Rolo Tomassi: perhaps you’ve heard of them? After all, they’ve been front-page-featured only this week – click here for said live review – and their self-titled EP of last year was our DiScover record of the month in October – point your mouse here for that little beauty.
But there is, of course, the chance that you’ve not actually heard them, i.e. the name’s familiar, but the music’s not. Well, DiS is on hand to remedy this situation: Rolo Tomassi are one of three bands playing our monthly DiScover Club at Notting Hill Arts Club, London, this Saturday, February 17. The show’s run in conjunction with Rough Trade Shops, and is free to attend for anyone over 18. Doors, they open at 4pm – click here for full gig details.
Rolo Tomassi are Edward (drums), James (vocals and keys), Eva (vocals), Joe (guitar) and Joe (bass). Yes, there are two Joes in this youthful five-piece. Don’t make a big deal out of it. The band are in their teens, and as a result touring hasn’t always been easy. However, one click to their MySpace page reveals a whole load of shows. Some are with WhoresWhoresWhores, some with the ever-excellent I Was A Cub Scout; on Saturday, they’ll play with Manatees and Down I Go, who we DiScovered earlier this week: Manatees; Down I Go.
And what do Rolo Tomassi sound like? It’s better that you hear for yourself, really; reviews can be a guide, but to pigeonhole music that’s expansive and innovative is to break its wings before it’s left the nest. Rolo Tomassi’s music needs space to breathe to be appreciated; the space afforded by venues like the Notting Hill Arts Club.
But before that, we offer you the opportunity to DiScover Rolo Tomassi…
** Hello Rolo Tomassi! Please introduce the members of your band, what they do, how the band came to be and… hmmm… your favourite Saturday morning kids TV show of all time.**
Hello, my name is James and I play the keyboards. On drums we have Edward, Joseph plays the guitar, Eva does the vocals and another Joseph plays the bass. We formed when things were beginning to get a bit stale with our other bands about two years ago. We all wanted to do something a bit different musically and were already friends having all gone to the same school when we were younger. My favourite Saturday morning kids show? Hmmmm, probably Live & Kicking, as i recall they showed the best cartoons.
** Things are getting a bit loony for the band right now – you seem in demand for gigs, are doing shows with Cub Scout and Trencher and Whoresx3 and more, and the press is all over your songs like nasty chickenpox. Does this attention freak you out at all? **
Yeah it’s definitely strange seeing reviews of our CD is magazines that I've read for ages and doing interviews with websites like the mighty DrownedinSound! I think the internet has helped us a lot with regards to getting our name thrown about, and that's resulted in getting on shows which is a totally positive thing. It’s really important for us to be playing regularly and currently we're able to do that, which is great!
Your s/t EP picked up a lot of positive press – was it this release that started this snowball rolling? What are the plans, release-wise, for the coming year? **
I think a lot of people think that's the first thing we released, but we actually did a demo, a cassette EP and a split 7" before the recent EP. I'd like to think people showed some interest at the earlier releases, but obviously with the positive reviews we've had for the s/t CD it would be naive to think that it hasn't helped to get a few more people's attention. We're currently writing new material with the view to do an album later this year. Other than that we're having a few things remixed by various parties which may get used for compilations and stuff.
** Obviously you'll be compared to Trencher, the Locust et al, but many a band of that ilk doesn't usually listen to such music for pleasure: is this the case with Rolo Tomassi? What bands are you enjoying, particularly, right now? **
Yeah, I'd agree. I think that's what helped us writing in the past and it’s certainly helping us write now. I mean, I like my fair share of Trencher and The Locust but I haven't been listening to that much heavy music recently. Currently in my stereo / on my turntable / on my iPod I’ve been enjoying I Was A Cub Scout, Stars, Bloc Party, Dizzee Rascal, The Birds Of Paradise and Don Caballero.
** With the members' ages so young, have you had any problems getting gigs in the past, or even when you've arrived for a show? Just how much of a hindrance are exams, etc? Can you ever foresee the band making enough bucks for its constituent parts to make a living, or are degree courses calling? **
We have had problems with a few venues in the past. Fortunately it’s only been like two out a 100 shows or something, but we've driven distances to be turned away as certain places have strict no under-18s policies. I'd say exams do hinder us to an extent, but a lot of people that would go to shows and put on shows are also doing the same exams that we're doing, so it’s not that big a deal. This year we're taking two months off for our exams, so we have a direct focus to get the grades we need for university as three of us have applied this year. Whether we definitely, definitely go in September is yet to be decided, but I couldn't ever really see the band making enough money for us to forget about everything else, so we're keeping our options open with applications.
Have any gigs past particularly stuck out in the memory, for reasons plus or minus? Care to explain…? **
Yeah, relating it back to the last question, we went to play in Birmingham with These Arms Are Snakes in December, only to be told the manager of the venue wouldn't let us all play because of our ages. We ended up setting up as a two-piece with me and Ed playing indoors, as we're both 18, and our bassist set up outside with the Snakes guys helping us with extensions to reach him. Needless to say it was an absolute shambles, but kind of funny nonetheless.
** The DiS bill on the 17th is pretty varied – have you had the chance to listen to the other bands, Down I Go and Manatees? Any thoughts? **
I had a quick listen to Down I Go on the ol' MySpace and they were pretty good. I liked the concept for their album. I've yet to hear Manatees but I've been told they're pretty crushing, so I'm looking forward to seeing them.
Rank these three programmes in order of preference: Shooting Stars, The Mighty Boosh and Harry Hill's TV Burp.
I hate them all! The two Joe's are pretty into Boosh but I've never gotten it myself. At a push I would say: Harry Hill, Shooting Stars and the Mighty Boosh.
_Rolo Tomassi play the DiS-curated DiScover Club at London’s Notting Hill Arts Club on February 17, from 4pm ‘til 8pm. Also on the bill are Manatees and Down I Go – see the top o this article for links to DiScover features on said acts. Appearing in a DJ capacity will be Darren Taylor (Rock Sound) and Holy Roar’s Alex and Ellen. The club’s free to enter, and is over-18s only – full details HERE.
Rolo Tomassi’s upcoming tour dates can be seen in full at their MySpace, here. Here are just a few of them:
16* Brighton* Core Club
17* London* DiScover Club @ Notting Hill Arts Club
23* Mansfield* Town Mill (with WhoresWhoresWhores)
24* Birmingham* Sunflower Lounge (with Trencher)
2* Nottingham* Rock City Basement (with I Was A Cub Scout)
30* London* Old Blue Last
7* Sheffield* Cricketer’s (with WhoresWhoresWhores)
8* Nottingham* Old Angel (with WhoresWhoresWhores)
13* Wolverhampton* The Planet
22* Pontefract* The Counting House
28* London* 333