Download: Rolo Tomassi Interview

They’ve just wowed crowds at the SlamDunk festival and now Rolo Tomassi are preparing to take their summer festival assault to the next level with what promises to be a blistering 35-minute blast on The Ronnie James Dio stage at Download.

rushonrock‘s Tom Walsh caught up with Joe Nicholson and Edward Dutton ahead of their eagerly anticipated Saturday lunchtime set.

And it seems there’s just no stopping the RT crew with new album Cosmology securing critical acclaim and winning the typically hardcore band a new legion of rock and metal converts.

Throw in the fact that their lead singer is one of the hottest women in rock and you’ve got no excuses for missing a band we’re tipping to steal the show early doors on Day Two. Read on for the full interview…

rushonrock: How did it feel to play Slam Dunk?

Edward Dutton: We’ve got a lot of friends in Leeds and then some travelled over from Sheffield so yeh it was pretty fun to be playing Slam Dunk.  Slam Dunk South was a little disorganised but I won’t dwell on that.

Joe Nicholson: A lot of people were getting locked out of places and I managed to get caught up in all that.  I got shut in a room that I really didn’t want to be in.  As soon as I walked in there was a stampede towards the door and then they shut the door so we couldn’t get out.

ED: We played indoors at Leeds so that was a lot better and there was no rain to interfere with anything.

rushonrock: Your new album Cosmology has just been released.  Who would you say has influenced you on this record?

JN: It’s not just one person that has influenced the whole album – there are so many different influences that have contributed to the album.  I write a lot stuff on my computer and then take it to the band and we put the elements together.

ED: I think when we’re altogether writing and we’re putting a lot of Joe’s ideas together we listen to what makes us tick, work out what we think works well and then just add them altogether.

rushonrock: How would say the new album is different from your last album Hysterics?

JN: It’s a lot more complete sounding.  The flow of the songs is much better.  There are a lot more pretty bits!

ED: It’s hard to describe without avoiding clichés but it’s definitely a much stronger sound.  It’s more defined but at the same time without compromising our variations and it just sounds more complete and more like a song I guess.

rushonrock: When you first came into the public eye you toured with bands like The Bronx, Fucked Up and Gallows.  Do you class yourself with hardcore bands such as these?

ED: Even before those days we were touring with a lot of DIY hardcore bands.  We kind of took a lot of ideas from the whole ‘making your own record thing’ by putting together a lot of tapes and CDs and just constantly releasing them.  In that respect I would definitely class ourselves as part of a hardcore scene but in mentality rather than style.  We’re not a straight-up hardcore band and we’re never going to be like that.

rushonrock: How would you describe yourselves?

JN: We’re almost like a prog band, like a prog hardcore band.  It’s heavy but it’s progressive.  It’s not really prog and it’s not really hardcore.

rushonrock: You’ve recently been playing some huge shows supporting Biffy Clyro and you’re also booked to open the NME tent at Leeds and Reading Festivals and of course Download.  How do you feel about doing shows of this magnitude?

ED: The Biffy Clyro shows were amazing.  We didn’t know what to expect we were just excited to be playing these big venues with a big band.  Biffy were really nice and a lot of their fans seemed to take to us.  We were expecting a few boos and grief from the audience but they seemed to enjoy it.

JN: Biffy are also a very progressive band in a way and a lot of their fans are a bit more mature.  They have a very wide range of fans.

ED: They are very much a band’s band and have become a very popular mainstream band yet they have earned a lot of credibility from within the music scene for that they have achieved.

rushonrock: Do you think the band has enough longevity to last another 10-15 years?

JN: If we start making money!

ED: Yeah it’d be nice if it was sustainable.  It all depends on how the next couple of albums go. I mean we’re only 20/21 and we’re only two albums in.  We’ve still got lots of things we want to accomplish.  We want to do a proper US tour, our records haven’t been released properly over there so we want to go there and tour.  We want to go to Japan, go back to Australia and tour Europe more.  Essentially we just want to travel more and make more friends.

JN: We want to go to unusual places.  People keep trying to put us on in Russia, it’s not just a case of ‘going for it’ we need to make some money out of it at the same time.

ED: With the music we play we wonder why it’s so insanely popular but we’ll push our luck as much as possible.

rushonrock: What are you currently listening to?

ED: Well the battery’s (on his Ipod) pretty low (laughs) but at the moment I’m listening to the whole King Crimson back catalogue.

JN: Looks like we’re both going to go for really old stuff.  I’m listening to Reload by Yes.  I don’t want to say anything modern without any bias.

ED: I’ve got the new Trash Talk record and in the van last night we listened to the Diplo/La Roux remix album.  That’s so good.

I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.

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