Posted On 19 Jul 2018
Meet the indie Houston-based rock act Rome Hero Foxes! The band recently announced that they’ll be releasing their new sophomore album, 18 Summers on July 27th.
This collection represents a shift away from Rome Hero Foxes’ post – hardcore beginnings to a warmer indie rock sound.
“It’s something different from what our listeners are used to but I feel like we were meant to create music like this. I feel right at home when I listen to it,” shares drummer Adrian Romero. Adds guitarist Michael Fox: “18 Summers is a huge step in the maturity of the band. Artists progress and mature over time and this record is the most comfortable I’ve ever been with our music. Our newer sound hits closer to home with my influences growing up.”
Rome Hero Foxes named their sophomore LP “18 Summers,” but it more accurately describes the band’s beginnings. Shortly after graduating high school, the quintet was discovered in 2016 by Dance Gavin Dance’s Kurt Travis and released “For When You’re Falling Backwards.” As far as debuts go, its expanse melded the urgency of post-hardcore with an inward gaze offsetting any chaos. That introspection, bent over swirling guitars and mesmerizing vocal lines, led to reinvention. Instead of baring their teeth through arrangements that spiraled and warped, the band took a self-imposed journey into simpler territory. A pair of twin EPs, I/O and Horoscope, reset Rome Hero Foxes as a group indebted to surf rock and indie pop instead of gnarlier waves, with the latter predicting their shimmering follow-up.
Enter the real 18 Summers. “During this time of writing all of this material, it made me envision all these songs as this sort of time capsule-like void or world where time is slow but life keeps moving faster,” vocalist and rhythm guitarist CJ Burton explains. With that definition in mind, it’s easy to understand the varied warmth and speeds put to tape here. “Seattle Queen,” with Andrew Hagan’s percolating keyboards leading the way, places love’s angled complexities behind a slice of bubblegum pop. “Chest Piece” splits its path way between R&B schmaltz and vaulted pop-punk. Other songs like the Black Mirror nod “San Junipero,” heighten interpersonal highs to infectious, but experimental highs. It’s the only track that reminds listeners of the band’s darker roots, with flecks of mathy guitar flanking verses. This album is as concerned with love as it is with its absence in the face of growing older and growing apart. 18 Summers enters like a dream—abrupt and disorienting—before adjusting to this new state with enthusiasm. This eternal sunshine captures a world where time is relative: sit back, relax, and dive in. Because here, love reigns supreme.
Rome Hero Foxes is CJ Burton (vocals, guitar), Andrew Hagan (vocals, keys), Michael Fox (guitar), Emilio Garcia-Caro (bass), and Adrian Romero (drums)
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Learn more about Rome Hero Foxes in the following All Access interview:
-Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
I’m currently at the end of my weekend, I’ve just been relaxing from the long week of work before I start the next tomorrow!
-All Access Music is currently compiling a list of our artists favorite songs this summer so what is YOUR song of the summer?
My song of the summer has definitely become the new Oso Oso track, ‘gb/ ol h/nf’. I listen to it every day during the week at work and it really puts me in a good summer mood.
-How has 2018 been treating you all? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?
It started out pretty stressful just trying to get everything ready for the new album cycle. Lots of running around, finishing things last minute, and throwing money around but I’d say it’s finally smoothing out. As for a goal, we’ve been trying to stay independent but develop a team for our band to work with on this record release and I’d say we’re almost there. We recently added our new manager Sofi Padilla who brought us into kahoots with Big Picture Media for our publicity team, and now we’re just trying to get a new booking agent to complete the group we need to push things forward at full speed.
-Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? How did you all first meet each other? Has anything surprised you about it all so far?
When I was still in high school I remember asking certain people to be in this group that I wanted to take seriously. Some of them were from a former project of mine and the others reached out to me through the facebook status I made asking around for people to join haha. I first met Adrian our drummer when I had just moved to Texas, he was in the youth church band I joined when I was about 12. I met Emilio in jr. high through a mutual friend, Michael I met through facebook when I posted about starting RHF, and Andrew I met online as well in some shit posting group on facebook. I’m always surprised by the chance that we all came together, especially when only one of the members I knew for a while, the others just kinda hopped in and stuck around which makes our chemistry stronger each year forward. We grow together on a musical and personal level.
-How difficult was it to come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
Being in a high school mindset, I think we definitely had some awful band names in consideration. It was more started as a jam project, I wanted to make sort of a post-rock/post-hardcore influenced groups so at the time names were kind of irrelevant. One of our original members Matthew jokingly suggest naming it his last name rephrased “Bent Hall”. I joked back with him saying like “why do we have to use your last name, that’s like naming ourselves like Romero, Rome Hero Foxes” which was a combination of Michael and Adrian’s last names. I thought it sounded pretty cool when it came out of my mouth so it just kinda stuck when we actually started writing music and playing shows.
-How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
We grew up in a suburb west of Houston called Katy. Pretty bleak place, picture-perfect family type town where everything was just all the same, big and crowded, lots of people. I wouldn’t say it really influenced us because no one in our town was really doing what we were doing, or at least not doing it well – haha. We were always trying to break out of it, it wasn’t really a place you could prosper out of with music so we played in Houston a lot.
-How excited are you all to release your new album, “18 Summers” later this month? What was it like the first time you heard it all the way through?
Excited to the point of being a complete nervous wreck about releasing it. What we did on this record is completely different from the direction we started as so we have all been just dying to know if people are gonna like it, mostly because we love it and feel we’ve really developed a new potential for ourselves. There were a lot of first times of listening. You got the pre-production demos, the rough mixes of what you did, straight from the board, the first batch of mixes, the final mix, and the masters. It was a different experience for all of them for sure. I’d say the most exciting one was listening back to the rough mixes when we finished the whole record. Just listening to all these new sounds and ideas, imagining how much better it would sound when it was finished, it was all so overwhelming. After being a band for a while and doing one specific thing, it’s even more exciting to be listening back to an album of something completely foreign to what you originally sounded like.
-Did anything surprise you about the process of putting this collection together? As your sophomore album, how did you approach the making of it compared to your debut album?
We had different intentions on our debut album. We were all still in high school when we wrote it so it was very angsty, post-hardcore inspired music because that’s all most of us really listened to back then so we were set on trying to be what we listened to. This new album is something more true to our roots as musicians. The way the material came about was a process though, it came from ultimately not succeeding from what we were trying to do. There were a lot of other bands going the same direction as us so it was hard for us to be seen out of the crowd. So understandably, we got tired and decided to move on to a new chapter in our sound, one that everyone was more in tune with which came to be this very obscure punk-infused beachy indie rock.
-While it’s difficult, can you pick out a couple of your favorite songs of this collection? Typically, how do you go about writing your songs? Where do you find that you get your inspiration from?
Difficult indeed. I’d say for me my favorites are “Lost in a Room,” “18 Summers,” and “Good For You.” They’re all my favorites, however. Those three just have an unshakable vibe to them that is always very nostalgic and pleasing to hear. Typically, I write my songs from just playing every day, listening to new things, developing new ideas and inspiration. They just sort of come to me sometimes too, it’s very all over the place. But whenever I have something new and semi-structured, I take to demoing it out on my computer, writing in all the parts that establish the mood or direction I’m goin for, and then I take it to the guys in practice to spruce it up with their touch.
-If you had all the money and time in the world, what song either yours or someone else’s would you love to re-create? What the video be like?
There’s definitely a lot of songs that I’d love to recreate and call mine, but I don’t know if I could actually bring myself to do it. In my eyes all my favorite songs are perfect as they are, I’d feel embarrassed or insecure adding my touch to them. It’s also hard to say with my music because even when I look back and hear things I wish I did different, it always makes it more special to me like maybe that’s the way it was supposed to happen. But if I had to choose, it’d probably be some of our material off of our last album, For When You’re Falling Backwards. There were some songs that I feel just weren’t recorded to their full potential and it would be cool to redo some of those again.
-Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I’d say recording new music in the studio with the whole band is my happiest point. Nothing beats working on songs that have just been sitting around in your head for up to years and finally working on them and fleshing them out with the whole band. It’s always such a euphoric experience writing with them and taking what I have to the next level.
-Do you have any upcoming tour dates this summer that you would like to tell our readers about?
We’re staying home for the summer unfortunately. There’s a lot we are still trying to get together and most of us started working full time so we’re just trying to make our next tours all worth everyone’s time. We’re trying to get on a new booking agency and start being put with more bands of our new sound, so it all takes time. We are having a release show in Houston however and we’re really looking forward to that and playing this record all the way through for our friends, fans and family!
-How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
We all get a little worn out doing this sometimes but there’s always small and big moments that make it all worth it. Personally I couldn’t imagine doing anything else in my life, it’s just about living in reality while trying to make your dream a career. Everyone’s gotta do their fair share of working a shitty day job until one day, things take off and you’re on the road doing what you love.
-We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
Our music isn’t really about all that. It comes from personal experiences of loss and love for us, but there’s a lot of other bands that are making a statement in this time on what’s going on in the world and I will always admire that. I hope to make a difference in that way but we’re still just getting started!
-How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it?
It’s very important to us, mostly because sometimes it’s the only way we can exist as a band. We all have extremely different lives and a lot of the time we don’t really get to be together in the same room unless it’s touring, writing, or recording, which still doesn’t happen as often as I’d wish. Adrian generally handles our website and design, I handle all our social media for the most part because I guess I’m just good at keeping people entertained and making friends. With our new manager Sofi involved now she brings a lot more direction on what we should be putting out there or how we should be representing ourselves online.
-Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
There’s so many different people we’d kill to work with, it’s hard to even day dream of the choices we could make for ourselves. I think we’d all love to make a record at this famous studio we had the privilege of visiting in LA called East West Studio. It’s where literally everyone from Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys to Foo Fighters and Frank Ocean recorded. A dream collaboration for me would definitely be with Radiohead’s producer, Nigel Godrich. Aside from the band writing the material, this dude was the pilot for some of the most innovational and game changing records and it’d be a complete dream to work with him on anything.
-If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?
Probably just a regular handheld acoustic guitar, something to mess around with and pass the time while we’re waiting to be saved I hope.
-What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I hope our music just helps people in situations they feel alone in. That’s why I look up to most bands I grew up listening to because they were singing about things I felt like no one else understood and it’s comforting to have music that speaks to you in that way. A lot of fans tell me the things I write about fit exactly where they’re at in life and that never fails to inspire me.
-Where can our readers connect with this group?
Due to our weirdo name, you can just search us about anywhere and we’ll be the only thing to come up haha. But I’d suggest going through our website ‘www.romeherofoxes.com’ where we have our social media links, store, bio, and other information if you wanna get in touch with us!