Q&A with The Rocketboys
The Rocketboys, as a band, called Texas home but the road seems to be their dwelling place. Through hardwork, the band has seen success with positive critical reviews of their album 20,000 Ghosts and their recently released EP, Wellwisher. They have played shows at South By Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival. You might have heard them playing on such popular TV shows as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Real World Washington D.C., and The Buried Life.
The Rocketboys consists of Brandon Kinder (vocals, guitar, piano), Mitch Holt (guitar, vocals), Justin Wiseman (keys), Daniel Wheeler (guitar, aux), Josh Campbell (bass, vocals), and Alex Bhore (drums, percussion). Associate Editor Hannah Marney had the chance to sit down with them over some burgers at The Rookery when they were in Macon playing for the Modern Skirts CD release show.
The Blue Indian (Hannah Marney): So describe to me what the Rocketboys sound is?
Brandon: We call ourselves an indie rock. We use keyboards and a lot of ambient textures in our songs. We want to make something original while still maintaining a sense of something people can relate to and sing to.
TBI: How long have you guys been together?
Brandon: Almost six years.
TBI: Some of you are from Atlanta originally?
Brandon: Yeah, Mitch and Justin.
TBI: So the rest of you met up in Texas while in college?
Brandon: Mitch moved to Memphis, Tennessee after Atlanta and I lived in Memphis. Then we both went to school in Abilene, Texas, and that is where we all ended up.
TBI: Do you feel the places you lived influenced your sound?
Mitch: We love the music of the different regions we come from. We have a very vivid music style, but it is hard not draw from where you come from. Such as we don’t sound like a blues band, but definitely like that kind of music.
TBI: You released your album last year as a truly independent band. How is working for you being a true indie band and building this following on your own?
Brandon: It’s one of those things now in today’s music business that nobody knows if it is better to be independent or be on a record label. It’s not we are totally against being on a record label, but this is just what works for us. We try to make all the right moves we can, getting a team of management that works for us well.
TBI: Where is your favorite place to play live?
Brandon: I don’t know if there is a collective place for everybody.
Mitch: I like playing in Texas a lot. It’s really fun and we have a lot of friends there. We are from different places across the country and we met a lot of people in college from around the country. You go a thousand miles from Austin and see people you went to college with. So we get to see our friends all over the country and play for different crowds.
TBI: So what inspires you guys musically?
Mitch: I think other music inspires me a lot. Even if you don’t draw directly from their music, it’s cool to see other people doing something awesome. You might hear a song or an album that you really connect with. You may not take exact elements from it, but it makes you want to create more.
TBI: We always like to know what everyone else is listening to and hear about bands we might not know about. What are you guys listening to right now?
Mitch: We have toured with Dignan in the past. It’s cool because not only they are good friends, but they’re one of my favorite bands. They are an amazing band with a lot of cool textures and awesome things about them that set them apart from other bands.
Brandon: There’s this band in Nashville called Brian Lee and His Orchestra that is a very talent guy, who just released his third album. He has them all for free on his website. He is so talented that he can do whatever he wants. His first EP was a very southern gospel county sound. The second one was a lot of Do-Woppy influences. I haven’t heard the third, but I am sure it is amazing.
Josh: The Local Natives record. The National. We all listen to a lot of different stuff, but I think The National and Band of Horses is something we all kind of agree on.
Asher: All I have been listening to is jazz. I have really been getting into Miles Davis’s discography.
Daniel: I’ve been getting into the new Sufjan album, Age of Adz. I don’t listen to a lot of music and if I do listen to something, I will probably just listen to the same thing for two months. I just like sensory overload I think.
Justin: I listen to pretty much everything everyone else does.
TBI: Any funny stories from the tour?
Brandon: We meet a lot of characters. There is this place that every time to we go to Memphis we try to visit. It’s called Graceland Too. It’s amazing. It is just this man, Paul McCloud, who is dedicated his entire life to Elvis’s memory. He turned this house, this beautiful antebellum home, into this really nasty thing(laughs). All the walls, floor to ceiling and the ceiling are completely filled with Elvis memorabilia. He gives you a tour, 24 hours, 7 days a week. It’s great, it’s one of my favorite places to go. There’s nothing like it.
TBI: Holidays are around the corner. So what thanksgiving food are you looking forward to?
Brandon: Broccoli casserole.
Josh: My mom makes some really good homemade macaroni and cheese.
Asher: My mom makes a really great green bean casserole.
Brandon: That’s what I meant. I don’t know why I said broccoli casserole.
Daniel: I like dressing.
Josh: I like mixing everything together like mashed potatoes and gravy.