If you are looking for a new instrumental album that you can easily relax to, Richey Rose has your back. His new album LAX is the poolside music that you have been waiting for. Drawing on inspiration from travels and improv exercises, he sets you adrift on his guitar notes for an extremely enjoyable listening experience. We sat down with Richey Rose to talk about the album, turning improve exercises into songs, his future plans and much more!
OSR: What first drew you to music?
Rose: Two memories come to mind: when a childhood friend’s father (who was from Liverpool) showed us The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ film when I was 6 years old, and when my father would listen to Steely Dan’s ‘Aja’ in his car, also around the time I was 6 or 7 years old. Those are the first times I can recall actively seeking more information about what I was hearing/seeing. Of course, the advent of Napster in the late 90s also vastly expanded the spectrum of my taste.
OSR: Your new album LAX evolved from daily guitar improv exercises into a full album. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
Rose: Amidst this lovely pandemic we’re having I decided to move from NYC to LA. My NYC apartment was just one room, most of which was dedicated studio space. When I got to LA, I realized I could rent an apartment with gasp MULTIPLE ROOMS for the same price, so I turned one of those rooms into my home studio. The first few tracks on LAX are just the sounds of me jamming in my new space, just getting acquainted with the sudden change of creative environment. I’m pretty sure the first 3 or 4 songs are all first takes on the guitar and there are definitely a few mistakes left in for good measure. I was mostly concerned with capturing a moment rather than striving for perfection. Once I had a few songs ‘completed’ I figured I should keep going and the whole album was done in about a month.
OSR: What was the process for fleshing out each improv exercise into a full song?
Rose: I always started with a sample or loop, usually made with a Roland JDXi synth and usually a 4 or 8 bar chord progression. Then I’d program a basic drum beat with a few variations. After that, I’d try to come up with a bassline/groove. If I was able to bob my head to it for a few minutes without getting bored, I’d then hit record and begin improvising on the guitar.
The guitar would dictate most of the dynamic shifts, so after laying that down I’d go back and arrange everything into a proper song. I mixed each track as I was recording it, so not much afterthought was given to mixing/mastering. I was really trying to commit to my instincts with this album!
OSR: Is there a theme or backstory to the album?
Rose: Not necessarily. This collection of songs is very much a brief moment in time captured on a recording. The main inspiration was the fact that I suddenly found myself living in Southern California after spending my whole life in middle America and on the east coast.
OSR: How different is it releasing music on your own compared to doing this as part of a band?
Rose: It’s less stressful and very freeing! Only because I reserve the ‘Richey Rose’ moniker for releases that simply won’t fit with any other project or artist I work with. It’s very much a ‘here I am, take it or leave it’ mentality that I have when releasing music under my own name. If I’m happy with it then it’s essentially done. I don’t ever have to concern myself with potential creative differences or lofty expectations.
OSR: If people could only experience one emotion while listening to LAX, what would you like it to be?
Rose: Danceable melancholy.
OSR: Is there a song on the album that holds a special place in your heart?
Rose: I guess the first track, ‘Beachaus’, mainly because it was the first thing I ever recorded in my new space and also because I was just vibing! I wasn’t making it for anyone else at that point in time and I think you can hear that on the track.
OSR: If you could perform LAX at any venue in the world, where would it be and why?
Rose: At this point in 2020, any venue allowing live music to happen would be perfect. But to answer your question, if we’re going makeshift/unofficial venue, on a cliffside in Malibu overlooking the ocean, that’s the perfect environment for these songs. If we’re going hypothetical Live Nation ticketed event, I’d have to choose the Hollywood Bowl, that’s the perfect corporate environment for these songs.
OSR: If your music were a hot beverage, what would it be and why?
Rose: Magic mushroom tea because this album is a trip.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the next 12 months?
Rose: In addition to LAX, I also just released an album with my project Songs for Sabotage, so musically speaking I’m going to begin hibernating and working on material for 2021. Personally speaking, a lot is hinging on this damned election. Depending on the results you can expect me to either be living in the SoCal (Biden wins) or somewhere in rural Sweden (the orange shitstain scams his way into a second term).