Following the departure of three band members and the uncertainty that followed, the Rocketboys are back.
Having recently played a whirlwind of shows at the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas, the Rocketboys are on the road and eagerly awaiting the release their new album, Build Anyway.
The Austin-based band fills its new songs with pleasing melody and dynamic contrast. The production is polished, the arrangements are rich but uncluttered.
Build Anyway arrives June 5. It represents a new way of recording for the band and renewed commitment from the group’s continuing three members.
There was no big breakup, Rocketboys keyboard player Justin Wiseman said this week of the loss of half of the band.
“It wasn’t all at the same time and there weren’t any problems,” Wiseman explained. “They were just ready to move on with their lives and pursue other stuff.”
With such a major change in the band’s membership, though, adjustments were necessary.
“We had to regroup,” Wiseman said. “We didn’t have a drummer and we weren’t able to play shows.”
Performing being off the table for the time being, the remaining Rocketboys set about the business of recording a new album. They took their time by working in Rocketboys front man Brandon Kinder’s small but accommodating home studio.
“Our singer has been slowing amassing gear,” Wiseman said. “It is a studio, but it’s like a bedroom, basically, and we have a little rehearsal area downstairs.”
When the Rocketboys had six members, the group made new music as an ensemble.
“But then with this new album, with only three of us, we figured out a way to create music without doing that,” Wiseman said. “Brandon may have recorded a part here or there and then I went in and recorded something over it or expanded it. That was the process.”
Good reaction to their album in progress encouraged the band to carry on.
“We took that as a challenge,” Wiseman said.
Much credit for the finished product belongs to C.K. Eiriksson, Wiseman said of the Austin-based mixer whose previous work includes U2, Live and Phish. Eiriksson endowed the album with a sound that leads people to not believe it was recorded in a home studio, Wiseman said.
“But I can brag on Brandon, too,” he added of the band’s singer. “He did all of the engineering. He’s good at it and we had good stuff to work with and we borrowed gear from some friends.”
Writing for Build Anyway began in January 2011, a tough time for the band.
“It was kind of a dark hour,” Wiseman recalled. “We were like, ‘How are we ever going to do this?’ We knew that we could do it, but it took a while, and we reinvented how we create music.”
Build Anyway follows the Rocketboys’ 2007 debut, Sing Bird Sing, 2009’s 20,000 Ghosts and the 2010’s Wellwisher. The latter EP features guest musicians Andrew and Dan Callaway from the Baton Rouge band England In 1819.
A quote from Mother Teresa — “What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway.” — inspired the Rocketboys’ new album’s title.