All the way from Texas, US we have the dreamy alternative rock quartet Roadkeeper that released the exciting track ‘Enemy Mine’ last week accompanied by a super intriguing music video. The band was formed in 2018 and has already gained more than 200K streams on Spotify prior to their latest single. ‘Enemy mine’ is a supreme tune about how the far right in the US takes advantage of the young and vulnerable and radicalises them. Their songwriting skills are on point as they navigate in humanist and social conscious spheres that at times become political. When we listened to this tune we knew straight away that we had to get to know these guys a bit better.
YMX: Hey Roadkeeper, thanks for sitting down with us. What would you say to all our readers new to your project?
ROADKEEPER: We just hope everyone is doing ok.
YMX: When did you know that music was something you wanted to pursue at an artistic level?
John: I think I am just in the process of discovering it now. Before the last couple of years, I was mostly interested in music as a process or career path. Not to say that I did not make artistic music along the way. I have always admired the lifestyle and culture of being in music as well as learning how aspects of the music, live and recording industries work. After being immersed in music for so long I find that I am no longer at all interested in the industry, cultural or career aspects of music and I am only interested in the creation of music and art. Maybe I am growing up or maybe I just started to see the industry side of music for what it is and stop idealizing it. Maybe when I was starting music, I just wanted to prove I could do it just as well as anyone. I guess I broke free of that mindset and just enjoy making music now.
Daniel: Hard to say, I think I’ve wanted to play music in a band as soon as I learned to play guitar.
YMX: You recently released single ‘Enemy Mine’. Can you tell us how that project came about?
ROADKEEPER: Like a lot of our songs, it came out of an improvised jam. When we jam like that there are already vocal melodies happening phonetically, so those melodies lead the rest of the song wherever it needs to go. It sort of came out of nowhere fully formed but rough and then we refined each part into what it is now. It’s really just us working through it.
Trevor: I recorded my parts remotely.
Nick: I think Daniel and I recorded are parts together a while back in an old attic studio we had.
YMX: What is the one thing you would like people to feel while listening to the single?
ROADKEEPER: Enemy Mine is about people being radicalized through internet algorithms and social networks. A majority of the people being targeted to be radicalized are young white guys that are probably disillusioned, bitter and predisposed to thinking that they are oppressed when they are most likely not. It could have been any of us under different circumstances. I hope people take a moment to reflect on the fact that a lot of us could be near misses when it comes to radicalization and also to mourn those that have been consumed by it, whether it is a friend, family member or stranger, and also hold them accountable for their thoughts and actions. It is a bizarre, sad thing.
YMX: How did the recent pandemic influence your creative process? is remote collaboration easy for you?
John: We weren’t that shook by the pandemic to be honest. We’ve always been very focused on producing our recordings rather than trying to compete in the market as a gigging band, so it was not really a big ask for us to let live shows go. Honestly, it has been good. It really made me think about how little satisfaction I was getting out of playing live anyway, other than the one-in-ten transcendent show where you are truly communing with the audience.
Nick: Remote collaboration isn’t too difficult. It doesn’t seem like we do it often. We usually try to record parts for a few songs at a time so we always have something to work on, but we haven’t had to do much remotely. There is no rush to our process. Making new songs/working on stuff is better together. Trev has done guitar parts remotely, he did for this new song.
YMX: Do you feel more confident writing music alone, or within a team?
John: I feel more confident writing music alone but prefer to write as a group. The group ideas always seem fresher to me. And it’s a lot more fun working through a song with everyone else in the room. I think there is a good balance of both solo and group work in this band. A couple of our songs were written solo and it’s always less exciting to dictate to the others what their part should be rather than to see what they come up with on their own. Sometimes that’s how it gotta be tho.
YMX: Can you name the last gig you played? Would you consider doing a livestream concert?
Daniel: Last gig was The Foundry?
Trevor: Ya Foundry.
Nick: Yeah, outside. It was cool. It was in Tyler, Texas, which is where most of us live.
John: We actually did do a live stream show with our friend Philip and his company Universal Language. I don’t think I would ever want to do another one simply because Philip did such a great job putting the whole thing together. If we did another one it would have to be more of an aesthetic or experiential thing than a regular performance. There’s also a lot of clutter out there when it comes to live streaming music these days so I’m not sure it is worth all of the work just to have your stream compete with everyone else. I think I would rather focus on doing cool things in the studio or whatever.
YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
ROADKEEPER: We are going to keep recording and putting out music for the foreseeable future. Once the vaccines are distributed we are probably going to rent a studio or at least an Air BnB and play music together in the same room. At some point we may consolidate all of our released songs into a proper album. We may just make phone recordings of the creek behind John’s house.