RÓSA

Photos by Justin Bieggar

Last week, Los Angeles synth pop outfit RÓSA released their long-awaited EP The Taste of Another, following up with a killer set at The Satellite in Silver Lake. Their dreamy tones layered like warm blankets on a snowy day, evoking actual oo’s and ahh’s from the crowd that packed the house for them. Before they took the stage, we sat with vocalist and guitarist Will Winters for an exclusive chat about the EP, history and music that simply clicks. Go ahead and hit Play down below while you read.

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Who got you started? Who did you hear growing up that made you think ‘I’m doing this’?

Interesting. Two artists, actually. Elton John and The Beatles. The classics. I have a dad who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s so I grew up listening to them. The Beatles, especially learning more about them.. there’s a story where Paul and John would drive across town to talk to some guy to learn a chord. When they first started, they didn’t really know what they were doing. Elton John inspired me to sing.

Would you consider them key components in your songwriting? Your style seems to differ pretty drastically, actually.

Yeah, they got me started, but as for songwriting, definitely more of the emo stuff from the 2000’s. That’s what kind of inspires the lyrical content I think. This might sound odd to you about structure and how I write, but church music. I started playing church music. We were talking to one of our producers actually about the idea of a worship band and he had no concept for it. We showed him some YouTube videos.

Ah, I grew up in church. I know that style. How do you feel about it? Did it change much?

I mean, I’m not involved anymore but I had a friend who was involved and I helped him out. I don’t know it anymore, but it’s still general rock stuff.

RÓSA

So about ‘Nightmare’ specifically, which is about going into an environment and being reminded of the past, either positive or negative. I was talking with a friend about certain songs you’ll hear that remind you of the ex or about somewhere you went. Do you still have those songs that are just off-limits and get skipped when you’re on shuffle?

I have one song like that right now. These songs were written so long ago that it doesn’t really affect me, so I’ll tell you that song. You know Big Thief? For a while I couldn’t listen to the song ‘Mary’. But there more songs from when I was younger that make me think of certain things, like video games. So if I hear Led Zeppelin IV, I’ll think of Super Smash Brothers, stuff like that.

Who did you play out back then but are coming back to, like ‘I can listen to this again’?

Well, when I was really young, The Beatles were kind of like that. But Led Zeppelin was a big one, and Pink Floyd. I just started listening to Led Zeppelin again because I would just play the hits over and over, you know when you’re a teenager.

Were you always trying to be at the forefront of musical style? You mentioned early 2000’s

I didn’t think about that. I haven’t until I realized it was like a cool thing, like I didn’t discover new music until jr. high, around the time when Death Cab for Cutie was around, and those bands that were sort of Christian like Copeland and Underoath. Then I remember the first time someone showed me Mumford & Sons and I have these moments where things open up for me. I just try to hear new stuff more because I’m interested in it, you know. I used to try to listen to artists that were considered cool and just couldn’t get into them.

RÓSA

Who’s that artist you feel guilty for not liking?

Oh god I wish I could give an example.. Okay this is a real sin, and I like some of their stuff of course, but I can’t listen to a ton of Radiohead. There’s more, like some of the artist stuff and maybe I just need to sit with it more, but like Björk. There’s one artist I’ve genuinely tried multiple times, but just can’t think of their name right now.

Where does your sound come from, given the music we’ve talked about?

I don’t really know. We enjoy a lot of the bands that are repurposing the 80’s. My dad was at the point where he was a little too old to be super excited about the 80’s when they came around, so I listened to Crowded House, David Bowie and Michael Jackson. Rhythmically, I never got into R&B or Hip Hop. So discovering Drake.. I love Drake. I try to bring different stuff into the normal indie pop thing.

RÓSA

It seems like you’re making up for lost time, in that case, since you didn’t really hear it growing up

It is fresh because, of course I heard some growing up, but I got super into samples and drum machines.

Who do you think has stood the test of time for you musically? Who has become more relevant, say lyrically, as time goes by?

Interesting! I’m not the biggest lyric guy..

Haha, really? You’re such a great writer.

Haha thank you. That means a lot.

You must read a lot, then.

I do read a lot. People always say, “Oh, I didn’t like that song because of the lyrics” or whatever, and I’m like, I cannot fathom that. It’s so cliché, but I love The Beatles. George Harrison’s solo stuff. All Things Must Pass is probably the greatest album ever and every time I listen to it I feel.. it kind of feels almost religious. He has a three-hour documentary I think on Netflix. It’s called Living In The Material World. It’s long as fuck, though. When I first watched it I thought, ‘Why haven’t I watched this?’ and then realized ‘Oh yeah, it’s three hours long’.

I think he was the most important Beatle culturally. He was the one pushing for the popularization of eastern ideas to the west. Of course other people did it, but on such a scale. I even think he was the one who was trying to convince the other guys to go to India.

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The Taste of Another is out now. Don’t miss it!