Anyone who checks in with No Country on a regular basis should already know all about reggae rockers Roots of a Rebellion. If for some reason you haven’t heard of them yet, all you really need to know is they’ve had an amazing 2016, including a kick ass set at Bonnaroo. Never ones to rest on their laurels, they’re releasing a brand spanking new record entitled A Brother’s Instinct today, and they are celebrating this momentous occasion with an album release show Saturday, July 9 at Exit/In with help from Backup Planet and Omega Swan. Tickets are just $7-$12, and, as popular as these guys are becoming, they likely won’t last.
We were lucky enough to get an early listen to the LP, and we are pleased to report that they are only improving on their already established uniqueness. Their sound blends elements of dub era reggae, rock, hearty brass and even elements of hip hop, all adding to the irie vibes within the growing Tennessee Reggae movement. Right from the opening track, “No Control”, where they blast you with brass, it’s obvious that we are dealing with a band who knows what they’re doing. On the next song, “Stronger”, they discuss the perils of finding some success through a more spoken word lyrical delivery. They follow that up with the first single, “Peace & Love” which is strictly feel good reggae/rock vibes, while still relaying a strong message. Heavily dub influenced instrumental tracks “Half Full”, “Rebel Reprise”, and “Dub Control” also stand out on a very, very bad ass record that you need in your life.
We recently sat down with ROAR members Austin Smith & Marco Martinez to talk about their crazy huge year, music, and handling the grind. So if you can’t get enough ROAR, read on after the jump for a full interview. Also don’t forget to get the record digitally, or otherwise, and check them out live if you are in Nashville this weekend!
No Country: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us to talk. We’ve been writing about you guys for a while now, since you opened for Trombone Shorty back in November 2014. What’s it been like from that point up until where you are at now?
Austin Smith: It’s been awesome! I mean No Country For New Nashville is like the perfect blog for a band like us. There’s so much other music, besides country music, in Nashville, and I think ya’ll do an awesome job of revealing that to people outside of Nashville and the scene within.
Marco Martinez: I think there’s been plenty of conversation going around Nashville forever about country music. It’s good to highlight everything else.
AS: And back to what you were saying … We’re grinding constantly. Whether we’re rehearsing, or trying to take care of the business end to keep the dream alive. There definitely is an element of ‘wow, this is La La Land’ when you do things like play Hang Out Music Festival and Bonnaroo. Hang Out was definitely La La Land. They had a private beach for the artists. Open bar. We’re just hanging out with Brittany from Alabama Shakes, she lives in East Nashville now. Super cool, super down to earth.
NC: Tells us a little bit about your experience performing at Bonnaroo.
MM: Bonnaroo was great man. As you guys know, since you covered it, we did the Road To Roo thing and won. We went into that whole thing really unsure if we wanted to do it, because it was five hometown shows, and it was only three songs a pop, and it’s super weird to be competing with people your friends with and fans of. But it was really cool to see the different fan groups that came out for these different bands. The overlap, I think, really helped a lot of bands, including us. The experience (on The Farm) was great. We had a killer slot, we weren’t overlapped with any big headliners, it was packed. I think it was us, then Bully played This Tent right after.
NC: They’re also local, can you talk a little about the local scene here in Nashville, and what you like to listen to?
MM: I’m a huge fan of the whole Infinity Cat thing. It’s inspiring. When we were just starting out, in school together (at Belmont), I was watching a lot of those bands like Diarrhea Planet and JEFF, Heavy Cream and just Infinity Cat in general, and how they built, most importantly, their community, rather than building any one band. They built fans of that entire label, and every band associated with it. That was a huge inspiration for how we wanted to build our community based around Tennessee Reggae, and just reggae influenced bands. Focus on building up the over-all community.
NC: Very nice, and we are big fans of all things Infinity Cat too. So with so much happening for you guys in 2016, are you surprised? Is it hard to keep perspective?
MM: I’m surprised to think about all the times we sat down to brainstorm creative ideas for events and things, and it’s actually working. It makes us want to keep working even harder.
AS: I mean Hang Out, Bonnaroo, and releasing this album is all super hype stuff, and we’ve had a very hype last couple months, but we try not to get too caught up in that. Even some of our friends or fans are like, ‘oh my God, you guys are blowing up!’ And it’s like thank you, I know what you’re trying to say, but we’re not trying to blow up; we’re trying to build up. We just want to focus on our music, and the message, and the community we have. And that’s really what it all comes down to. That’s the only goal, is to keep it going, and keep growing.
NC: Awesome. Thanks for your time and all you’re doing for the local scene. It’s been fun to watch your following grow, and we’re looking forward to the release show.
Roots of A Rebellion will be having their record release show this Saturday (July 9) at Exit/In with help from Backup Planet, and Omega Swan. Doors for this 18+ show open at 8 pm (music starts at 8:30) and tickets are available for $7-$12.