Started in 2012, ROAM is one of the most successful pop-punk bands of their generation. The UK five-peace earn its international recognition in 2014 after signing with Hopeless Records, while taking the top shelf space in the pop-punk scene after 2016 debut LP 'Backbone.' Last October, ROAM released a follow-up - 'Great Heights & Nosedives' to even more acclaim from both, fans and critics. In between their tours, we used the opportunity to catch up with bassist Matt Roskilly for a quick interview.
You finished 2017 touring Europe with Stand Atlantic and started 2018 touring with them in Australia. How was that experience, especially the Australian part?
Matt: It was an absolute pleasure touring with those guys! We got on really quickly and it was a lot of fun taking them all over Europe and the UK for our headline shows, and then getting to visit their side of the world was fun as expected. I think Australia is easily one of our collective favorite countries, and getting to go in the summertime while we've been getting used to the UK winter was great.
In your own experience, can you compare the crowd in Australia, in the UK and Europe?
Matt: It's hard to compare crowds to each other, people everywhere kinda go for it in their own ways. Australia, we are always just so happy to be there that we could be playing to an empty room and be happy. Luckily, that hasn't ever been the case and people always like to jump around and have a sing-along. Europe is always a good time, we've been all over a load and every time we go it gets better and better. Then, of course, were from the UK and people seem to always have a good time there, I wouldn’t like to compare them all though, we just love playing everywhere.
Next month, you will hit the road, and support Tonight Alive on their European tour. What do you expect from it, and how different will it be for you comparing to your last EU tour?
Matt: Yeah, we are really excited for this one, it’ll be really cool to do a bigger UK tour as main support as we haven’t done that in a while. We’ve met the Tonight Alive guys a few times when we were on Warped Tour in 2016, and also when we were over in Australia this time so we’re very excited to hang out. It’ll be different because the last tour was a headline run which adds a lot of pressure as well as a longer set, so I'm looking forward to doing a more chill tour. It’s also a lot of fun having the opportunity to try and hype the crowd up for the headline band so were all looking forward to that part of it, too.
So, on the first sight, your story kinda sounds like a typical pop-punk scenario – you come from the relatively small town, follow your dreams and get to world domination. How far is that from the truth, and what is your real story?
Matt: Well, that's kinda the plan we wanted to lay out for ourselves. When we started the band we were all from the same town and set out to see how far we could take it, while playing the style of music we all grew up listening to. As far as the cliche of hating your hometown goes we don't relate to that, I personally love spending time at home, we’re all pretty lucky to live in a really pretty party of the country. I don't know about "World Domination" but we definitely came here to have a good time and if that ends up happening we won't complain.
Since Busted and McFly in the early 2000s, all the way to Neck Deep in 2013/14. the UK hasn’t had an internationally successful pop-punk band, but things dramatically changed in last few years. Do you have any idea why? Looking from outside, it seems like you all have a great relationship with each other. How can one band's success help the others?
Matt: I'm not sure how it all happened, to be honest. Once a couple of bands started getting their names out there, it paved the way for an influx of great pop-punk bands to grow. A lot of the bands in the scene started out playing tiny shows together up and down the country, so a lot of people just became friends that way. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together and showing support for each other is a great way to expose more people to everybody's music. If the scene grows it can only be a good thing! The UK scene is in a great place at the moment and I couldn’t be happier that we've been a part of it.
As a band who is on the scene for some time now, do you ever feel that pop-punk sometimes get underestimated by fans of other subgenres, but also by promoters, festivals, and media?
Matt: I don’t think it gets underestimated at all, if you look at most festival bills the lineups are slowly gaining more and more “pop-punk” bands as the years go on. Not to mention magazines like Kerrang! and Rock Sound constant coverage of pop-punk bands. It's an exciting time.
Three months ago you released your new album 'Great Heights & Nosedives,' successfully overcoming the "sophomore slumber." Are you happy with the reactions from the fans and the media?
Matt: Thank you, I'm glad you think so! It’s a lot of pressure to release the second album, people have high expectations and we wanted to make it the best it could be, obviously. We are very happy with how the albums been received. Most of our fans seem to enjoy the progression and we've also had people specifically tell us they didn’t like our previous stuff but they are really into 'Great Heights and Nosedives,' which is really cool to hear.
Can you tell me more about the writing process? How different was it from the working on ‘Backbone’? Did you feel any pressure because of your previous success?
Matt: We definitely took everything a bit more seriously this time around. When it came to writing we set aside about four practices a week where we would solely write songs together, we also spent a lot of time demoing to make sure we could smooth everything out before we entered the studio. Also, this was the first time we've worked with a producer and Kyle Black really pushed us and the songs to the best we and they could be. ‘Backbone’ was a learning curve for us where we were still a bit all over the place with what kind of vibe we wanted to put forward, whereas this time we have a defined sense of direction, which I strongly believe you can hear in the record.
For this record, once again you worked with Hopeless Records. How is it to work with them, and how supportive they are when it comes to young bands like you were when you started working with them?
Matt: Hopeless is a great label with a solid team to support their bands. They understand how the scene progresses and are really supportive of younger bands, which obviously, worked out for us. We signed to them a good few years back, when we only had a couple EPs out, and they helped push us further than we could ever do ourselves.
A few years ago, I did an interview with Sam and asked him about your name. He told me the story of scrolling through the iPod and stopping on ’Roam’ by The Story So Far. So, if you took your name from The Story So Far's song, and they took theirs from New Found Glory's song, can we expect the new band named after ROAM's song? When that happens, what do you think, which one will it be?
Matt: Funnily enough, I've seen a couple bands online, one was called Safeguard and the other was Head Rush. Whether they're related to us I don’t know, but they sounded pretty good so that's cool either way!