Live vs. studio. We often hear about bands that are one or the other, but this day and age you’ve gotta be both. But that doesn’t mean that the two have to mirror each other perfectly. In fact, it’s the bands that deviate from and expand upon their studio offerings that often grab the attention from fans in the live arena. Bands like Nashville’s Roots of a Rebellion.
Roots of a Rebellion, or ROAR, have brought a special offering to the table: A complete live show from their favorite hometown venue Exit/In, available in High Definition on BluRay disc, for free on YouTube, or in it’s purely audio form across all major digital platforms. Filmed by TompDogg, mixed by Shaun Washburn and mastered by Jordan Reed, this latest offering from one of the Southeast’s hardest working rock reggae outfits brings the excitement of ROAR’s live show into your living room.
Rootfire caught up with Roots of a Rebellion frontman Austin Smith to catch up about the new live release, life on the road and what’s in store for the boys as they continue to bring their high energy live show to fans across the country.
Rootfire: What inspired Roots of a Rebellion to release a full length live show?
Austin Smith: I’ve always loved Giant Panda’s live albums as well as finding gems on Archive.org. Capturing the vibe and energy of our live shows in the studio is a difficult task. After multiple albums and hundreds of shows, we’ve learned they’re just two completely different environments. So, July of last year we had the opportunity to get a multi-track recording of our set in front of a full house at our favorite hometown venue, Exit/In. We’ve always wanted to have a release like this and this show turned out to be an absolute gem after having Shaun Washburn mix and Jordan Reed master.
RF: How does the live ROAR experience differ from your studio releases?
AS: We feed off the loving energy of our fans every night and that completely changes the dynamic of each show. Some shows are more hype while others are more intimate. While we may play some of the same songs every night, we try and make subtle changes to the songs themselves or just mix up the order based on what everyone’s feeling that night. Our studio releases are very polished and diverse. There’s more room for experimentation and layers due to the overdubbing process. As long as people can vibe to something positive and uplifting, that’s what matters most.
RF: You guys have chosen to release the new live show via BluRay. In this age of online digital media, what inspired you to go with a physical release, and why BluRay?
AS: We are blessed to be friends with a great guy in Nashville, nicknamed TompDogg, who does an incredible job of capturing shows of his favorite local bands. We captured this in HD and didn’t want it to be on a non-HD format, such as DVD. The physical product is for our fans who like to collect those types of items. It’s also available to watch for free on our YouTube channel, and Rootfire’s as well, in its entirety and in HD. The music is available on all digital platforms to stream and purchase such as Spotify and iTunes. We just want everyone to see and hear what we’re about and make it to a show.
RF: ROAR has been hitting the pavement hard for years now. What keeps things moving smooth on the road for the band? Any special anecdotes that are a must for the road life?
AS: A good sense of humor, strong work ethic, a positive mental attitude, finding comfort in the uncomfortable, finding fun in the mundane, conservation of energy, living to give it all, and then some, every night to whoever’s listening; whether its one person or one thousand!
RF: You guys recently had a serious scare on tour when your van literally caught on fire. How did this experience impact the band? Did you take away some insight from the experience?
AS: Scariest day ever. Thank God we survived and our instruments were saved. What started as a nightmare literally turned into a dream as HUNDREDS of friends, fans and family rescued us from catastrophe through not only their generous contributions but some of the nicest affirmations that our music, message and purpose is truly reaching, touching and helping people. We are blessed beyond words and more fired up than ever before to continue on this journey! Biggest insight we took away from the experience: always pack a fire extinguisher.
RF: What’s on the horizon for ROAR?
AS: Only goal is to keep it going and growing. Craig Welsch is currently mixing our next full length studio album set for release in Spring/Summer of 2019. We’re all really excited for Surrounded By The Sound Music Festival this Labor Day Weekend and then playing shows with Giant Panda and The Movement!