You’re Not From Round Here, Are Ya? – Kasper Rosa

1 02 2012

Welcome to “You’re Not From Round Here, Are Ya?”, a fortnightly feature which will focus on bands who are outwith the genre bracket which I focus on or who are not located within Central Scotland, the region in which I am based.

This week I am very happy to be covering, and to have interviewed, the amazing Kasper Rosa. The Northern Irish 4-piece progressive rock band are one of my favourite bands of the moment. I love their heavy hitting pieces frequently containing flowing post-rock inspired segments. I get the feeling my band mates and friends are sick of me talking about them on such a regular basis but I honestly do not care. I have not been this passionate about a band since I accidentally discovered Intronaut about 5 years ago.

It was through a Facebook comment that I actually discovered this band. Afetr uploading a Vasa demo Kasper Rosa left us a wee comment congratulating us and I decided to check them out. Smooth move John. VERY SMOOTH MOVE. First stop for me was the track “You Fool, Warren is Dead”. This song is deeply rooted in a post-rock vein but still keeps that lovely prog-rock edge that Kasper Rosa have sewn into the fabric of all their songs. Listening to this track put me in mind of Godspeed You! Black Emporer and moreso of “In The House, In A Heartbeat” the John Murphy track from the 28 Days Later OST. It’s a great piece starting off quietly with a sort of lingering dread, builds up into a crescendo (with a little break in which band members whisper lines from a Lovecraft story) then erupts into a huge finish. I have listened to this countless times and watched a stunning live performance of it on YouTube and I must say it is a truly fantastic track.  Basically after hearing this track I went and downloaded everything of Kasper Rosa’s material I could find. Ep2, the Coronal Mass Injection single and the First Breath, First Blood single. I really enjoyed EP2. It really allowed me to enjoy every facet of Kasper Rosa’s writing style. You really get a feel for where they draw influence. The songs are heavily based in the prog-rock vein but there are obvious post-rock influences in many songs. The stand-out in my eyes on EP2 was “The Version of the Facts” (I say stand-out what I basically mean is that it was my favourite by a mile).

Before I go into the interview I must talk about “First Breath, First Blood”. I have been relentlessly listening to this track for around a month or so. It is in a constant circulation in my car and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Me being a lover of heavy music and prog music it ticks these boxes within about 20 seconds of kicking off but the other side of this song is that the lyrics in it are beastly. Starting from calm, almost serene, vocal pattern launching into a more powerful side of the bands vocal range it really makes me hope that Kasper Rosa harness vocals more in any upcoming releases as it really enhance the song for me as a whole.

Check out this album. It contains both “First Breath, First Blood” and the aforementioned “You Fool, Warren Is Dead” two tracks which have become two of my favourite tracks of the last few months.

 

Kasper Rosa has rapidly become my favourite band just now and I strongly urge any fans of prog-rock and post-rock, bollocks, fans of any music whatsoever, to check out this band now. You will not be disappointed. I guarantee it.

 

 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Q. Right guys. Before we get started give me a bit of background into Kasper Rosa and how you guys started. How long have you been going for and how did the band begin?

A. In my case, it started with Ryan approaching me to play drums in a big project called Kasper Rosa. Turned out when we all got together the music that came out was slightly different than we had expected. It was originally a Broken Social Scene style ‘Big Folk’ band. For a few months it was just Me, Steve and Ryan, until we decided we wanted to start playing shows. At this point, we were writing every night in the lecture theatre of Ryan & Steve’s Art College. Dave arrived for a jam shortly after and the fit was just right. Nearly three years down the line and we haven’t killed each other yet.


Q. You guys label yourself as a progressive rock band but I myself hear a lot of post rock influences in your music. Where do you guys draw most of your influences from? Is it mostly from other prog-rock and post-rock bands or do you find influences from other genres?

A. The music we all listen to is pretty diverse. I guess each of us would be into something that someone else doesn’t necessarily dig, but thats were the interest lies I think. The writing process is great though, we always seem to be able to get on the same page and channel the idea or theme we’re shooting for.


Q. I noticed that you played a gig with Maybeshewill and Lite a while back (those two bands blew me away in Glasgow). Do you guys class this as the biggest gig you have played or have you played with any bigger acts?

A. That was a fun show, but wasn’t necessarily big – it was held in a rock bar where Ryan works. We’ve actually become quite friendly with the Maybeshewill gang through having gigged with them in Ireland a fair bit. Lovely boys. I’d say our best shows have been ones that we’ve done ourselves. Personally my favourite show was the launch for Coronal Mass Ejection. The lineup was so good, and the turnout was amazing. We had Friend? up from Dublin, and Vessels came over from Leeds. I was really taken aback with how many people came out to show their support.

 We’ve played with some fantastic bands (65daysofstaic / Ozric Tentacles / Earth) in some great venues (Mandela Hall / The Button Factory). For me the most important thing is that people enjoy themselves. If a dude comes up at the end of a show and says he really had fun… then its a success in my eyes.

Q. Your song “First Breath, First Blood” was the first of your released songs to harness vocals. Was including them a conscious decision or was it simply an experimental thing to see how vocals suited your music?

A. We’ve actually experimented with vocals in Coronal Mass Ejection, a single we released earlier last year.

The use of vocals as a focal point is something we haven’t tried before. It seems to make more sense to us if we treat them as any other instrument… just another texture. Ryan and Steve both sang in previous bands, so it almost seemed silly not to utilise what they could do.


Q. Have you found that there is a strong market for your brand of music in the Northern Irish music industry? Are there any bands similar to yourselves or bands that you enjoy in and around Northern Ireland?

There are some great scenes in Ireland as a whole, great labels in Dublin like Eleven/Eleven and The Richter Collective that our supporting some awesome locally based acts, as well as some international artists. You can’t go wrong with acts like Eatenbybears / Alarmist / Friend? / Overhead, The Albatross / Continuous Battle of Order / Enemies / Bats / ASIWYFA / Like Statues.

 

 Q. Have you found that your music has been well accepted and received since you have started releasing it into the mainstream?

A. Absolutely. There are always going to be some people that just aren’t into what we do, but that will always be the case, with any band. What we’re doing is pretty self indulgent, to be honest. It certainly matters to us what people think if they are genuinely listening to the music and taking something from it, in those cases I’m happy to hear opinions.

 

 Q. So, any big plans for 2012? Are you planning any big gigs/tours or any new releases?

A. Working on material for the first record, which is exciting. The process is long and slow but we feel the material is really strong. Its a good reflection of the vibe we have going at the moment, really focused but still willing to let everything breath. We still want to be out playing shows for the people who have been supporting us so were putting together a few Irish tours for this year, but most of our time will be spent demoing this record to make it the best thing we can.

 

So. That’s the first of this series done.

My thanks go out to Kasper Rosa for taking time out to answer my questions and especially to Mr. J Rudolph McCormick for keeping in touch with me over a few questions I have had and being so helpful.


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