If you’ve ever jumped into cold water, you know all too well that once you get past the initial blast, there’s a feeling that can be described in no other way other than good for the soul. It’s a similar sensation to listening to Rolo Tomassi’s brand new blast to the system, Where Myth Becomes Memory.
It’s somewhat jarring to even make the words abrasive and delicate work together in the same sentence, which is truly testament to the band’s olympian ability to play the two off one another album after album, song after song, verse after verse.
Like the shock of cold water, or the warm reprieve after, Where Myth Becomes Memory is a cinematic 10-track mission into a sonic wilderness. As BLUNT would learn speaking with vocalist Eva Korman, it’s an apt metaphor for the band, who didn’t so much as make Where Myth Becomes Memory as they did discover it for themselves.
The negative impacts of the past 18 months on artists have been well documented, however did you find that any elements in the writing / recording process for ‘Where Myth Becomes Memory’ were impacted in a positive way?
Absolutely, I think when we came to the realization that our approach to this would be different to how we’ve written before we took it in our stride, and ultimately it made us more organized and thorough with each aspect of writing and recording. We extensively demoed each song and there was a lot of back and forth in the absence of being able to rehearse the songs together, this meant we each had a lot of time to sit with the compositions before we went into the studio. When when we were in the studio we were still sending through daily sessions back and forth to make sure we were capturing exactly what we needed.
When you sat down to begin crafting the stories with ‘Where Myth Becomes Memory’, what themes and ideas did you find were captivating you?
Quite early on in the writing process I felt like a big theme that kept coming up was the idea of a journey and exploration. I wanted to make sure there was brightness within this record as I felt I had covered so much darkness in Grievances (2015) and Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It (2018). I wanted a more optimistic perspective and the themes that kept coming up were renewal, rebirth and new beginnings, discovery and survival.
Your albums, and indeed the individual songs within them, have always contained a range of moods and atmospheres. As someone who’s been listening to you for many years, I’ve often wondered – is this how music naturally comes out of the mind of Rolo Tomassi? Or is there an element of whipping and chaining the songs, so to speak, to do your bidding?
When it comes to my part of the writing process, which is the vocal arrangements and the lyrics, I just play off what the rest of the band have written. I usually never have any feedback in terms of the music, I like to see it as a puzzle and a challenge to work through to add the layers of vocals to it, it’s one of the most fun aspects of this for me! This record especially had so much potential with vocals so I definitely feel like I made the most of that, it has the most layers and texture vocally of any record we’ve ever done and is so dynamically driven.
There really is a tactile experience listening to Rolo that I imagine is similar to the feeling of those ice baths that the sports people take. A high-pressure water cleaner to the mind. Do you get to experience that when creating your music, or do you find you’re too busy creating it?
I find the writing process very cathartic and there is always a huge sense of accomplishment when finishing writing a record and a huge release and relief from that. It’s interesting to me that you’d draw some similarities from a listening perspective!
The longer you look at the album art for Where Myth Becomes Memory, the more detail you see. Indeed, eventually it almost feels like it’s starting to look back at you. What’s the story behind the artwork?
We’ve worked with the artist Simon Moody on every record we’ve released. We send him the record and the lyrics and let him take control from there, it’s his point of view and his perspective. My interpretation from it is the rising and setting of the sun, the renewal of each day and the closing of that as it sets.
I love that it’s an image with so many layers that you can get lost in it.