INTERVIEW: Rosetta Talk About the Collaborative Songwriting on Their New Album, "Utopioid"
Forging ahead as a fully independent band in their fourteenth year together, Rosetta just celebrated the release of their sixth full-length album, Utopioid over the summer. Easily their most complex releases to date, Utopioid finds the post-metal group collaborating with one another more than ever, working together to create the best record possible rather than only being responsible for their own individual instruments. The result is a a heavily concept-driven release that the band is proud to be out on the road in support of now.
With tour dates alongside North winding down as October comes to an end, Rosetta are looking toward the future, with shows planned throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia in December. If you haven't had the chance yet, stream Utopioid below and catch Rosetta out on the road now!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
You guys have had a great year so far with tour dates throughout spring and the release of your new album, Utopioid! What has been the highlight of your year so far?
The recording process itself was super fun, and of course it's really satisfying to see your ideas realized. But I think the best thing so far has been the response to the album. Fans and press alike have been really positive about it, which feels especially validating because we were so deeply committed to the material. We're super proud of how it all came out.
Utopioid really marks a special moment for Rosetta, as it is not only your sixth album together, but your third fully independent release as well. When you first started this journey as a band, was a huge catalogue of releases, three of which without a label, something you ever envisioned yourselves creating?
I don't think we ever had any specific expectations for the band, but 20-year-old me would probably be really surprised that we're still at it 14 years later. In some ways, everything that's happened to and for us has been an evolving pleasant surprise. It's certainly an enormous amount of work to keep it going, but it's something we do because it's who we are, and we're compelled to do it.
Did you have any major goals in mind when you first started working on the new album? Was there anything you really wanted to accomplish with this one that you haven’t done in the past?
Most of what's changed is in our working methods. We wanted to be 'uncomfortably collaborative' -- nobody was allowed to be territorial about their role. Everyone contributed to each others' instrumental and vocal parts, and we wrote the lyrics together. Working that way, it feels like things take forever to get finished, because the discussion and refinement takes so much time when there are more hands on the material, but we figured it out and we all think that Utopioid is our most coherent release as a result. We also decided early on that we wouldn't limit ourselves to writing music that we could play live -- so there's a lot of really varied instrumentation and equipment used on the album. We chose instruments, amps, tunings, etc. based on what we wanted a given song to sound like. That was a new and freeing way to compose.
It being one of your most complex and concept-driven releases to date, did you come across any challenges when working on Utopioid?
The main thing was time. We try to keep our production turnarounds super tight, and with this being such an ambitious record, it required a lot of late nights to get it done. We wrote it in about 4 months, and recorded it in only 8 days in July. Mixing and mastering happened during August, and we released on September 1st. So for that whole period, it was all-consuming. Every spare minute was devoted to working on it.
What were some of the most rewarding moments of working on the album?
We had a blast working with our producer, Francisco Botero, for the first time. He assisted on our 2013 album The Anaesthete, but was in the captain's chair this time. He has a deep understanding of our vision as a band and brought a lot of skill and creative ideas to the process. Although the recording sessions were incredibly intense and short, that was a really satisfying time with us -- creative collaboration is rarely as seamless and fluid as those sessions were.
If they haven’t listened to it yet, what are you most excited for listeners to hear on Utopioid?
I think a lot of the power of the songs comes from the way they're situated in the flow of the album, juxtaposed with each other. The album is intended to be taken in as a single narrative, with dynamic ebbs and flows between the songs. We really want listeners to experience that emotional story more than anything else, and I think each listener will encounter something personally unique in it.
You guys are currently out on the road in support of Utopioid as well! What are you looking forward to the most on these upcoming tour dates?
It's been a long time since we were out in the western part of the USA, so it feels good to be able to see some old friends, and play some places where people have been waiting a while to see us. We're also touring with the band North, and those guys are longtime friends and we love being on the road with them.
What can fans expect from these upcoming shows?
We've got a crowd-pleaser set with a mix of old and new material, spanning the last ten years or so of the band. A little something for everyone. Our live sets always have a much more urgent or even confrontational feel than our recorded material, and the rapport with the audience is really important to us.
After these upcoming shows, do you have any other big plans for the rest of the year?
We're headed to Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia in December. Some new places, some old places.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Put down that phone and stage-dive! An invitation to stage-dive is an invitation to experience yourself as an embodied being.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
10/24/2017 - Lawrence KS - Replay Lounge (tickets @ door)
10/25/2017 - Ft Worth TX - Lolas
10/26/2017 - Austin TX - Lost Well (tickets @ door)
10/27/2017 - Houston TX - Green Room
10/28/2017 - El Paso TX - Lowbrow Palace
10/29/2017 - Albuquerque NM - Sister
10/30/2017 - Tucson AZ - Flycatcher