I have cranked the Geez-ometer up to eleven…
to accommodate Rosko! We are getting a bit Spinal Tap here but it is unlikely you will find the red-hot band getting lost on their way to the stage! They are a focused and funny crew that bring laughs and character to this interview. Bruce (the man with long blonde locks) from the band talks about their new banger, Snifter, and its martial arts-themed video; what themes compelled their new E.P., White Stilettos – and whether there are any gigs or plans for the remainder of this year.
I find out what is making Bruce lose his nuts; how the boys all came together; the various music tastes of the members – the lads select an album that means most to them; a choice song they feel will make our day a bit brighter.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Bruce: This past week's been quality.
We had our E.P. launch - which went down a treat. Everyone's in a really good place.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
We're Rosko. Bruce on the mic; Simon on the guitar; Perry on the bass and Snake on the drums. We make the sound of the R&Geez - a blend of Punk, Hip-Hop and Ska...often accompanied by very beautiful dance moves.
Where did that band-name, ‘Rosko’, come from? Is it a Dizzee Rascal nod – or does it come from somewhere else?
Epxcs, from Mini Kingz, said the same thing about the Dizzee reference - but it actually comes from a character in a book I read (when I was in Benidorm) called The Choirboys. The geezer is called Roscoe Rules; which I thought sounded cool...and it has other connotations in my head, too - like that American chicken shop, Roscoes…or when they used to call a gun 'the rosko' in old movies. We dropped the 'rules' and changed the spelling to make it sound a bit more European - like our very own Simonas from Lithuania.
Snifter is hot-off-the-blocks! What is the story behind the single?
The story of the song and the video are actually quite different.
The song is about a night out we had a while back where we ended up getting ourselves in a bit of a moody situation with these blokes...one of those ones where you sit down and the songs done in ten minutes.
For the video; we wanted to do something more interesting, though. Our boy, Sej, came up with the Kung-Fu movie theme; then Simon sorted out the storyboard.
The video was directed by Victor Kovachev. It looks like a blast to film – almost like a modern-day Beastie Boys track! What was the shoot like?
Shout out Victor: he's a G; he made the vision happen.
The shoot was quite ambitious as we had to do everything in one day but, once Snake transformed into Dean-Claude-Can-Damme; it was smooth sailing. We got quite a lot of strange looks walking around East London - but no one wants it with a group of boys with plastic weapons.
What are the themes and origins that kick-started the E.P., White Stilettos?
The main theme of the E.P. is about doing exactly what you want to do; being who you want to be - and not listening to what other people tell you. It didn't come about in some Genesis concept album-way: it just sort of happened that the theme ran throughout every song. We wanted to flip the whole 'white stilettos' thing from a bit of a stereotype/mug-off to something more relevant to today because, as far as I can tell, not even many Essex girls wear those shoes anymore...
Let's put on our classics and we'll have a little dance, shall we?!
The E.P. was launched in Hackney (on 16th). What was that gig like?
That gig was a proper tear-up. Loads of our people came down and got involved - which we love them for. The fact we put on our own night off our own backs and actually made it work is pretty crazy.
Luckily, we have a lot of talented pals who helped us out massively.
How did you guys all get together? What was it that attracted you to one another?
We all just met through mates…
I think the best thing about us as a band is that we're all similar in some ways like we're working-class boys: like going for a drink, going to the chippy but, also, we're very much our own people - and that's what makes us work. We all come at things from very different angles and end up meeting in the middle, somehow.
You have been compared to the likes of The Streets. Is Mike Skinner an influence? How do you feel about him doing more touring?!
Mike Skinner is my idol, mate.
I've got his lyrics on my skin. I said in a conversation, if I could see anyone perform dead or alive, it would be The Streets – but, from reading his book, I thought it would never happen. So, when I heard he was touring again, I lost my nut! Hold tight, Hazza for copping us the tickets - as none of my boys managed to get one! But this reiterates my earlier point about us being different: none of the other boys are as into him as me. Perry loves the Arctic Monkeys: without The Streets, you wouldn't have them…
It all meets in the middle.
It seems few bands project humour and reality. Apart from Jamie T, The Streets; Sleaford Mods, perhaps – has music got too serious and predictable?!
Music is definitely serious right now...
People are too focused on being cool and moody in their leather jackets and that; so you don't see any of their genuine character - it's just all grey. I hate hearing a song that sounds like it's been written because you think you should be writing a certain style or sound. It gets on my nerves - if I have no idea where you're from as well. If you're from Bolton: why are you singing like you're from Boston?!
I didn't realise how much this actually got on my nerves until answering this question…
It seems like classic British music, and the sounds of the 1990s, compel you most. Would that be fair to say?!
We are 1990s kids from England (other than Simon – but, obviously he's a cockney geezer now, too) so the whole Oasis/Blur era is definitely a massive influence - as well as older stuff like the Clash and Madness. But, we have a lot of different influences, too. Snake loves his Funk and Dance; so he often goes a lot more groovy and skippy with the drums - than you might expect when we start writing a new song. Simon might shuffle from Action Bronson to Leonard Cohen
It’s a big old melting-pot.
IN THIS PHOTO: Epxcs
Our boy, Murkage Dave, has got some new stuff bubbling - but he's, obviously, not a new kid on the block.
Anyone really (just) doing their own thing gets my vote...
IN THIS PHOTO: Murkage Dave/PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Jordan
If you each had to select the one albums that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
N.E.R.D - In Search of... (Mixes)
So many different styles - and it still manages to sound cohesive and well influential.
Simon: The Libertines - Up the Bracket
Rowdy mosh-pit-music at its best - but with really poetic lyrics.
Perry: Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See
Snake: Michael Jackson - Thriller
The best album ever made. Fact.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Bruce: Don't take advice from idiots: just do your thing and have fun with it.
What is your touring schedule looking like? Where can we see you play?
Our next gig is 21st December at The Monarch in Camden. Everybody get-down let's get loose.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Christmas is family time, mate. I dunno about the other boys - but I'm gonna be seeing mine and eating all the gravy dinners I can.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Kano - Brown Eyes
Simon: Tricky (ft. Martina Topley-Bird) - When We Die
Perry: Nirvana - Serve the Servants
Snake: Wham! - Club Tropicana