RosAway's latest single entitled 'Walk' is a pop electro drum and flute groove.
I already told you about this atypical duo composed of Rachel Ombredane and Stéphane Avellaneda in one of the first portrait of the blog . We were to continue with an interview in good and due form but the agenda of these two young artists has literally taken off and especially with the release of their EP Stranger at the start of the year. They then went on tour, from France to Italy and soon to England, unrolling their electro pop jazz sounds and taking with them more and more people in their wake.
I am therefore very happy that they took the time between two dates to answer my questions with their usual kindness. It is a duet to discover urgently, because unique in its genre in the French musical landscape and which is promised to a good career, as bright, catchy and solar as their music and their personalities.
Rosaway exists since when and where does the name of the group come from?
It is difficult to date the start of this project because it has matured over a period of several months. However the first significant date for our duo is May 10, 2017 when our very first song / video was released: Golden River.
For the name of the group… it was not easy to find a name that resembled us, which summarized what we wanted to express, which gave us a group identity while keeping our two identities clean. Another parameter: we wanted an international name that everyone could pronounce in their language. This is how the idea of our initials to germinate… Ro for Rachel Ombredane, Sa for Stéphane Avellaneda and Way for our way of doing things… The fact that RoSaWay is a boulevard in Los Angeles was not to displease us either
How does a classical transverse flute cross the path of a drums with rock, jazz and blues accents to finally fly towards electro pop?
Quite naturally… our idea with RoSaWay was to share our vision of music, our musical background, our desire to test new things. Music has no boundaries except those that we give it ... The flute is neither classical, nor jazz, nor pop ... the same goes for the drums ... They are just two instruments, vectors of production of sounds… This shared vision of our instruments and music in general allows us to compose, play and understand our daily lives as a group. Finally, the hardest part of the meeting between the flute and the drums is to convince people that this mixture is obvious since it is only a question of music, of producing sounds, harmonies, rhythms…
Rosaway's sound is fairly new, a clever mix of electro, pop and also world music, but your voice Rachel and her lyrical accents give it a warmth that contrasts with the very structured side of the songs. This is particularly obvious on Raid the Radio.
What are your main musical influences but can also be literary, filmographic or pictorial?
It is always difficult for us to dissect, analyze or even put words on our music (that's why we chose to be musicians)… The arrival in our thirties is undoubtedly a turning point, a first assessment of experiences… And that may be that RoSaWay, an aggregation of experiences.
First musical ... our two careers are so different, it was not in the order of things that they intersect ... and then maybe only if finally.
Rachel: Stef shaped his “batteristique” language and built his career on stage, alongside the greatest of modern music: Ana Popovic, BB King, Jonny Lang, Tony Coleman… Fed up with bottle blues music, his years at the conservatory studied classical percussions had already mixed his approach and his playing. His entry on the international and more particularly American scene at 23 years finished determining his style. It is at this point that the sum of the knowledge gathered for almost 20 years seems to take on its meaning.
Stef: As for Rachel's career… it couldn't be more classic… Entering the conservatory at 5 years old, leaving at 27 years old. This course is dotted with competitions, hearings, exams, rehearsal hours, scales, arpeggios ... but also rigor, concentration, search for excellence ... with a watermark this desire always present and more and more important to go on stage and play music tailored to your desires, your feelings…
So that's the influences of RoSaWay: a sum of blues, rock, classic experiences, a huge desire to share the stage, and to seek new things, to exceed our limits. It is also influences from the performing arts: dance, cinema, theater…
Your image is also particularly worked on, whether in terms of clothing style but also in the staging of your clips and for your photos. Is this something you thought about from the start or did it come about by accident?
This is an aspect that we have worked on from the start. I even think it was one of the first things we thought of. Inventing / reinventing ourselves in terms of image is ultimately the necessary airlock that we need to separate our private lives from our RoSaWay life. We wanted to create a bubble apart and working with its own codes, its own language, its own grammar and the visual aspect seemed to us to be one of the central elements.
Tell me about your EP STRANGER which was released in March 2019. What should we expect musically? Because you opened your duo to Adam Ahuja, a multi-instrumentalist artist fond of electro and who uses the technique of live-looping a lot. Can you tell us about this collaboration?
Our new EP Stranger has just been released. He presents three titles: Stranger, Here comes the rain and Rhythm of the night . We added to these three songs our single Freedom, which we recorded in New York last May. We are so happy and proud that this EP is released under the American labels Infinity Gritty and Ropeadope.
We owe this unique opportunity to Adam Ahuja who by agreeing to collaborate with us last April during our recording session at Pinch Record Studio by recording the parts of Fender Rhodes, Moog and Prophets from our single Freedom, he entered in our musical universe and agreed to continue this adventure by creating the keyboard parts of the songs from our EP "Stranger".
Adam is a multidisciplinary artist, as are many American musicians. He is a pianist, keyboardist, guitarist, drummer ... all these caps give him a unique identity, a keen sense of creation and above all underscores his desire to create without borders or prejudice.
This new EP is more musically assertive than the songs we had been able to produce before. After a year of concerts, we have developed a certain confidence, broken with certain habits, developed new ideas of structures, sounds… This EP is undoubtedly closer to our two personalities.
If you had to choose a word to symbolize this EP, you would choose which one?
Its title: Stranger
Have you planned a tour this year?
The year 2019 is clearly the year of the first times: the first time that we played in Los Angeles (2 concerts), in Italy (3 concerts), in England (2 concerts)… and it seems that this year is in store for us other nice surprises…
Did you sign with a label or did you choose to be completely independent?
Our EP “Stranger” was released under the labels Infinitty Gritty and RopeaDope.
What did you use as a communication lever to make yourself known?
Everything that was available to us. Because they are easy to use and create real proximity to people, social networks are our preferred vector.
We are lucky that our music is also relayed by certain playlists and by radios (Fréquence Mistral, Radio Enghien, Radio Verdon, Air Show…). It's a pretty exhibition. We are very grateful to these media for placing their trust in us.
Are you a big social media user and why?
A big YES. By what we found there a beautiful community of artists and music lovers and / or art lovers in general.
Social networks are fun and sharing platforms.
Stef prefers Facebook, which he finds more family-friendly and feels closer to people, while I prefer Instagram, which seems more open to me and based more on the visual and aesthetics in general.
A question more related to your sensory experience. Describe in a word the feeling felt when you go on stage?
For having seen you on stage at the Supersonic, there is a real connection between you from the start to the end of the set and above all an incredible energy that emerges from your duo.
Did you work a lot before the staging or did it come during the shows?
This is a difficult question.
We are both big fans of the Show with a big S. We are crazy about music but when it comes to the stage the scenic dimension is very important to us. It obviously cannot escape the intrinsic musical quality but it seems to us that a concert which would forget this visual scenic aspect achieves only 70% of the objective.
It is therefore quite natural that our connection and this sense of show is established between us. However, do not lie, some things are thought, prepared, repeated, shaped ... say that the canvas is well prepared and honed which ultimately leaves even greater freedom at the time of the concert. Another important element also: we love to play together… We always surprise ourselves, it happens to us at each concert to have planned (more or less upstream) a surprise for the other which maintains our spontaneity and the desire to renew the 'experience !!!
What do you find in your ideal dressing room?
A sofa for me. The small stress of the front stage gives me a huge "coup de barre" !!! and a full fridge for Stef because this boy is a belly on legs.
Who can be found on your ideal stage?
The whole Snarky Puppy team, Cory Henry, John Legend, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, John Meyer … in fact they are already found in our ipods !!! on our ideal stage we find Stef and Rachel… but who knows in the future what will be our ideal stage?
If you had only one piece of advice to give to a young group just starting out, what would it be?
Dream big. Work hard. Never give up, Never.
The time has just stopped, you can choose the moment that changed your artistic life until today?
Rachel : the day I met the flute.
Stéphane : The day I received my Mickey battery.
It's time to go to Mars, what disc or book do you take with you in space?
As record: Mike Stern's upside downside. As books: The complete Harry Potter and the two volumes of The Night of Infamy by Michael Cox.
Finally, tell us about the most embarrassing, funny or unexpected moment in your career?
In NYC last April. End of our concert at RockWood Music Hall. Debrief with friends and there…: “Oh my god i love this song… I can't understand what you're talking about but i like it it's exotic”…
That moment when we realized that the words of this song had no meaning in English ... Gigantic giggle ...
Reprinted by Permission of Fred: