The Roman Candles are the anti-thesis to every band breaking out of the US right now. Discard your Puddle of Mudd's and your Staind's, equally discard you're Nu-Metal acts like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Remember a time when the Lemonheads and Weezer ruled the airwaves and that's where the Roman Candles are at right now. We caught up with lead singer and songwriter Matt Hopper to find out about Alaska's hottest export and to find out how they will survive following the recent departure of guitarist Brandon.
Q: When you think of the States, in terms of guitar
music, the band breaking over here in the UK in the main are the Nu-Metal
acts. Would you say that the Roman Candles are ultimately anti Nu-metal
in terms of that very traditional guitar pop edge?
MH : I've never really been anti-anything, with the exception of really morbid death metal, which I just can't relate too. Our sound has no connection to any of the Nu-Metal acts, but we didn't set out to buck trends or anything, we just like to write songs that have a good hook and are fun to listen to. I actually like some of these really popular artists like Nickelback and POD, but I don't listen to commercial radio hardly at all, so I have no chance to get sick of those bands like other people do. I hear a good song for what its worth and try not to let image and personality get in the way of how I feel about a certain song regardless of genre.
Q: The main influences I hear in the sound is Weezer,
Lemonheads and the Beach Boys. Would you say this is a fair assumption?
MH : Pretty accurate with what other people have been saying. I'm a big fan of all of those artists, in fact, the Lemonheads' "It's A Shame About Ray" was one of those albums that was brilliant enough to be beautiful while at the same time remaining fairly simplistic, and in that sense, inspiring. I felt like I could write songs of equal calibre if I tried, so I started right then and there and here I am today doing an interview with a UK zine. Thanks Evan Dando.
Q: You're also a solo artist in your own right. Do
you draw any lines between the band and your solo work? Or does it come
naturally that certain songs will fit the band better and certain songs
will work better solo.
MH : It's hard to keep a band together, so when times are tough, I just keep going with songs. I develop huge back catalogues of demos that I handpick to play for the band. If they like them, then we use them as band songs, if not I just keep them in demo piles until I'm ready to record more solo stuff and then I sit down and pick out some tunes and develop them more before getting to work on them. I have about 100 demos on my computer right now. I try to display a more rock and roll style through the band, while the solo stuff can be very tender, delicate acoustic songs, and some very experimental.
Q: I believe 2002 will see the release of the debut
Roman Candles album. As someone who has only heard the debut EP what can
we expect from the album?
MH : We have a good smattering of really poppy songs and then some really darker songs. I'd like to record the poppy songs first and get them out of the way. So chances are those will be on the first album. The second album will hopefully follow shortly thereafter with a dark overall feel. The debut will be fast, strait forward, and rocking. It will be an explosion of sound.
Q: I read on the site that Brandon (guitars) has left
the band over the last week. What's the immediate plans for the future
and will it signal a new direction for the Roman Candles?
MH : Well, first off, Brandon is leaving on good terms. We are, of course, disappointed with his departure, but after a good talk with the rest of the guys, we decided to take a break with the intentions of coming back strong this summer with a new drummer and keyboardist as well. Our immediate plans are to record another EP of the "band" songs (songs we wrote as a band that Brandon was a part of) and either release that separately from the debut album or add onto it a couple more songs to make it a full length. I am also working on a solo record that I hope to finish up this summer. Basically, this is the summer ot record. We hope to make a trip down to Seattle at the end of the summer for Bumbershoot and then spend one more winter up here recording, writing, and performing with an intent to tour hardcore the following summer.
6. Finally, what other bands / artists from Alaska
would you recommend to our readers over here in the UK?
MH : There are some bands that are really getting serious up here which is exciting to see. Try the following out for starters. These bands are the ones I feel have a national focus and can stand up to anything out there:
Railer : http://www.railerband.com
Delmag : http://www.delmag.biz
The Born Losers : http://www.bornlosersak.com/
Jeb : http://www.jebonline.com/
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