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A Dirty Dozen with SIMON ROACH from RXPTRS – May 2022

According to a recent press release: “Bristol, UK-based band RXPTRS – who blend rock, metal, punk, and hardcore with a seamlessness that is enviable, creating something that is unique that seethes with boundless energy – have announced their forthcoming album Living Without Death’s Permission, out June 24 via Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records. RXPTRS (pronounced “Raptors”) are a new wave of British rock. The energetic quintet combines ferocious grit with an ear for melody. Built upon the backdrop of the UK, the fiercely creative, long-term friends set out with a sonic mission statement to not succumb to a single barrier, to push boundaries and go beyond the limit of genres, creating a raw sound that is unmistakably their own. Each raucous track is laced with lyrical depth as RXPTRS lay it all on the line. They state, “Music is a vessel, this is how we channel the experiences that have shaped us. This is how we bare our scars.” Quickly becoming renowned for their explosive live performances, the group’s hardcore following continues to grow. Their workhorse mentality towards touring has seen them light up stages across the UK and Europe alongside the likes of Escape the Fate, King 810, As It Is, Light the Torch, and more. RXPTRS’ visceral energy continues to infect the population as they cut their teeth on the live scene, with no sign of slowing, they’re truly hellbent on showing everyone the way of the RXPTR.” We get singer Simon to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The album as a whole serves as a journal extract from the past couple years. We’ve been through a lot. So much has happened. The whole album was sparked from a car crash that nearly killed me. I was told I should be dead. So that altered my view on life. The songs take on different aspects of life, and my view on them since the accident. I wrote certain songs on events as they were happening, and used some songs as a vessel to let out some of the things I’d been feeling for a while. We managed to discuss politics, religion, grief, partying and addiction, as well as the accident itself. What some people may not pick up on immediately is that three of the songs were written as a trilogy. Some situations deserve more than one song, or need more than one to paint the full picture. So, “Let Me Die How I Want,” “Cold Ground,” and “The Death Rattle” were written as three perspectives of the same story. My grandmother suffered from serious illness and ended up taking life into her own hands, which shook me and our family to the core. Unfortunately, as a reaction to that my Grandad took a horrible turn and followed her very soon after, which turned my world upside down. First her situation, then seeing him trying to stay strong for the family, but quietly suffering. “The Death Rattle” is the description of how I handled it. After they passed I went through a self destructive period where I had to come to grips with the loss. Of course, writing a 1920s swing-metal song was how we decided to depict that haha.

2. What got you into music and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve always loved music, I have older siblings and parents that love music, mainly 80’s and 90’s rock n roll, and musicals haha. So I grew up around music, it was a huge part of family life. My family moved around a lot, so I have distinct early memories of being in the car with my mum belting out songs with her. Winding down the windows and just yelling along, I’m super shocked she kept hold of the wheel, I can’t imagine I’d have even nearly been in tune. That’s when I knew I loved singing but it was when I saw my first live show that I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I saw Incubus play and loved everything about Brandon Boyd and his performance. Shortly after I saw Slipknot, and I fought to the front. During their soundcheck I got to the barrier, which I wasn’t much taller than at the time, haha. The drums literally hurt my chest, I thought, I need this, all the time. I started playing around in school and started little local bands, and then it just evolved from there.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

It’s hard to say one particular artist that moulded me. Really it came from stealing my older siblings’ albums. My brother loved Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains and Nirvana, some awesome bands that ended up pointing me in the right direction for my later musical taste. My parents loved Guns n Roses, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi too, so that’s where I found my love for huge choruses, so I have them all to thank.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Personally I’d love to work with Trent Reznor. I love the work of minds that seem truly unique. How he pictures whole symphonies, with really abstract sounds and scales, with time signatures that aren’t always as they seem, but are always seamless, I love it. I also think it would be super fun to do something with Rob Zombie too, that man’s mind is something else!

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

We’re all big foodies haha. We all have a lot of different things we do, some of us are gym junkies, we have some gamers, some artists, but we all love food and drink. RXPTRS Bar & Grill needs to become a thing, we do a mean BBQ and mix a lethal cocktail.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

A rock n roll identity crisis. To be honest we welcome any comparisons, I don’t think we strictly sound like anyone, so it’s always interesting to hear people’s take on it. It always comes from a place of love so nothing makes me cringe, if they were like “you sound like that sh*t band” I’d probably feel differently haha. Saying that, if someone came up and said “you remind me of this band I hate” they’d probably still get a high five from me because that would be pretty funny.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Most of us live together in the RXPTR Pad, so we keep things on rotation haha. Gotta say Mat is the BBQ king. Me and Mat make a banging roast too. Me and Harley are the enablers when it comes to drinks haha, not that we have to bend many arms, but we usually spark the nights out. Harley always has a guitar to hand, so that would be him.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I bumped into Nic Cage in LA, although I think I was more in awe of his car that he was standing next to haha. Mat had a run-in with the comedian Lee Evans randomly in a shop recently too.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I think it’s clear, since having it taken away from us for so long, it’s gotta be playing live shows to full capacity venues. We have always been a live band, so the pandemic and the restrictions, which kept us from playing, served as a huge reminder of our favourite part of being a musician. If we weren’t musicians, I would focus on my art. I’m a freelance artist on the side at the moment, so I would go all in on that.  Although now I have RXPTRS Bar & Grill in my head, so we might have to get that going as a side hustle haha.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

We have never been asked ‘What would be the best or most lethal cross breed of any two species?’ . This is a discussion we repeatedly come back to in the van while on tour. The answer we have landed on time and time again is “OctoBear”, a bear/octopus hybrid. We got so passionate and heated in this debate that I ended up with an OctoBear tattoo across my back. Not even remotely tired of any questions yet, we’re always happy to talk to anyone.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I really don’t think there is one moment. For us, this is just the beginning, and everything that’s happened so far, for better or worse,  has served as a stepping stone to get to this point. We have had a rocky road in places, but it’s sculpted us, so in a weird way, I wouldn’t go back and change anything.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

That is a great question. I would love to have been a fly on the wall for the recording of A Night at the Opera by Queen. I would have loved to have seen the process of writing and the development of those ideas. It’s iconic, and that kind of boundless creativity has always been an inspiration for RXPTRS. Queen, to me, are the masters of breaking down walls of genres, and that’s something we continue to aspire to do.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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