Rogue Wave hits the shore with an eclectic blend of pop/rock, folk and alternative indie. At first listen, the music seems subtle and soothing. Take in a live show, however, and it’s clear that the band is full of energy and passion. Rogue Wave released their latest album Permalight earlier this year to high critical acclaim and the welcoming ears of fans and concert attendees. Check out what frontman Zach Schwartz (now known as Zach Rogue) had to say about the Rogue Wave sound, their new album and even their role in a major motion picture.
OS: You started Rogue Wave after some unfortunate career issues. Does this frustration (or perhaps relief) still find its way into your music?
ZR: Things have changed so much since those days. I’m pretty far removed from my time in the cubicle and I have no sense of bitterness about it. At this point, I barely remember it and am more interested in just trying to keep my sanity in the music world.
OS: You guys covered “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs early last year for the Sweetheart compilation, and it was a really nice realization of the song. How did you choose which love song to cover and what went into arranging it for Rogue Wave?
ZR: I just remember being really moved by that song and thought it would be interesting to examine love from the female perspective. I wasn’t too sure about the arrangement until we got into the studio. It became clear about the direction the song would take once Pat and I got into tracking it, and we just trusted our instincts. That whole build at the end was pretty spontaneous.
OS: You played yourselves in Love Happens last year. What was it like performing in a major Hollywood movie.
ZR: We shot that scene in San Diego, but Jennifer Aniston/Aaron Eckhart’s scene was shot in Seattle, I believe. We were on the road opening for Jack Johnson at the time, and the director asked if we could shoot at some point during the tour. So that was shot during an actual show of ours. We were just told not to mess up, since they obviously couldn’t re-shoot.
OS: The band’s stage presence is one your most striking qualities. Any pre-show rituals to get in the zone before heading out there?
ZR: We like to share a small cocktail and sing together with an acoustic guitar. Either something of ours to warm up our voices or some song we all know. Its nice to just sing and think about the show and spend some time together.
OS: The new album Permalight seems to have a heavier, more electric vibe. How do you mix these songs in with your older, more folk/rock-oriented songs on tour?
ZR: When the record first came out, we would play all the new songs at the beginning of the set, but we have slowly started mixing it up more. I think the new album’s difference from the others has been largely overstated and it becomes more evident when you hear our set. There are a few dancier jams in there, but I think it makes the set more diverse and exciting.
OS: You played the Treasure Island Music Festival this year. Originally being from Oakland, do you guys feel a strong connection to a festival like this that celebrates the Bay Area?
ZR: Absolutely. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for most of my life, so being asked to participate in local festivals and feeling a relevant connection to the music of the Bay Area is very meaningful. We don’t play locally as much as we did when we started, so when we get those chances, it is a big deal to us.
Rogue Wave just finished up their Fall dates at the Treasure Island Music Festival. Keep an eye out for more shows this winter.