Sliding smoothly into the charts, the 80s boyband look accompanied with a soul pop attitude in their music and image may not have been the intention for Toronto based, ROMES. Yet, they are welcoming the comparison to Duran Duran by The Guardian, even if they do not cite the icons as an original influence.
In the first half of last year, the four-piece “holed” themselves in a basement to write material for their current EP “Believe”, Which they worked on with producer Tony Hoffer (Beck, M83, Phoenix) in his studio. “Once we had about forty songs, we reached out to some producers and knew pretty quickly that Tony was the right man for this record.” says drummer Nicholas Amadeus, “we spent a good chunk of last summer in his studio in LA, recording our Believe EP and our debut full length record, which we’ll be releasing early 2017.”
Speaking of recording, how has that process been going? “The whole recording process was a really natural one. We never dwelled too hard on ideas, but rather went with the mentality that if parts weren’t clicking, they probably weren’t meant to be kept. On to the next idea! Just talking about this now brings back some serious nostalgia.” continues Nicholas.
“I always gravitated towards music that’s honest and soulful. The likes of Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Lauryn Hill have always been huge influences on me.” says vocalist Jacob Alexander. “However, I have recently been getting back into some of the stuff my parents used to play me like The Cure, Tom Petty, Paul Simon etc…”
“Most recently, I just discovered Weval, a production duo from Holland. Their debut record has been on repeat over the past month.” adds Nicholas before guitarist James Tebbitt concludes; “Hip-Hop. Anderson Paak., Goldlink and Vince Staples are some artists I have listened to recently. Also, Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ is a masterpiece and is undoubtedly album of the year in my eyes!”
Armed with an eclectic mix of acts, where did the four piece of half Canadian and other half Irish originate from? “Myself and Jacob are Canadian born brothers” Nicholas tells me, “we moved over to Ireland in the late 90’s with our family. We met Keyes and Tebbitt in secondary school in Bray and all connected over our love of music from day one. We have been best friends ever since.”
While the connection was made here in Ireland, the band felt the Canadian scene represented a similar style to theirs. Yet, they are well aware of the breakthroughs made by some acts here too. “From our early childhoods, we always followed our hearts, doing what we love to do most. When the opportunity arose to pursue our love for making music in Toronto as a band, we were all in. As James Joyce once said “Real adventures, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.” says James: “In Toronto, we have had the pleasure of playing many gigs with similar like-minded bands. There’s something for every type of artist, musician and band to thrive here. As for Ireland, Otherkin are absolutely smashing the scene at the moment.”
“Yeah, there’s definitely never a shortage of new and exciting acts to check out on any given night of the week here.” adds Nicholas.
The positive reaction to ROMES track ‘Believe’ has happened both at home and abroad. “The support has been amazing.” says Andrew, “Our single “Believe” was on the radio charts and Spotify Viral Top-50 there and picked up by RTE on a couple of occasions. It’s a pretty surreal feeling getting a text from friends and family back there telling me they just heard our song on the radio.”