From the Vaults: Louder with Roam (from December 2017)
With the release of their third album, 'Smile Wide', due in a few short weeks' time, pop punk quintet Roam's name is sure to be on everyone's lips for the foreseeable future! Therefore, now is as good a time as any to cast our eyes back to Louder's inaugural chat with the band, from just after the unveiling of 'Smile Wide's predecessor, the band's sophomore record 'Great Heights & Nosedives', at the tail end of 2017...
Looking for a band who, until recently, have flown relatively under the radar in the wave of talent coming from the pop punk revival, who blend catchy hooks with soaring melodies and lyrics laced with beautiful imagery, who can also put on one hell of a raucous live show? Then look no further than Roam, the pop punk quintet from Eastbourne who have just finished a headline Europe and UK run promoting their new record ‘Great Heights and Nosedives’. To help you get to know them a little better, we caught up with drummer Miles Gill and guitarist Sam Veness before their sold out show at Manchester’s Deaf Institute to discuss making their sophomore record; touring the world with pop punk legends New Found Glory; and to get their input in the most important debate of modern times- the morality of putting pineapple on pizza…
So, as fans we’ve been loving the new record- how has the reaction to ‘Great Heights and Nose Dives’ been for you guys so far?
Sam: It’s been really good for us so far, we’re really happy with how people have received it! There’s not been too many bad things said I think, which is nice!
Miles: I don’t think we could have expected it to have gone any better really! Our fans from the [debut album] Backbone era really enjoyed it because I feel like we’ve stepped it up a bit, but we’ve also attracted quite a few people that had lost a bit of interest in us or maybe hadn’t even heard of us before, and we’ve got them on board as well!
What is the writing process like when you go to write a new song- is it a collaborative effort that is reworked and redrafted or does it all come together quite rapidly?
Sam: This time around it was more of a collaborative effort: it used to be Alex [Costello, the band’s frontman] and Alex [Adam, guitarist and backup vocalist] who would write stuff as acoustics and then they’d come to us with their ideas and we’d work on it, but this time around it was much more of a group effort.
Miles: And we demo’d stuff this time as well, so we actually had scratch recordings of all the songs before we went into the studio, and I think that helps you to take a step back from it and listen to what’s going on within the track and think about how much impact it will have when you get it down on record, so that definitely helped as well this time around.
The album is full of beautiful images woven in to the lyrics- do you have a favourite lyric and if so which is it and why?
Miles: I quite like [the final track on ‘Great Heights and Nosedives] ‘Home’, because we were away for a long time when we were recording the album, we were away for about 10 weeks in America, and I just remember when we got the first mixes back, I remember being in my car, in my hometown for the first time in ages and listening to that and it just seemed perfect.
Now that the album is out there and being received by the fans, does it change how you view the record now it ‘belongs to the fans’? Do you even feel that your music belongs to the fans when it is released, or do you still feel like you retain some autonomy over it?
Sam: That’s interesting! I’m not sure I’d say it ‘belongs to the fans’, but I think over time your perception of the songs definitely changes. While making it we were very wrapped up in it and when we were getting the first mixes back we were listening to the songs constantly, so it was almost nice not to listen to the album for a while and then come back to it and play the songs live. We listened to it with a fresh set of ears and when you do that you definitely pick out more stuff that you hadn’t previously.
Some people have seen this album as a return to the old days of Roam following on from ‘Backbone’- is that how you perceive this album or is this record more about growth for you? Is there a mixture of both?
Sam: I think there’s been more of a growth personally, I don’t really feel like we’re going back over old ground- that certainly wasn’t the intention, that’s for sure. For me personally it’s definitely been more about growth
Miles: I think it’s a case of us finding our sound a lot more, but connected back to what I was saying earlier, the people who were fans of all the old EPs, but then the darker stuff on ‘Backbone’ didn’t quite resonate with them, I think lots of them have perhaps regained a bit of interest. But I wouldn’t say it was a conscious effort to write stuff that sounded like the old stuff.
So after touring the new album in Europe, you’re finally back in the UK- is it good to be back on home turf?
Miles: It is nice, yeah- it’s the little things that you miss like knowing what shops are going to sell what and just little things like that, just being at home is really nice!
Sam: And just seeing our mates in different places as well and staying with a bunch of different people who we always hang out with whenever we’re near them. And as well, these shows have been the best attended of the whole Europe and UK tour- the London show was sold out and tonight is sold out as well! It’s been nice to round the whole tour off on this, it was better to come home, especially this close to Christmas- we’re on the final home stretch and all the shows have been sick!
You guys have also just recently come off the tour with New Found Glory- how did you find that experience?
Sam: Oh, we loved it! We did the UK and America with them and it was such a good time- the band are super nice and the fans are really accepting! A lot of the time on those tours people only want to watch the headlining act, which I think is especially true for legendary bands like them where people aren’t too fussed about the supports, but their fans are really welcoming so that was really cool.
Miles: Especially in America, they really seemed to soak it up- we met loads of people after every show and I feel like we did gain new fans on that tour which is the whole point of doing it. Like Sam said, New Found Glory are all super nice- obviously this is their 20-year anniversary tour, so they recognise that they’ve been through everything we’re doing at the moment, so they were all super nice to us and always hung out and chatted to us. And they killed it live every night, playing for an hour and 40 minutes every single night relentlessly, which is just really inspiring! One of my favourite ever tours was the American leg of that tour!
On that New Found Glory tour you were playing huge venues each night, and now you’re playing smaller venues as headliners- do you prefer one over the other and why?
Sam: I don’t prefer one over the other really- it sounds like a bit of a cop-out, but I really do enjoy them equally! I love shows like tonight, where it’s a 250 cap, small, sold out venue, where it’s going to be hot and sweaty and disgusting with kids jumping about everywhere. But it is also fun playing huge stages to big crowds- that’s just as fun for me, I can’t say I prefer one over the other.
Miles: With headline shows like tonight, the majority if not all the people in the room are here for us, so you know before you even go into it that the reaction is probably going to be good, whereas with those bigger support shows you have to go into it with a mind-set of ‘We have to win these people over!’. In those bigger rooms it’s harder to gauge people’s reactions, but I’d agree that I like doing both for different reasons.
Pizza is a staple part of pop punk life, but the biggest question is- does pineapple belong on pizza?
Miles: Yeah, I rate it!
Sam: See, I used to hate it, but then I had it recently and I wasn’t that bothered- I’m not that for it, I’m not that against it! I don’t hate it, put it that way!
In spite of their questionable taste in pizza toppings, it’s clear that there are big things on the horizon for Roam. The show that followed was just as hot, sweaty and raucous as they had predicted, and it showed that this south-cost quintet have garnered themselves a staunchly loyal following that will no doubt help propel them into the unchartered territory of the next stage of their careers. The only downside is that they’ll have to lose their old slogan as it very evidently no longer applies to this ambitious young band- ‘Roam Sucks,’ -while it did make for some awesome self-deprecating merch- definitely isn’t true anymore.
'Great Heights and Nosedives' is out now via Hopeless Records, and 'Smile Wide' will join it on September 6th.
Check out the video for the record's lead single, 'I Don't Think I Live There Anymore', below:
Roam will be heading out on a UK/EU tour alongside Aussies With Confidence this autumn- dates are below and tickets are available here: