Friday, September 29, 2023

An Interview With Romanus

Romanus is a bedroom producer-singer-songwriter with a weakness for smashing genres together that probably don’t belong anywhere near each other. He has independently released two EPs and three full-length albums, of which “CROWN ME WITH ANTLERS” is the latest. He’s based in the Boston area and has crippling stage fright.

How did you get started, and what has led up to where you are today as an artist?

I started about eight or nine years ago, when my older sister wanted to record a cover of that viral cup song from Pitch Perfect. She tried to make the backing track herself and it didn’t work out, so she asked me for help and the rest is history.

Honestly, I’m pretty close to where I started in terms of success (January 2022 was the first time I broke 50 Spotify listeners), but I’m always just trying to improve my craft and make music that I’d choose to listen to. With that in mind, finding good songs and figuring out what I like about them is my favourite method to make my own better. I love music, and that’s why I make it.

Who do you feel has influenced your sound the most?

Bleachers, Phildel, and The Gospel Whiskey Runners are probably my big three, but I’ve gotten inspiration out of everywhere from The Real Tuesday Weld to Blackpink.

What do you feel sets you apart from other artists and gives you your own sound?

I’m not afraid to let my music be a chimera of sorts! I grew up listening to a lot of folk rock and bluegrass, and the DNA of those genres is impossible to remove from the way I write songs, but I also love weird electronic sounds to a fault. I just don’t make myself pick, and that’s my strength.

What has been your biggest challenge and what do you feel you have learned from it?

It’s hard to keep creating when very few people are listening to you. I know I said I make music because I love it, but putting so much effort into something with practically no return is deeply disheartening. I’m still here nine years after I started, though, and it’s taught me that doing something you love for the sake of that love will make you a better person than you’d be if you did it only because people respond. That being said, love isn’t money! I respect sell-outs as much as I respect artists.

Tell us about your latest project, what have you got going on at the moment?

My new project, CROWN ME WITH ANTLERS, is a concept album that uses the Ancient Greek myth of Actaeon as a metaphor for the story of an abusive relationship. It’s all magical realism and grungy angst that I had to get out of my system. The music video for track “Don’t Twist the Knife Halfway” should be released sometime in the next two months, and that’s my priority now that the album is out.

What advice would you give to anyone new coming into the industry?

Never stop listening to music you love. Trying to succeed in any industry that monetizes creativity is somewhat soul-crushing, but doing that will remind you why you’re trying in the first place.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for getting you to where you are now, anyone you’d like to give a shout-out to?

The DJ at the MIT radio station who played a song I produced once. Shout-out to them, because that was cool as hell and it still makes me happy to think about.

How can fans find you?

At any of the links down below, on all streaming services under the name Romanus, and if you’re feeling like supporting me directly (I have lyrics and exclusive releases on there!).

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