Meet the Manchester indie-rock outfit keen to stamp their own names in the history books.
When thinking about the North West, it’s only natural to reminisce the great bands of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, who’s musical and cultural impact has become so embedded in its DNA. From Joy Division pioneering the post-punk scene, to The Stone Roses releasing their triumphant debut, which in turn inspired the Gallaghers to give rock ‘n’ roll a new lease of life during the Britpop era, the overcast suburbs of Manchester has birthed some of the most impactful artists of the last 50 years. But this has long been documented. You can read up on it in every page of the musical history books. It’s now time we look to the future with the same impassioned excitement. The North West music scene is as alive as it’s ever been – and Rosellas are right at the forefront of it.
Like the greats who paved the way for the scene, the five piece indie-rock outfit consiting of Drew (lead vocals), Euan (Rhythm guitar), Ollie (bass), Luis (keys, backing vocals), Mark (drums) all share the same desire for “world domination” – a trait which typically goes a long way in the perpetually competitive music industry. But keen to transcend into something far greater than a mere product of past generations’ work, Rosellas have already began expanding their sound in impressive fashion, with a short catalogue already boasting a winning formula consisting of a fine balance between rawness and refinement. Having already showcased their acoustic talents as well as tapping into psychedelia, the band appear to have stumbled upon an organic adaption of rock ‘n’ roll’s golden era, which paired with their burning ambition leaves them destined for success.
With COVID-19 preventing them the opportunity to play at Noize in the North, the lads are itching to get back on stage to perform their ‘lockdown singles’ in front of a crowd for the first time. Yet despite all the difficulties upcoming musicians have faced over the past year or so, you couldn’t be more wrong for thinking the pandemic has hindered Rosellas’ momentum. 2021 has proven to be the biggest year for the band, with polished songwriting and enticing guitar solos helping both “Common Ground” and “Damaged” singles acquire in the ball park of 20,000 Spotify streams each. And by no means will the lads be kicking up their feet any time soon, as they look to finish the final few months in style, starting with the release of the new single “Before The Storm” on August 6th – with an EP due shortly after.
I had the opportunity to speak to lead vocalist Drew, gaining an insight into the brains behind one of the most exciting prospects in the genre right now;
> Growing up in the suburbs of Manchester, how much does the city’s rich musical culture inspire your work?
For me personally, i fell head over heels for The Stone Roses and The Verve when i was about 12 or 13. My mum had played them throughout my childhood but it was only when i picked up the guitar and started writing my own tunes that their influence became paramount above all else. A couple years later i started getting into Oasis and learned to respect Noel’s songwriting hugely. He still remains one of my biggest songwriting influences. Him, Ian Brown and Richard Ashcroft all sit at the head of that table for me. I know for Euan as well hes massive into Noel’s stuff but also loves the Liverpool sound in bands like the La’s, Shack and Echo & the Bunnymen. I think it comes across in the melodies and chords Euan and I write with, but while we give nods here and there to these bands who have influenced us, we are not in any way trying to sound like them. We want to sound like us, and only us. With a sprinkling of a tiny bit of this and little bit of that.
> You’ve rightly earned comparisons with the likes of DMAs and Blossoms over the last couple of years, is there an added pressure which comes with these comparisons? Is it frustrating for an up and coming band who’s trying to make a name for themselves, or do the comparisons motivate you?
This comes up in conversation with Euan and myself whenever theres a few beers involved haha! For us, we will both feel like we’ve made it and succeeded as songwriters when people mention our names or our band’s name in the same breath as bands like Oasis, Blossoms, the La’s so on and so forth. We dont mind being compared to people, we just want people to know that we aren’t searching for those similarities. If someone hears a bit of blossoms in our tunes then great, but as i said just before, we are only in the business of finding our own sound and fulfilling that potential.
> The band have demonstrated great chemistry since the well crafted debut EP in 2019. How long have you been playing together?
I played a bit with Ollie (bass) back in high school in various piss-about bands. I met Euan (guitar) on the train back from a Blossoms gig in 2017 and we started writing tunes and playing together over the next year. Ive probably played longest with Luis (keys) as i met him when i was about 15. We’ve done an absolutely slog of empty pub gigs and played hundreds of tunes together. Mark (drums) came into the picture after the departure of our old drummer and we’ve been playing as this lineup since the back end of 2019.
> Your Slow Dance EP contained a more psychedelic approach. What inspired this sound, and can we expect more of this style in the future?
I dont really see Slowdance as psychedelic, we have far more psych tunes out there like ’The Edge’ and ‘Inside’. It was a bit more a concept EP for want of a better term. Theres nothing outrageously against the grain in there and no whacky use of technology designed to bend your mind… Euan and I were writing a lot of those sounding tunes at the time; i’d been listening to loads of Arctic Monkeys, not the fast paced garage rock stuff, the slower more elegant side of their sound. We had this idea to compile these tunes together in an EP because they all had this feel to them in their melody – a feel reminiscent of the 1950s slow dance type of music. I produced that EP myself so chucked a few bits of ear candy in there like the rain at the end of Slowdance joining it to Premonition. Theres a great little interlude as well at the end of Twenty One going into Before Your Eyes where i used a massive reverb tail to bring in the next guitar part and link the tracks. Pink Floyd are my top band and have been ever since i started studying the production side of music, so little techniques like this come from that angle – they used to do it all the time. Definitely will be putting more things like that out in the future.
> You’ve come back with a bang in 2021, with tracks like ‘Common Ground’ and ‘Damaged’ screaming to be played to large festival crowds. How excited are you to perform these new songs live?
You have no idea mate, you cant actually fathom the amount of energy pent up inside every one of us. We havent gigged any of our singles up on spotify to a live crowd which is just mad. We put out Born Under A Cloud in August 2020 while gigs still weren’t allowed to go ahead. We’re now almost 7 releases deep without having played to a proper live crowd. To be fair, its probably going to work in our favour because everyone in the crowd will know the tunes now hahah!
> What does a typical Rosellas recording session consist of? Has the pandemic altered your approach to writing/recording new music?
We’re pretty quick in the studio to be fair. We just recorded a 6 track EP in two days a couple months ago and that was a blast. Mark is the tightest drummer ive ever heard so he normally lays down tracks in 1 or 2 takes. Ollie will throw down some bass, probably in about 97 takes, then its onto guitars and keys. This is where the Rosellas sound is properly explored so we take our time here as much as we can. Testing the waters with FX and tones to get that quintessential heavy piano-driven rock n roll sound we’re growing into. Our writing process definitely had to change because we all had to learn to write competently on our own without sitting in a room with each other and bouncing ideas about.
> It’s no secret the pandemic has been an extremely challenging time for up and coming artists, how have you stayed motivated?
Somehow, we’ve actually managed to get bigger throughout lockdown.. I mean in all fairness we have put a slog and half in. We put out a 5 track acoustic EP in the height of lockdown, put out 5 singles since then and have done all sorts of livestream gigs. Staying motivated to do stuff wasnt really the hard part because there was absolutely nowt else to focus on. The hard part was having things to write about, how many songs can you write about sitting in the garden having a beer at 11am because the suns out and works off?
> Now you’ve got a feel for touring life, what is the one thing you MUST have while on the road?
Im sure your imagination can conjure up what sits on the table in our tour bus hahah! Im not really that arsed what anyone brings as long as theres a footy. Footy and beer and we’re happy boys. Not some £3 Mitre ball though, got to be a quality padded ball. Good for heads and V’s.
> Most importantly, what can fans expect from Rosellas for the remainder of 2021 and heading into 2022?
Absolute world domination. We aren’t stopping til the Aborigines in outback Australia are blasting our tunes from a little transistor radio. We’ve got about 13 gigs lined up before 2021 is out so we’d absolutely love to meet some new faces down at some of those. Information on tickets and dates can be found on our social medias :
instagram – @rosellas.band twitter – @rosellasband facebook – /rosellasband
We’ll have a new single out August 6th for you all to crank up to 11 with that EP i mentioned dropping later in the year. Expect some heavy ass rock n roll tones, baked in harmonies and lush piano with some of the best drumming you’ve heard since Reni on the Second Coming.