Q & A w/ Rogue Wave
From their recent album release Permalight and a supporting tour to shooting music videos in the Salton Sea, the dudes of the Bay Area's very own Rogue Wave are pretty busy to say the least. As a solid staple on the indie music agenda, their fifth album doesn't cease to disappoint with familiar acoustic guitar melodies, mixed around with the new sounds of synth. We were lucky enough to catch up with Zach Rogue from the road in Salt Lake City, Utah to discuss all of the above, along with their show at the Fillmore on Friday April 30th, life theories, and being vegetarian.
You guys are on the road right now?
Zach Rogue: Yep - I'm in Salt Lake City, looking out at the mountains covered in snow.
Any highlights from the road?
ZR: So many... It's been a great tour. Cities like Tulsa, Houston, some cities where we haven't played that much before have been amazing crowds. We're really happy with the way things are going.
I'm sure you're excited to come back home.
ZR: Oh yeah. I've been missing home. We just love being at the Fillmore - I actually had a dream about it last night, but it hasn't really happened yet. We couldn't have played it yet - so yeah, I'm really excited.
What's the first thing you do when you get home from tour?
ZR: Just hang out with my daughter. Go outside, go hiking, ride bikes, playing...
Any food you've been craving? In-N-Out?
ZR: We actually eat pretty well on the road. The nice thing about the bus is that we can keep things in the refrigerator. A lot of us are vegetarian. I've discovered now, since being a vegetarian, that when you go to a town that you're not familiar with all you do is ask where the vegetarian restaurants are and invariably that's where the healthier food, where all the weirdos hang out in town - which is where we're way more comfortable anyways.
What can fans expect at your upcoming show at the Fillmore?
ZR: Hopefully they'll put their party pants on. They should plan on moving around a little more than they did before.
Is there any song that you particularly look forward to playing live?
ZR: I've really been enjoying playing the song "Permalight". I thought it would be kind of hard to pull off in terms of having that fun spirit to it. Ian from Man/Miracle, who we're touring with, played on the record. So, it's pretty neat that he's out here with us, and he comes out and joins us for that. It's been a fun way to end the night.
I didn't know if it would be a cohesive show with a lot of the new songs, but it's actually been a really nice blend - it's made for a nice arc.
The new album's pretty upbeat, and even described as "dancy" - what else separates Permalight from past albums?
ZR: I don't really look at it as a separation. With song writing, and being in a band, it's a continual process. It's just this linear thing that keeps going on and on, so I think the record is a little more cohesive, it's shorter, and a lot more direct. I think that the new structure and lyrics are a little clearer. It's the kind of record, like our first album, that you can listen to in one sitting.
Where did the name of the album come from?
ZR: It didn't really come from one thing. I was trying to get a point across, of trying to be a little more present in doing what I do, and how we look at things. The song "Permalight" is supposed to be about not wanting the night to be over, and clinging to what we have right now. I wrote that song at a time when I wasn't sure if I could play music anymore, and so when I started playing the guitar again I felt this life force in a sense of restlessness and excitement that I could play music again. I think it's just about being present - just because we may have a dark environment surrounding us, it doesn't mean we can't be hopeful for a better tomorrow.
So does the video for "Good Morning" kind of mimic your theory with "Permalight?" It seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun. What's the background story with that?
ZR: I wanted it to be a little more dystopic. That song is a little more cryptic and dark - it's kind of a sci-fi type of song. Some of the underpinning of the lyrics in that song have humans and machines co-existing and it's all sensually intertwined. But there's also this pulsing sexuality, and you get a sense of that in the video. We shot it in the Salton Sea in Southern California. We wanted to have this arid landscape where there's no forms of life. It looks abandoned - and I liked that with the juxtaposition of the environment of two lovers that are seemingly not bothered by the apocalyptic surroundings - that they're still trying to care about each other and enjoy their time.
Do you have any favorite songs off the album?
ZR: Not really, I'm actually very pleased with how the song "Fear Itself" turned out. I had a demo that Pat and I did together, and there were certain time signature changes on it that I felt kind of confused by, and it seemed like it was two songs at once. I wasn't sure if it really worked in the song. But when we started working with our producer, he really encouraged us to not abandon the time signature changes and he created this synth string arrangement to put the two pieces together, so I was really pleased that they could co-exist. I'm hoping that someday we can play that song live with an orchestra. I think that would be really cool.
Any new projects, or anything in the works?
ZR: There's a few things I'm working on, but I'm not ready to talk about them yet.
Any plans for the summer? We noticed you were playing a couple festivals.
ZR: We're gonna be out in the summer, we're just trying to figure out and finalize the routing plans. We need some personal time because we've been out since February, so we need a little bit of re-charging in May, and maybe tweak the set a little bit. I don't want to be on the road all the time, I wanna work on some stuff on my own in the early summer - but once we get deep into the summer we're gonna be pretty busy the rest of the year touring.