Roosevelt looks back on his top five tour memories
Sometimes in life you have to shake things up, flip the script, try some new things. That’s exactly what German-based indie-electronic producer ROOSEVELT has done with his brand new single ‘Under the Sun’ – the first taste of his sophomore LP Young Romance which is due out in September.
Roosevelt‘s self titled debut was electro-pop firmly rooted in club culture, with evocative four-to-the-floor rhythms powering emotive synths and Roosevelt‘s striking vocals. With ‘Under the Sun’ we see the producer trying out a breezy, more pop focused style. It’s still as dance-y and still as powerful, but it has a tighter focus on uplifting ear worm hooks to sink your teeth into. The album is set to feature a collaboration with fellow breezy-electro artist Washed Out, and is mixed by Chris Coady who has worked with artists ranging from Grizzly Bear to Beach House. With some great names on board and a promising teaser, Roosevelt‘s next album is set to be a perfect treat for Aussie springtime.
When you’re toured as much as Roosevelt has, shows tend to blur together. Inspired by the rose-tinted vibe of Young Romance, we asked Roosevelt for his top five tour memories.
Prior to our first shows in Brazil in 2013, a pretty crazy story happened where it seemed like all odds were against us. The night train we had to catch from Berlin to Frankfurt airport started to burn. Not just some smoke, but serious, big flames. We needed to run away from the police, because they surrounded the train, and we ended up at a farm in the middle of the night, the owner of which took us in his tractor to the nearest airport. Somehow we made it to Brazil on a different flight in the same night and, full of relief, I went into the hotel pool… When I realised that I cut my foot on the tiles on the ground when I jumped in. I spent a night hospitalised because I lost quite a lot of blood, but eventually we were able to play our mid-day set on a festival the next day. If you were there you probably noticed that we were smiling throughout the whole set, as it felt completely absurd to actually play the show after what happened! Life on the road can be boring from time to time but that trip was pretty dramatic.
In June 2016, we played Primavera Sound in both Barcelona and Porto. This was prior to the album, so we weren’t used to playing big festival stages. We were meant to close the Pitchfork stage at 3 in the morning, so while impressed by the stage, we thought that by that time there would probably be hardly anyone down the front… While setting up we realised that this is not exactly true for festivals in Spain! It turned out to be one of the craziest shows we ever played. The crowd was screaming the melodies of my songs from the top of their lungs, and it was the first proper big festival stage experience for us. A magical night, and we’ve had a very special bond with Barcelona since that gig.
Brixton Academy London
Early in 2017 we were supporting Glass Animals on their headline run in the UK. Probably the nicest support tour that I’ve ever been on, we really connected with their fans and had such a good vibe going on this tour. As usual on any UK tour, the London show was by far the biggest of this run, which meant that we were playing Brixton Academy. I already played the room before as a support for a different band, but it wasn’t even half full that time. This time, things were a little different and we got on stage performing for a jam-packed Brixton Academy. There’s something about that venue that’s really magical. I remember watching the DVD of Foo Fighters’ performance there when I was really young, and it’s one of these venues where you get really humble about what you’re doing because you know the history of the place.
Speaking of historic venues, I had the honour to play my biggest headline show to date last fall in the big room of Paradiso in Amsterdam. I grew up in western Germany really close to the Dutch border, so when I was 17 or 18, I would often go to Amsterdam to see concerts. I remember pretty strongly being in that room and thinking‚ ‘what if I play in a venue like this on my own one day?‘, so when we did play there, it was quite an emotional moment for me.
The live set that we play on any given tour is usually pretty planned out, so for example, when the festival season starts, I prepare a setlist for the whole run, the stage lights are synced to that, our sound guy knows when which song will start, etc – so it’s really nice to break out of this sometimes and try some new fun things. My cover of Teardrops started this way – at some point we just played it live at shows – but I also try to perform my remixes live when I see some of the artists I’ve remixed on the same bill of a festival. While this normally doesn’t really work out due to overlapping set times or other logistical obstacles, I made this work with the guys from Kakkmaddafakka at a festival in Germany where we performed my remix of their song ‘Someone New’. We decided to do this 30 minutes before our show started, so I rushed to my dressing room, had to download the remix stems from my Dropbox, prepared it in the Ableton session, showed the other guys in the band their parts, and we just went for it. While so much of the set needs to be prepared and well planned, it felt amazing to play a song literally for the first time on stage. That element of surprise keeps you excited on the road.
INTRO BY MAX LEWIS