On October 20, 2014, The Roosevelts tore it up as the opening band for Robert Earl Keen at one of Alexandria’s oldest (some would say blues-iest) music venues, The Birchmere. Here, yeahstub.com talks with guitarist Jason Kloess and singer James Mason about their current tour, new music video, and latest release.
Great seeing you at the Birchmere! How did you guys get started playing in Austin?
We met through a mutual friend when we both moved to Austin. We realized we liked the same style of music and had a lot of favorite artists in common, and started playing and writing together. We’ve only been around for about two years and we’re pretty excited about where things are going.
Where did your name come from?
We were in the studio recording our first EP and had a list of potential band names. The Roosevelts was one that we all really liked as it was short, memorable, and felt like a good fit for our style of music. It was also Presidents’ Day when we chose the name, so it seemed very fitting.
How has touring with Robert Earl Keen been?
That was our second show with him and they’re fantastic. Genuinely nice guys, great musicians and lots of good stories. We’re doing a few more dates with Robert and the gang this month, so looking forward to that… and I’m told Bill Murray just purchased ten tickets in the front row for our show next Friday in Charleston, so that should get interesting!
At the Birchmere, the audience tended to have a quieter reaction to your more serious songs – is that the norm at shows?
That was our first time through DC and really the first time the majority of the crowd had ever seen or heard us. Everyone was super attentive and really into it, which was great. It’s so nice to play for a crowd that listens to every word and is there for music, rather than socializing. We also play with a full band most nights, and that adds another level to it; the songs themselves do the heavy lifting we just dress em up or dress em down. With the full band it’s bigger, it more dynamic, it’s a sonic journey, we jam, it’s a party – the focus is on the experience. As a duo the focus is on the song; we dig deeper into the story, we expose the lyrics more. It’s a little scary in that regard because if we haven’t crafted the song well enough or if there’s any bullshit in our story it becomes painfully obvious. In this regard the duo shows are a part of what keeps us honest.
Your new music video, “Cold Sheets,” is just out – can you tell us about the filming process?
It’s our second video, and is the most recent one picked up by Country Music Television. We had a blast filming it. We rented a farmhouse halfway between Austin and Houston and shot everything in one weekend. Our director, Brad Linton, did an amazing job and is extremely creative and passionate about getting the best shots, which resulted in a video we’re really proud of.
Cheesy question time! Where do you get inspiration for your songs?
A lot of it is from personal experiences that either of us are going through. Sometimes it’s based on an external event or something that a friend is going through. But either way it tends to be rooted in the relationships we have with others and how we experience life through those relationships.
What’s coming up in the near future?
We’ll be doing a lot of touring early next year, releasing some new songs, possibly an entire record, and some more videos. Our greatest love is to hit the road and share our new tunes with everyone.
The Roosevelts will continue touring into 2015. Visit them online at wearetheroosevelts.com.