Rose of Jericho has eight songs in the Rock Band Network, has charted a lot of their own tracks, and have become a valuable part of the RBN community, participating in the Megamix and authoring tracks for other bands. We talked to vocalist Andrea Russie and guitarist Matt Rasmussen about their new album, their experience with RBN, and the one question they wish people would ask them. Read on for a peek at our September Rock Band Network Artist of the Month, Rose of Jericho.
Harmonix: Matt and Andrea - I understand you've known each other for a long time. How did the band first come together?
Matt Rasmussen: We met through at mutual friend at a party and at the time Rose of Jericho was just a guitarist and a drummer. I was writing all kinds of music and trying to sing to a lot of it, but it didn’t take me long before I figured that we should probably get someone that can, you know, actually sing. So anyway, at this party Andrea mentioned that she had written a couple of her own songs and I had her sing a couple. As soon as I heard her I knew that I found the voice for ROJ. It didn’t hurt that she was also hot.
Andrea Russie: After that party Matt invited me to rehearse with them and to listen to some of the songs that they had written. Pretty much immediately things went really well and we started writing together. The first few times that we performed together in rehearsal, I was so nervous that I only wanted to sing in a closet. So they stuck a mic in a bedroom closet and that’s how all of this got started.
HMX: How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn't heard your music yet?
MR: Huh, that one is tough to answer. ROJ really has a lot of different moods. Songs like “Buried Cold” and “Beautiful Machine” are darker and heavier so we sound more like Evanescence while songs like “Midnight Eyes” are much more pop-rock. And then we have faster, upbeat songs like “Signed with Love” and “Romancing the Ordinary” which are just fun rock songs. I think our style really draws from our diverse influences. Some of my favorite bands are Metallica, Rush, Soundgarden, Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire (the list goes on and on), while Andrea draws more from a pop-rock influence. I think we are most commonly compared to Evanescence, Paramore, and The Cranberries.
HMX: Do you have any good rehearsal or gig stories that you want to embarrass each other with in public?
MR: Definitely my favorite rehearsal story is occasionally (and this happens to this day) Andrea will forget a line to one of our songs while we are rehearsing it and she will turn around and look at me with the deer in headlights stare. At that point the band will all stop playing and yell “line!” followed by “who wrote this song anyways!”
HMX: Like our previous Artist of the Month Evile, Rose of Jericho is one of the big "do it yourself" names on the Rock Band Network. Guitarist Matt Rasmussen is extremely active on creators.rockband.com and has charted most of the Rose of Jericho songs available. Matt, how did you discover the RBN?
MR: I first learned about RBN right here on the RockBand.com forums. When I saw the announcement that bands would be able to submit their own stuff I almost flipped out. I’ve loved Rock Band since the day it came out (I specifically enjoyed playing the drums). I thought the ability to rock out to your favorite tunes was the coolest thing ever. At the time, RBN
HMX: What's your RBN experience been like?
MR: RBN has really been a fantastic experience. The people in the community really make it something special. I started out not knowing how to do any kind of authoring and the community really helped me create some great content. It’s pretty rare that you can come across a group of people that are trustworthy and are really out to maintain the quality of all content that is produced even though technically we are all competing with each other. I’ve been involved in many aspects of RBN from creating my own content to participating in the RBN Megamix to authoring over 20 drum tracks for RockGamer Studios. Every project that I have been involved in has been a real pleasure.
HMX: I hear you're big video gamers. Aside from Rock Band, what games have you been playing lately?
MR: What do mean aside from Rock Band? What else is there? [laughs] I just recently finished Mass Effect 2 (for the third time) where I got the “No One Left Behind” achievement and I just visited a friend in LA (the same friend that hooked up me and Andrea) and we ended up playing Halo Reach for about 24 hours total in four days.
AR: I enjoy pretty much anything that is based on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront, etc.
HMX: You've got three albums out so far (Applause of Wings, These City Lights, and Out of the Maze) and a fourth album is coming. Is it named yet? Can you tell us anything about it?
AR: The next album isn’t named but I can tell you we are very excited about it. I think the new album is definitely going to be the next step for us and it picks up where Out of the Maze ended. The songs we have written so far still have the variety that you hear on Out of the Maze but they are also more focused. I think our current fans as well as new fans are really going to like this one.
HMX: You've been picking up new fans lately in a variety of cities. Are there any tour plans?
AR: Yes we are definitely planning on visiting cities here in Texas. Texas is such a large state that just a tour here is a lot of traveling. As far as the rest of the US, plans are in motion as well as the possibility of even getting out of the country.
HMX: If you like Rose of Jericho, then Rose of Jericho thinks you'll like... (Fill in the blank with a few options! These can be giant bands or tiny bands, whatever you feel like.)
MR: Oh man, there are too many to list. One band that I would like to mention is Boa. If you have ever watched the anime “Lain” then you’ve heard them as they do the theme song. I’ve really liked this band from the moment I first heard them. They have a cool alternative feel with awesome guitar riffs, drumming and vocals. Go to YouTube and do a search for “Boa – Duvet.” You won’t be disappointed.
AR: Some bands that I really enjoy are Jack’s Mannequin, Neuromance, and Basboosa.
HMX: What's the one question you've always wanted someone to ask about Rose of Jericho?
MR: How do you guys write such amazing music, put on such brilliant shows and everything?
HMX:...and what's the answer?
HMX: Any last words for the Rock Band community?
MR: Yes – I want to say thanks so much to everyone that has bought ROJ tracks and supported us over the past year. RBN has really done a lot to get our name out there and we definitely owe it to all of our fans who post about us, comment on our videos and play our music. We’ll be bringing more music to RBN including new stuff from the upcoming album so there is much more to come!