him out, got her in, sorted.”
“The name – another one of my mates who was in the band, he was in a club in Chesterfield and there was a DJ set from Jon McClure, and this person we know, his dad owns it. So they’re all in like the backstage bit, and they went out to smoke on the roof and then I think Jon McClure was the one who actually said the name. I think he was a bit drunk.They basically asked Jon what they should call the band, and they were on the roof so he was like ‘The Rooves’ and we all hated it …”
“Yeah, we didn’t think it was good but it was better than just saying ‘oh yeah we’ve not got a name yet’. And it’s got the story, so …”
How would you describe yourselves as a band, people and music?
“Probably quite reserved as people. As a band we’re just good friends really, having fun. That’s what the main thing is – just to have fun and not take it too seriously. We’ve been told by a few people in the industry to change our image or whatever but we’re not really bothered about that; we’re doing it for ourselves. Everything that comes with it is just a bonus.
“Our music is quite varied, we don’t really have a set genre that we’re trying to stick to, and our music tastes are all quite different as well. If you listen to some indie bands you just assume they all this into that kind of music but we’re all very different to that. I was brought up on Bowie and Pink Floyd and all that kind of thing.”
“I’m the same – yeah if it wasn’t for my dad I’d say I wouldn’t be here right now. We’re influenced by many different bands and it all just comes together.”
Your music seems very well produced for how new you seem; has creating the songs been a long process?
“Yeah, it’s been about two years. We were all at sixth form, and then we had our exams so we had a bunch of songs written but we hadn’t really recorded them; we were just playing them over and over again until we got them how we really liked, and then eventually we recorded them. Even now there are still things we don’t like and want to change.”
“I have to be in the right mood to write a song. I like writing songs on train and coach rides, there’s certain songs like ‘Blue, 1903’, that was – I’d just done a Spanish lesson on Pablo Picasso and we’d learnt about his best friend, Carlos Casagemas I think, and basically when he killed himself Pablo Picasso fell into a depression and he only painted with shades of blue. I don’t know why but that just stuck with me and then I wrote the song just around that whole thing. We recorded that just on my phone.”
I’m really enjoying your ‘girls girls girls’ playlist on Spotify; who made that and why?
“I just ripped off some of the band that are doing it, I thought it was a good idea. International women’s day, it was. Just for more publicity really, I thought it’d be good to interact with fans …”
“Not just for publicity. It’s like – I found that I really really like a lot of female artists, and I feel like they can be quite overlooked. And we heard from this – I’m not going to say any names – but we heard from this guy in Sheffield recently and he basically said that he wasn’t interested in listening to our band because we’ve got a female frontman. I think that just kind of set it off in a way.”
What are you most excited for about playing Y NOT?
“It’s obviously a bigger crowd so what, possibly 4000 people? Well, that’s what I’m hoping for anyway. It’s genuinely our biggest thing so far. Every so often Ross will just post in the group chat Y NOT in capitals. That’s our local festival well; we’re based in Chester. We’ve been every year since we finished our GCSE exams. We’re headlining The Leadmill as well on the 9th of August. We’ve played it a couple of times; we supported Oddity Road the first time we played there. It’s our hometown so we’re just going to get all our mates there and just have fun. I remember the first time we played it we all said, right let’s enjoy this cos it’s never going to happen again. It’s crazy. When you look at all the people that have played there previously like The Strokes, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Arctic Monkeys …”
Is there anyone you want to sound like or do you want to avoid comparisons?
“Definitely avoid comparisons, if possible. I think it’s nice that people think of other really good bands when they hear us but ultimately we don’t want to be copying someone or ripping someone off. We want to be as original as possible. There’s obviously a lot of indie bands that we can sound like – being original in the industry is quite hard, especially in Chesterfield and Sheffield. But when you create music and you sound exactly like a different band, I just think you’re never going to be able to reach that level, so in my eyes it’s a bit of a wasted opportunity.”
“Even us, we started off playing Arctic Monkeys covers every practice. In our first songs you can tell that we were heavily inspired by the Arctic Monkeys, and we still really like that music but we want to get away from The Strokes covers sort of band that we used to be originally.”
How big is your band going to be?
“there’s five of us.”
“Yeah hopefully we can get to 10 people. One person a year, I reckon.”
“No, I don’t think we really think about that, because like I said at the beginning, everything that has happened from when we left sixth form onwards has been such a bonus for us – we didn’t think anything would come out of this. It would be nice to think we could be a big band that people came to see. Probably the dream, isn’t it? Like tonight, we’re got a couple of people coming and this is like 150 miles away from where we’re actually from, and it’s just nice to know that some people actually listen to us. And like us, hopefully.”
It’s easy to spot arrogance in bands that are just emerging in the industry, and there isn’t the tiniest bit of it in The Rooves. They truly are just in it to have fun, and their gig goes on to prove that their likeable nature works well in collecting together a brilliant crowd. Their lyrics are spun from fascinating stories and they refuse to stick to the typical themes that other groups recycle and regurgitate. There’s still time to catch their headline show at The Leadmill, so get your tickets here if you haven’t already.