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Interview: Rosetta Talk Star-Gazing And DIY Promotion

Interview: Rosetta Talk Star-Gazing And DIY Promotion

Fluffy / Wednesday 6th December, 2017 1:01PM

Philadelphia based post-metal crew Rosetta are bringing their idiosyncratic brand of star-gazing, guitar-driven tunes to Aotearoa for the first time, with shows lined up for Auckland and Wellington next week. To gear up for the sonic voyage, we sent otherworldly entity (and UTR contributor) Fluffy to correspond with Rosetta's aether-dwelling guitarist Eric Jernigan. They chatted about the group's latest opus Utopioid, the role that the worldwide web plays in modern music, and the void above...

UTR: From the spacey-ness of your tunes, I’m guessing the name of your band is a reference to the European Space Agency probe that was launched into orbit in 2004. Was there any particular catalyst that got you interested in the great beyond?

The band actually formed in 2003. It’s impossible to point to a particular moment or event; I think we’re all just lucky to come from families who encouraged a sense of wonder. Part of that inevitably entails looking up and asking what’s going on out there. 

You’ve described your band as playing 'metal for astronauts'. Are you a Neil Armstrong or a Buzz Aldrin kinda guy?

I’m gonna give it up to Michael Collins. No one seems to remember old Mike, but without his keeping the command module steady Neil and Buzz would’ve been toast. 

You’re touring in New Zealand on the back of your sixth album Utopioid. Take us through some of the themes covered on there?

Utopioid is the band’s greatest achievement in terms of open creative collaboration. Each of had a guiding hand in the others’ contributions. It’s a record written in four distinct parts, each of which carries the mood of its assigned 'season' both musically and lyrically.

Utopioid is said to be your most concept driven work to date. What great tales are you spinning within the album’s confines?

The story arc follows a nameless, genderless character born into a life of grandiose expectation. With age comes the stark reality of unfulfilled promises and empty relationships, the weight of which prove too much to bear. To dull the pain the individual, like so many of us, finds solace in self-destructive distractions. These habits breed loneliness, and loneliness breeds introspection. So our protagonist faces the conclusion of its fruitless existence in utter isolation.

In 2013 you guys took the DIY route with The Anaesthete, tackling promotions through the often-precarious wormhole that is the Internet. It seems to have paid off in dividends for you. Have you got any tips for any up-and-coming bands to promote themselves via the worldwide web?

The Internet is a valuable tool but there’s no better way to get noticed than by creating something honest and physically bringing it into the world. Don’t be afraid of your own capacity for originality. Music fans don’t need another version of your favourite band, but they might need what you have to offer if you dig deep and find something honest to release. Visceral connection will always triumph, at least until the technological singularity arrives. 

On that note, do you find it can be a fine line between getting your work out there by sharing it around social media and putting off potential listeners from overexposure?

Yeah, it’s far too easy to inundate potential fans with pointless content so we try to be conscious of that. It trips me out that we devote countless hours to this project and a medium like Facebook allows people to form a convenient mental picture of what we’re about in just 30 seconds. I think a lot of bands and artists feel that way but there’s no use fighting it. Better just to use those channels intelligently. 

You recorded an original score for Justin Jackson’s documentary on yourselves, Rosetta: Audio/Visual
. Tell us a little about that project?

Justin approached the band about the film and it just made sense to have Matt (guitar) and Armine (vocals/electronics) collaborate for the score. Since I didn’t write on that one I don’t mind saying it’s wonderful music to get lost in.

Finally, do you have any hot picks for artists pushing sonic boundaries at present?

I’m really enjoying this year’s releases from Four Tet, R Beny, Toro y Moi, Mogwai, and Mastodon.

You can catch Rosetta at Valhalla in Wellington on Tuesday 12th December, and at Ding Dong Lounge in Auckland on Wednesday 13th December. For more details and to score tickets, head over HERE.


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Rosetta - Utopioid New Zealand Tour
Tue 12th Dec 7:30pm
Valhalla, Wellington
Rosetta - Utopioid New Zealand Tour
Wed 13th Dec 7:30pm
Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland