Interview: Rolo Tomassi
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:27:17
Rolo Tomassi Videos
UK experimental metal five piece on threading together their new album Grievances and so much more.
Rolo Tomassi take heavy music to a new place altogether with their fifth full-length album, Grievances, out July 7 through Ipecac Records. The Sheffield UK fivesome—Eve Spence [lead vocals], James Spence [lead vocals, synths], Chris Cayford [guitar], Nathan Fairweather [bass], and Tom Pitts [drums]—pairs mind-bending percussion, off-time rhythms and guitars, sweeping keys, and a visceral vocal volley into a brain-bending amalgam that'll get you thinking. It's a fascinating cauldron of styles that makes Grievances a game-changer on par with The Dillinger Escape Plan's Miss Machine. This is another galaxy altogether for heavy. In this exclusive interview, James tells us about Grievances, finding influences in soundscapes and black metal, and so much more.
Where you cognizant of creating a cohesion for Grievances from start to finish?
It is definitely intended to be listened to as an entire piece. When we sequenced the album, we had the format of an LP in mind—like with the fade out that kind of ends the first half of the record. Then, it starts again with another instrumental piece. We wrote a handful of songs and then built the record around those songs. We knew they would work in any live setting, whether a basement show or large festival. Once we had those songs that would be staples of the album, we started crafting the other ones around them, which made for the cohesive nature of the tunes.
Do you feel like there were certain sonic touchstones or signatures that you did utilized in terms of recording to ensure that?
Going into it, more so than before, we didn't want to be limited. We had several songs that we already knew would work well live, so the rest of the record was something that we put together that we didn't necessarily have to worry about playing live at all. We went into it with the notion of it fully being a studio record, which made it so we really feel that we had no limitations whatsoever. We had strings on the album, piano performances, and all kinds of stuff that didn't limit us. It was more a movement of music versus a collection of songs that were put together.
The piano and strings helped thread things together too.
I wrote the majority of the album on piano, and I had never done that before. Previously, I had done that on synthesizers, and it is easier to hide behind the notes that a keyboard can play, whereas a piano is a lot more basic. The ideas have to be stronger versus the sound spectrum. When I listen to the early material, it is evident that this is the case for sure. I am a lot more pleased with this as it feels better developed and more well-rounded.
The dynamic and sweeping scope makes the heavier moments even more impactful.
Yeah, exactly! That's the contrast between the lighter and darker passages. We have tried doing similar things in the past, but nothing that has had the end result like this record.