With their somewhat psyche somewhat dance music and casual coolness, Roosevelt isn't going anywhere. After a killer year of touring with bands like Hot Chip, this Germany-based group has proved themselves to be one of the next big things in electron music. I loved their Fun Fun Fun Fest set and assure you that 2016 is going to be a big year for them.
I sat down to talk to the front man, Marius Lauber, about what is to come for Roosevelt.
How did you get the name Roosevelt? I know you're from Cologne, so it always makes me laugh that you chose such a distinctly American name.
Marius: it was really just one of these things where I needed a name. I actually already had one show booked, and I really needed a name for the project I was producing. I was producing tracks and just came across the name.
By opening up and American history text book?
Not even, it was just the soft sound of the name. It fits; it's just a good band name.
One of the things I'm writing about is how musicians have changed over the time since they first became interested in music TK. How different were you in high school?
When I was growing up and starting to get into music, there was really a point where it was only affordable to build your own studio. That whole culture of "bedroom producers" hasn't existed for too long. When I was sixteen and seventeen it really happened where you could easily just by a laptop and two speakers to produce music and reach millions of people.
What about your relationships in high school?
I wasn't making music to get girls, but I think it was part of it. But right when I started I tried to detach from doing music just for the fame, but I think a big part of it is to be part of something, to be part of a scene and to matter. I think you can't deny that's a big part of it. I wouldn't say because of girls, but for me it was always to be part of it.
Did you have a lot of friends who were making music in high school and beyond? Were you making music with them?
Yeah, it was more about being in the practice room and jamming. But now it's more about the production.
You were pretty much making music out of your bedroom. Were you putting it on the Internet with Soundcloud or anything?
Yeah, I grew up with MySpace, around when I was seventeen or eighteen. It just developed. There's so much music around now, which I think is really positive. A lot of people that think that it's too easy to do music now, but most of the people my age think it's very good because you can express yourself without having to go into a big studio.
That's such an influential thing: having this access to music that is so universal, especially for teenagers and young people because they can work in music without having to pursue it professionally.
Who did you listen to as a teenager?
I was really more into rock, like the first Strokes album and things like that. Also British indie bands in the early 2000s. I was just starting to play different instruments. I had piano lessons as a child, but then branched out and was playing guitar and drums somewhat at the same time. It was that kind of naive, just going to an instrument and playing, and that's still what I'm doing. I'm just trying to figure out how to play. I think I'm not really good at anything, like really, really good.
You're a jack of all trades.
Yes, exactly. That's the advantage of modern studios, like a home studio. You can figure out how to do things.
Exactly. How has your music process changed from then to now? Were you more experimental or more methodical?
I had a very basic set up, just a laptop and a small keyboard. And now I have my own studio with drums, percussion, synthesizers and guitars. Somehow that is the other way around, I appreciated how to do music really fast and easy and now I'm moving fast to making music with actual instruments. It can get quite sterile and digital, almost too cold. To really give soul to the music, I started using my own instruments again.
What head space are you in while you're making this music? What do you think you'll be producing in the next year?
I pretty much finished my album right now, so I was in a time of being in the studio without sleep. It was pretty crazy, just sleeping in the studio for a few hours. That period is kind of over and I get to play live again, with a healthy sleep rhythm and everything.
How is it being on the road? Is it hard to process everything?
Yes, especially us going to the states. This isn't my first tour in the US, we played a tour in July and we've been to Austin for South by Southwest. We only flew in for this show and play half an hour. The relation between how long you travel and how long you're actually on the stage is pretty crazy.
It feels like a surreal ratio. But, are you doing anything fun in Austin while you're here?
Pretty much just in and out. I haven't even really had a look at the festival, only a little bit.
Are there any bands you want to see?
I saw part of Neon Indian, and I'm a big fan. I'm looking forward to Grimes tonight also.
Besides that, who are you listening to now?
The new Neon Indian album I love. I'm really into St. Lucia. I'm excited for their new album. It's always like you have to remember who you're listening to.
People always ask me who I'm listening to and I never know what to say. It's not really something you think of specifically.
Exactly. Our drummer is also the drummer for Holy Ghost!, and I love them...
I'll look at my Spotify and see who I'm listening to. There's this new guy called LA Priest, and he's pretty amazing.
Have y'all toured with anybody else or always solo shows?
We're about to do a run with Hot Chip in Europe. We've toured with other bands just a couple of times, because I guess when you start you playing it's easier that way.
I'm excited to watch y'all with Hot Chip. Do you like making music in the studio or being here at the festival more?
It's just about the balance. I can't let one of these two worlds gets too small and there's not enough time for one. It's about the balance. I couldn't just do music on my own and not play. But then also, if I'm on the road for too long, I desperately want to go home.
Last question: what is your go-to hangover cure?
A lot of ginger, actually. I just realized that when we had a show and I was quite hungover, I used it for my voice, but it also cleaned the toxins out.