This isn’t Robert’s first rodeo. In 2008 he released his debut album ‘Distance’, while still at college studying journalism. Universal distributed the record, but for all intents and purposes Robert was an independent artist. With his first single in five years due for release on March 30, Robert tells us his expectations are different from before. “I’m not looking for financial gain, fame or critical acclaim”, he says, “I’m just thrilled to be back in the game”.
How did you get into music?
“When I was young, I don’t remember what age, I asked for a keyboard for my birthday. Then when I got it I realised I couldn’t play it so I asked for lessons. By the time I was 18 I was teaching keyboard lessons for the same place I had learned. At around that time I started to get curious about performance and singing too – I didn’t know if I could but I definitely wanted to try. I went to a singing coach and really just loved it, and from there on my aim was quite clear. Through my teen years music had been the most important thing in my life and I wanted to go to next level”
Who are you musical influences?
“They’re quite varied – I love big stadium-filling bands like Arcade Fire, Fleetwood Mac and Coldplay. Out of more recent acts I find myself obsessing over Scandinavian sister duos – from First Aid Kit to Say Lou Lou, and The Pierces really inspired me this time around. I think Lana Del Rey is fascinating, and stunning. I love the career arc of John Mayer, how much every record he brings something new to the table sonically. I really indulge in electro too whether its chill out like The Sound of Arrows or more upbeat like Pet Shop Boys, Goldfrapp, Royksopp. I could go on!”
What has been your best/worst gig and why?
“Playing as a soloist with interchanging musicians can be really challenging, you never really build a vibe on stage between each other and then you’re nervous are they gonna know the songs properly when they show up, and if they’ll show up! I suppose the worst gig was when I had a single launch and my drummer was dead late and I couldn’t reach him on his phone, I thought it everyone’s here expecting a full band show and we have no drummer! I’d say the best was my EP launch where it was in a converted church and no alcohol was served. Everyone was in the moment with no distractions and it was nice to feel connected with the audience”
Where would be your dream venue to play?
“You know I’m the kind of person who really isn’t fussy about venues – I’m as happy in a dive bar as long as the audience is into it. Of course it’d be nice to sell out big venues but I also think there’s something nice about seeing someone you’re a big fan of in an intimate setting. I went to see Arcade Fire’s frontman in a small venue called Whelans here and it was so memorable”
Any funny/interesting gig stories you can share with us?
“I’ve had nights where promoters have placed me on totally inappropriate billing so I’m wedges between two hard rock acts and I’m like, I’m gonna be massacred out there. I don’t love those nights where it’s not cohesive and it’s really just about the promoter making a quick buck”
You have a new single coming out on the 30th March could you tell us about it?
“It’s my first single in five years, and it’s about that exact time frame in my life. I knew it I was coming back, that was going to be the song I’d come back with, there was never any question. It took me about three months to find the right producer which was frustrating. And there are two other guys on there was worked on my first album – it felt important to have some of that DNA on there, but also to have someone new leading”
Describe your music in three words
“Relatable, nostalgic, understated”
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
“An electro outfit. Right now probably The Sound of Arrows. I want to record an ambient electro record and always have but my writing for my own material is always more commercial and straightforward”
Any gigs coming up?
“This single is less about the gigs and more about the profile building, getting my music and my name back out there. When there is a demand for a show, I will look at it”
By Oliver Cooper