Interview: The Burning Of Rome
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 11:10:26
The Burning of Rome Videos
The Burning of Rome redefine the word "unpredictable" with their latest offering, Year of the Ox. It's a wild, wonderful mindfuck of a record that never repeats a motif or mood. Rather, it brings together numerous sonic and emotional strands to bond into one inimitable musical chaos theory. It'll have you thinking as you beg for more…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Adam Traub of The Burning Of Rome goes deep inside Year of the Ox.
What's your take on Year of the Ox as a whole?
When we went into the studio, my greatest concern was that the songs would come across being a hodgepodge. I didn't want it to be a Greatest Hits sort of thing. I wanted it to sound like an actual album with continuity. It was trying to find that common thread of what it would be that would tie those songs together. From song to song, it bounces around so much. That was something I spoke to the producer Paul Leary about at great length before we even got into the studio. He sort of formulated a plan to make it be the vocals that ties these tunes together as the thread. There are a lot of other subtle things that throughout keeps the listener feeling like, "Oh yeah, this is the same band I heard in the last song". All of those things hold it together and make it a complete package. Vocals were the biggest thing we were looking at to be that common thread and weave these songs together. The songs are so eclectic it almost sounds like you're in a room throwing a rubber ball at the wall, and it's bouncing all over the place.
Is there a lyrical theme at all?
When I was talking to Paul about all this, he was like, "It's your soul, man. It's coming from you no matter where it goes." The lyrics are just as eclectic as the style of sound. They go from personal experiences to comments on society to the basic human condition to a lucid trip of what's in outer space. It's equally as eclectic lyrically as it is instrumentally, but it's still me. That's the common thread. These are still ideas that came from my head. It's still a cohesive output at the end of it. It still has a soul to it. You can listen to the whole record and get the gist of what this band is and who I am individually. That was the biggest challenge in making the record that wouldn't be jarring. It can be manic when you take someone on this journey in forty-five minutes. I think we pulled it off though.
What's the story behind "Terrible Tales From Tocqueville"?
As a background, Tocqueville was a political philosopher from the 1800s who wrote a book that was a commentary on American society. It's really interesting. I wrote that song right around the time of Sandy Hook. There was also the movie theater shooting in Colorado. I was listening to NPR, and they were having a debate about these shootings happening in first world countries where citizens were killing citizens for no apparent reason. They were debating about whether or not it's in our DNA. These countries were founded on bloodshed and blatant warfare. Is it something inherent in our nature to kill? We've reached a stage where the citizens of our country don't have to do it anymore. We still do it overseas, but it doesn't happen here. The question is, does this inherent urge to kill exist making us do these things? That's why the chorus is, "That's exactly how the west was won!" That was the commentary it. It's in the lyrics. The song's about that. I thought Tocqueville put it quite poetically in his writings when he was predicting what would become of this country back in the 1800s. If you look at it, it's a bit frightening. It's almost with Nostradamus-like prediction that he was right about the state our country is currently in.
What albums shaped you?
I wanted the record to be a journey. I wanted it to be something that would take people into a different plain and bring the listener into a different headspace. So many records did that for me. The album I use mostly for a template of this is Todd Rundgren's The Wizard of True Star. There are a bunch of others that do that. Brian Eno did it with Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy. If you listen to one of these albums, it sets you on a different world and within a different landscape. You felt like you just stepped out of a spaceship and on to a new planet.
The Buring of Rome Tour
Oct 09 Satellite Los Angeles, CA
Oct 17 Witch Room Sacramento, CA
Oct 18 Pancakes & Booze Festival Lot 163 Los Angeles, CA
Oct 20 Flycatcher Tucson, AZ
Oct 21 JR's Sierra Vista, AZ
Oct 22 Low Brow El Paso, TX
Oct 23 House of Rock Corpus Christi, TX
Oct 24 The Continental Club Houston, TX
Oct 25 The Grotto Fort Worth, TX
Oct 26 The Underground Santa Fe, NM
Oct 27 Pub Rock Phoenix, AZ Oct 28 Copper Door Santa Ana, CA
Oct 30 The Prospector Long Beach, CA
Oct 31 Casbah Halloween Show San Diego, CA
Most dates with Ape Machine. Visit TheBurningOfRome.com for tickets and more info.
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