It’s good news for fans of Rozelle, as we premier the second single in of a hefty series of new releases from the Bristol four-piece – after two years without a peep.
Meeting originally as students at BIMM, in a few short years Rozelle made a big impression on the live circuit. On stage, Hayley’s penetrating vocals – and the emotion pummelled into clearly meaningful lyrics – when combined with the frenetic energy of each individual band member, gave way to an honestly moving meeting of minds that was something special to behold as an audience.
However, what Rozelle overflowed with in live impact, they lacked in recorded material – making it difficult to ascend to the reaches they were certainly worthy of. While it was tempting to fit their earlier work into a neat bracket of alt-rock, closer inspection turned up significant influences from pop to jazz and electronica. Between sporadic live shows on a variety lineups and a handful or so of single releases and EPs, it was clear we weren’t getting the full picture.
That’s why Rozelle made the brave decision to go underground and take some time to work out exactly what that looked and sounded like.
Our goal has always been to create music that we want to make without feeling the pressures of fitting into a specific market or genre
‘Our goal has always been to create music that we want to make without feeling the pressures of fitting into a specific market or genre’ explains Rozelle frontperson Hayley. ‘I’ve always been really into reading about different philosophies, perspectives and just curious about everything that I see. This has often led to some weird song concepts, which is always supported by the guys.
‘Writing track by track is the process we tend to adopt – the song always leads the way. We have different music tastes and influences, and the music we make fuses all of these together.
‘When Rozelle first started, we were still developing as people, learning about life and developing musically’ she continues. ‘The group has always been about escapism for us, a unity for our madness, and an outlet for us to express ourselves.’
As of last month, Rozelle are back, and they’re more bold, more self-assured and truly marching to the beat of their own drum. Rozelle’s returning single, Searching for a Revolution, arrived last month via Killing Moon Records (AKA Last Man). It was a fun and polished reintroduction to Rozelle mark II, showcasing layers of 80s synth, surf rock, pop and plenty more.
Their new single, Discovery, dances an accomplished jig between heavier rock influence and electronica. Dropping officially tomorrow, Nitelife readers have been treated to an exclusive first listen. You can hear Discovery in full above, and follow it up with our full run down from Hayley on the new music, where they’ve been and why they’re ready to smash back onto the scene:
Where have you been?
After playing lots of wicked shows across Bristol, London and hitting up the UK festival circuit, we decided to spend more time writing and recording.
We’ve spent the last two years living together, working behind the scenes and recording a library of singles and content – roughly two albums worth! Songwriting is the magical part of music and, for us, something we wanted to push.
How important was it to allow yourselves some time to incubate away from the live circuit?
Massively. Playing live has always been the most organic, real format within music. It’s something that will never die out. Believing this, we chose to take time out to write and record, to formulate a stronger connection between our music releases and live performances.
Today, the entertainment industry is tougher than ever. On the one hand, you’re more connected to fans and opportunities, but on the other, you’re expected to manage and project out so much as an emerging artist.
How were your live shows and recorded material disparate before and how have you gone about getting them on the same page?
Playing live is where it is at and we always have strived to put on a good show. When we were gigging regularly, the classic thing would happen – ‘I really loved that, where can I find your music online?’ …’Ummm, well we have an old track up at the mo…’
We would play a great show and then those who enjoyed it couldn’t find music. We were like that mystery band, you’d see us in a hazy dark room and then we’d be gone forever into the modern abyss.
During the early days (like many self-managed artists), we struggled to balance writing, recording, playing live, managing social media, planning our lives, etc, etc.
We were still creatively developing. We had so many songs written that we wanted to develop further and record, so we had to lock ourselves away to focus on bringing our songs to life.
we had to lock ourselves away to focus on bringing our songs to life
Like many artists, we are all working full time jobs, funding our project. We needed time to reflect and I needed time to get lost in my narratives.
Creative development or artist development is something that takes time, and today many artists feel like it isn’t supported as much on the industry side. It almost feels like you have to have it all worked out from the moment that you create your social media channels or put your first track online.
We live in a product-driven age and the expectations of being a ‘brand’ are definitely there all the time. That being said, in the last couple of years there has been a massive uplift in mental health awareness and support within the entertainment industry, and it’s clear that both younger and older generations are deterring away from social media to feel real.
We had to move away from social media to focus on ourselves. We all made the decision to hide away and it was scary at first. We were worried we would undo everything, but when we realised that going offline wasn’t going to end the world or doom our existence, it was really the most beautiful thing – that idea of a constant progression, a potent presence online is simply not important.
that idea of a constant progression, a potent presence online is simply not important
What is important is the quality of the songs, how they make you feel, and giving yourself time to breathe. We’ve been able to grow closer without the consistent pressure of posting something on Instagram everyday. More importantly, we’ve written a library of music that we are really proud of and excited to share.
Can fans who’ve missed you while you’ve been away expect the Rozelle they know and love, or is this a whole new beginning?
Fans who knew us for being free, and comfortable with the fact we can play whatever we want, will reconnect with us.
We have spent this time exploring creative depths, making content to support our music and being ok with the fact that if we have three fans in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, then we will love them forever.
Seriously though, if you truly believe in your music, then you don’t sacrifice it to fulfil empty goals, nor try to fit neatly into a genre to make life easier.
if you truly believe in your music, then you don’t sacrifice it to fulfil empty goals
Once you can get back to gigging, do you suspect your songs will take on a further change in sound? Or have you got a super clear vision of your sound direction?
We aren’t putting a limit on what we are or what we can write. That would limit how far we can go. The music leads us always, if an electronica EP is born – then we’ll let it live.
Who have you worked with on the new singles?
We have worked with some wicked people on our first batch of tracks. The records were engineered/recorded by Max Brown – a great friend of mine and amazing engineer based in London.
Sam Featherstone has mixed and produced the records. He has also been incredible to work with and, for us, has found the balance between our live sound and love for electronic/pop production.
When we write, play and hang out together we have complete jokes – we want to bring that element to our content
You’ve taken a real step up with your visual content as well, how do you hope that will represent Rozelle as a band?
We just want our visuals to be fun and we want to make people laugh. When we write, play and hang out together we have complete jokes – we want to bring that element to our content.
Our recent single and music video, Searching For a Revolution, was so fun to make. We literally invited our hungover friends to come and play a ridiculous tennis match. We have lots of different music video concepts on the horizon feat. all members, so look out!
What are your aspirations for Rozelle in the near and far future?
We are using this weird time to write loads of new music, whilst we’re releasing stuff too. As soon as Corona stops corrupting us, we’ll be gigging it up as much as we can across the UK.
Photo by Ania Shrimpton