Rooney’s back and their new album has everyone saying “Eureka!” As both the name of their new album and a statement of independence, Eureka is the culmination of a long journey for the four-piece California band. It’s been a while since fans have heard from the band, but after a long awaited break from their major label, Rooney is back on track and happy to be doing their own thing for once. Their latest release is proof of this. With catchy pop hooks and honest enthusiasm, Rooney keeps up with their signature sound all while showcasing more mature and in touch writing.
With the boys reaching a new level of confidence and pride, fans are taking notice. OurStage got the chance to catch up with Rooney’s Taylor Locke (guitar, harmonies) t0 talk about their upcoming tour with Hanson, their newly declared freedom and advice for other artists.
OS: With your latest release, Eureka, you’ve declared independence by recording and producing it on your own. What has the road to freedom from a major label been like?
TL: Getting out of our old deal was a stressful and slow process. We are happy to be an independent entity now, and it suits us much better. The major label system is dated and corrupt and non-conducive to creativity.
OS: The title of the album seems to point towards the moment of breaking free from a major label’s control. But what does “Eureka” mean to you?
TL: “Eureka” is a word that appears on the California state seal. It has a regal look and sound to it. I suppose it means pride. We are proud to have made this album ourselves, and to be a band without ties to a major label.
OS: The album shows your maturity especially in your lyrics, yet maintains that catchiness and pop feel of your previous albums. How has your growth shown through the writing on the album?
TL: Most of the songs are by Robert. Like any songwriter, he has a bag of tricks that he pulls from, but naturally he’s always going to want to try new things too. The combination of striving to do something different and not repeat yourself, yet maintaining some staple go-to styles, shapes the identity of the writing. I think most artists want their music to be both expressive and catchy. When you can show a part of yourself and also craft a hook, it’s a winning combo.
OS: What was it like self-producing and recording the album?
TL: It was freeing to self-produce. We’ve done so much recording with a handful of great producers, so we took with us the best techniques from each of them and made the record how we wanted to. In a sense, we didn’t produce ourselves— we produced each other. Whether it was somebody coaching me through a guitar solo, or somebody giving Robert feedback on a vocal performance, we took turns and made sure everything was sounding good.
OS: That sounds like a lot of fun. Your new video for “I Can’t Get Enough” looks like it was a great time as well. With all of this moving forward from the past, why go with such a retro, yet awesome, feel for your “I Can’t Get Enough” video?
TL: The video relied heavily on special effects treatments that were done in post-production. Therefore, we had to trust the director’s vision completely, because we wouldn’t know what it looked like until it was finished. It was a leap of faith, and we’re glad that it’s getting favorable reactions.
OS: You guys have always been very fun and imaginative in your blogs and videos. Have you come up with any creative ways to promote Eureka?
TL: We have an epic US tour coming up. We’ll be out there for 9 weeks. As for the techy online stuff, we’ll be using all the networks that everyone uses these days—Facebook blasting and tweeting every five.
OS: Speaking of touring, you’ve toured with a lot of very prominent pop rock bands before. Which bands have been your biggest mentors or friends on the road?
TL: It was exciting to open for The Strokes because they had just really broken wide open. The shows had so much vitality to them. They played like they really meant it. They were riding a huge success wave at that moment and they were having a shitload of fun. The Donnas were also great to be on the road with, because they’ve been together for so long and they are incredibly respectful and friendly people. It was always great to play with The Redwalls, because I never get sick of watching them. Their songs are so cool and they sing so well. Speaking of great singing, The Bridges are another great group to be on the road with. They’re excellent and I miss seeing them. I like touring with girl bands. They smell better.
OS: Agreed! You guys always put on a great, energetic live show. When supporting Hanson on tour this summer, there will be OurStage local winners playing as well. What advice do you have for these up-and-coming bands while sweating it out on stage?
TL: Starting at 5am you’ll want to do Bikram Yoga. You should sweat out at least 7 lbs. Then you’ll want to find the nearest organic macrobiotic market and buy some raw fruits and vegetables for the day. At this point, it’s best to take a 10 mile jog, and then immediately do 500 sit ups. After that you’ll be ready for a cold plunge. Find the nearest spa and shock your system by jumping into a small pool of nearly freezing water. After that you can shower. Use an exfoliating gel-scrub. Make sure it’s organic, too. Once you’ve dried off and put on a clean outfit that you’ve never worn before, it’s best to read the first 200 pages of an extremely dense novel, in a single sitting. Since your mind is already opened at that point, it’ll be just the right time to practice a new language. Pick something that’s both tonal and character-based, because you love the challenge. When your Cantonese lesson is over, you’ll want to look at the stock market, make some trend forecasts, and tweak your portfolio a little. Shift some money around. Then you’ll want to call all of your living relatives, and have a meaningful talk with each of them. Finally, you’ll take the stage and play a very focused show. You wont make any mistakes, and you’ll look natural and at-ease up there. After the standing ovation and triple encore, you’ll have no problem calming your adrenalin in a natural, drug-free way and drifting off to sleep. This rigorous touring lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it sure works for me.
Check out Rooney on tour all summer long and get pumped up with “I Don’t Wanna Lose You” as a free download on their Web site.