ROMES are a half Irish, half Canadian alternative pop band made up of childhood friends Jacob Bitove on vocals, his brother Nick Bitove on drums, Andrew Keyes on Bass and James Tebbit on guitar.
Earlier this year they released their debut EP titled Believe. The four track release combines pop structures with an alternative vibe and the eponymous single has landed a spot on EA Sports’ Madden 17 soundtrack.
We spoke to members Andrew and James to get to know them a bit more.
First off can you tell me about how you all met and how the band started?
A: We all went to the same secondary school down in Bray. We have been close friends since we were in first year and grew up playing together and jamming around. We all did different versions of different bands but with the same core group members. Then we moved to Toronto and eventually ROMES was formed.
You released your debut EP ‘Believe’ in April, what has been the response so far?
A: We have been delighted with the response so far. We did not really know what to expect when we put it out, but there has just been a really organic growth to everything. It seems like every other week we get an email from our manager saying our song has been used or we have x amount of streams on Spotify. It has just sort of taken a life of its own and we are trying to enjoy it.
Your sound is described as alternative and indie, is that what you initially set out to achieve?
J: It’s an interesting question because we do not actually listen to much indie music. I guess when we were writing these songs our aim was to make music that we love and that other people would love. It was directed at being pop music really, but it does have an alternative vibe.
Who are your inspirations?
A: We listen to a lot of hip-hop kind of stuff. Also a lot of old soul and Funk, like Jamerson, James Brown and Marvin Gaye. I personally listen to Haim.
J: Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers too.
There are so many up-and-coming bands out there trying to get recognition, do you find this challenging or is it motivating?
A: I am not trying to be flippant, but I do not think that makes a difference. We do not really pay too much attention to it. We never sit down and talk about other bands and are like ‘yeah we have to beat them’. There is no point. We just focus on what we are doing and how we can make ourselves better and hope that things look after themselves after that.
You have played numerous shows, what is your favourite part of performing?
A: The whole thing, from start to finish. We spent the last few months working on our live set and it feels like things have gotten to another level. It is really comfortable and fun now. The whole thing is amazing, getting the crowd involved and having the craic. In my opinion live shows are the best part about playing in a band.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A: We hive-five each other and have a bit of a hug. We take the piss out of each other a lot. The lads give out to me because I always need to go pee right before we go on stage. They’d say that that’s my pre-show ritual.
There’s talk of you doing a tour in the future. Can we expect a show here in Dublin?
A: That would be amazing. We would really love that.
J: In the New Year hopefully.
A: That is one of our goals. My bucket list venue is to play the Olympia. We will definitely come home.
You guys are only starting out, you know how scary it can be to put yourself out there, what advice would you give to readers who are only beginning to pursue their dream?
A: I think if you are ever hit with this overwhelming sense of fear, take a deep breath. Then just go for it. The worse thing that can happen is that someone says no, and once you get over that, it is actually not that bad.
J: If you want it hard enough, the universe will conspire to bring that to you.
Is there anything else you would like to say to readers of The College View?
A: Stay in school.