For many the debut full-length (‘Backbone’) from Eastbourne pop punks ROAM has been coming for a long time. Nevertheless to the relief of the band and their growing number of fans, ‘Backbone’, is finally out for all to hear.
Having released their second EP, ‘Viewpoint’ 12 months ago, the quintet spent 2015 splitting their time on the road with the likes of State Champs, Enter Shikari, Set It Off and Man Overboard in the UK, Europe and North America, and in the studio with regular collaborator Drew Lawson writing and recording ‘Backbone’.
The album shows development from the five-piece’s brand of booming, fast-paced pop punk yet maintains the youthful energy of past releases. Favourable songs like ‘Deadweight’, ‘Hopeless Case’ and ‘All The Same’ prove to be punchy and are firmly rooted in the pop punk formula. Whereas ‘R.I.P In Peace’ and ’ Tell Me’ offer a more varied approach in structure and sees ROAM push themselves.
So with ‘Backbone’ receiving a positive response from fans and critics, the quintet are now hitting the road. They’re currently in Europe and will be back in the UK next month to tour alongside the influential Sum 41. Shortly before they headed overseas, Already Heard spoke to guitarist Sam Veness about ‘Backbone’, the pressure of making the album, working with producer Drew Lawson again, the challenge of playing with “non-pop punk” bands and more.
AH: So ‘Backbone’ is out now. How are things in the Roam camp? Excited? Were you nervous?
Sam: I was so excited, it was nearly exactly a year since we released anything so couldn’t wait to show what we had been working on and finally play some new songs live!
AH: It feels like the album has been a long time coming. It must be a relief to finally have it out there?
Sam: It’s such a relief! We started working on this just over a year ago so it’s taken awhile, but we wanted to make sure it was ready. You only get one chance to release your debut album, so we wanted to make sure it was right. We also toured quite a bit, so it was hard to record between them so took awhile. I’m so happy with how it came out and that people can finally hear it.
AH: You’ve been one of the most talked about emerging bands over the past 18 months, especially with the UK pop punk scene. Did that attention add extra pressure or expectations when you were making the album?
Sam: We want our fans to like the album and there is a certain amount of pressure from that, but we wrote the album that we wanted to release. Which I think shows as we changed our sound a little in certain songs and get away slightly from what we have previously done.
AH: In between sessions for the album, you toured with the likes of State Champs and Set It Off. Has having that touring experience help develop the bands overall sound?
Sam: Personally I wouldn’t say that the tours helped but having time away certainty did. It gave us some time to reflect on what we’d done before continuing with the next part of the recording.
AH: You worked with Drew Lawson (Steel City Studios) again. Did having that friendship and trust with Drew help enhance the record?
Sam: Yeah for sure Drew is our boy so we were comfortable for the entire process which I think is super important as well as us being honest with each. He definitely would say if something was completely shit haha.
AH: When you began writing the record, did you have specific aims?
Sam: Like I said, from the start we wanted to experiment somewhat with our sound. Not completely change it but try some darker songs and slow songs for example, which is the great thing about an album. It gives musicians the chance to try out other ideas when EP’s can be too short to do so.
AH: What other bands from the scene would you recommend?
We got some great friends in Water Canvas, The Holiday and Fierce Morgan.
AH: You’re following the album with a tour alongside Sum 41, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Biters. With the lineup being an eclectic mix of genres and styles, do you like the challenge of playing to people who may not necessarily like your music?
Sam: Yeah I really enjoy it, I kind of like the challenge to hopefully win people over. We’ve done some tours and shows the we definitely don’t necessarily fit on, we’ve done shows with Demoraliser and Palm Reader before but they’re still fun shows and sometimes we get a few new fans.
AH: I understand Sum 41 are one of your longtime influences. You must be pretty excited to be sharing a stage with them?
Sam: Oh it’s insane. It’s so amazing to me that the first time I’ll be seeing them will be the time that we support them. Honestly can’t wait!
AH: With festival season happening sooner rather than later, can we expect to see plenty of Roam this summer?
Sam: We’ve got plenty of stuff booked up all year round so we’re going to be around quite a bit!
’Backbone’ by ROAM is out now on Hopeless Records
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)