Interview: Robert Schwartzman of Rooney

posted August 13, 2007

by Corinne

Robert Schwartzman of Rooney

Last time spoke with Rooney, the year was 2002 and the band was on tour with Weezer and you had just finished recording your self-titled debut album. A lot has happened since then. Can you give a quick synopsis to get us up to date?

     Man, where do I begin?  Weezer took us out on our first US tour ever.  Then we went out with our friends The Strokes.  Then we put out our first album and toured with Lollapalooza ‘03.  We did a bunch of headlining tours and opening tours to promote the record for a year following the release.  We went back in the studio to begin the second album summer ‘04. We made three records over three years and finally finished Calling The World, which came out a few weeks ago.  Now I'm in Osaka, Japan!!! 

     What can fans of your first album expect from "Calling The World?"

     Calling The World has all the hooks that the first record had and much much more.  Each song has it's [sic] own voice, making it a well rounded record.  Like the first record, Calling The World will keep you entertained from top to bottom, no skipping necessary. The tone of the lyrics matches the tone of the music, which enhances the emotional message in the songs. 

     Can you talk your experiences and process recording "Calling The World?"

     We made Calling The World in four different studios. I recorded demos for all the songs on Garageband before entering the studio.  We used a lot of the demo tracks on the record.  I cut most of the lead vocals in our producer John Fields’ home studio.  Then we built the rest of the tracks around the lead vocal. John kept the process very fun and spontaneous.  He knew where we were coming from.  We felt like we had returned to the Rooney sound after three years of making more experimental music.

     What kind of reaction did you receive in response to new songs from your recent Roxy residency?

     People seemed to be very excited when they heard our new record live at the Roxy residency.  It was a great way for us to get comfortable playing the new songs live.  Our shows are all about fan participation, so it was hard to get people to sing along to the new tracks.  They were more familiar with When Did Your Heart Go Missing?, which had the best reaction. 

     How would you compare the routine of a residency to playing a different city every night?

     The Roxy residency was our first residency ever.  We were happy to be able to do it at our hometown club, a place where the band started out playing.  Doing a residency is different than a tour because you show up at the same club, on the same stage, every week.  It was like a Las Vegas show; it was the thing to do in town on Monday.  I really missed the experience after our final performance.

     The band has opened for some big name female pop singers like Kelly Clarkson and, most recently, Fergie. What made you decide to join these tours?

     We love to perform.  We'd rather be out on a tour, whether it's opening for someone or headlining, than sitting around at home.  We're constantly trying to expand our fan base, so it's important to "seize the day" when a big tour opportunity comes around. Touring with Kelly Clarkson and Fergie was different for us, but we met a lot of excited people who will hopefully join the Rooney army. 

     Who are some underrated bands that you think deserves more attention?

     We love Phoenix, Autovaughn, Hello Stranger, The Rewinds, The Bridges, and Coconut Records.  Check ‘em out!

     What have you been listening to recently?

     I've been listening to a lot of Todd Rundgren, Utopia, Steely Dan, Robert Palmer, Matthew Wilder, Prince, and Supertramp. 

     If you could have written any song, what song do you wish you had written and why?

     There are so many songs that I love and am jealous of.  I recently saw Jersey Boys; all the songs are amazing.  I've always been a Four Seasons fan; Bob Gaudio is unreal.  A song that I wish I would have written would have to be either God Only Knows or Be My Baby.

     Anything you would like to add?

     Rooney will be touring all year long and the year after.  Check our MySpace page or our website,, for details.  Thank you.  Later!

     Thanks for your time!