Vito Roccoforte DJing at Lit in NYC
The Rapture have a new album? What? Maybe you thought they faded into the background a few years ago along with the short-lived indie-dance phenomenon, but while they were certainly on trend (and arguably started the indie-dance trend) in 2002, that doesn’t take away from their undeniably catchy songwriting and danceable beats: something they have continued, albeit in a more polished way, on their new album Pieces of the People We Love.
If you haven’t already, make sure you take a listen to the free MP3s of their new single “Get Myself Into It” that I posted yesterday. Also take a look at their official website and MySpace page for tour dates and other free listens.
Drummer Vito Roccoforte, who co-founded the band along with singer Luke Jenner, talked to me last week about how the band has grown since the first album, what they’re listening to these days, and more. Read the complete Q&A after the jump!
Were you going for a more polished sound on your new album, Pieces of the People We Love?
Vito Roccoforte: We didn’t consciously go for it but it did kinda happen. It’s so weird when you’re making an album. You can’t really see everything happening; it’s like looking at a picture from 3 inches. We did it and when it came out, a lot of people said that to me. Now going back, it does sound more polished. To me, it isn’t a bad thing. At the time, it wasn’t a conscious thing.
It is what it is. Musically it is cleaner. It was what we were influenced by at the time. We all really like modern pop and R&B (like Timbaland). We really like disco music a lot, plus more left field dance music. We wanted to include these influences in this album. It was taking a chance in some ways. It’s a lot easier to make an artier, cooler album. At the same time, that’s not all we’re into.
In an interview [singer] Luke [Jenner] said, “I used to have this idea that vocals were somehow valid if they sounded painful. But this time, I decided I don’t need to hide behind that, and it’s okay to make something sound happy.” Can you elaborate on this?
I think it’s a lot scarier if you actually try to sing. Luke went for it and tried to sing on this album. It’s easier to scream and sound tortured.
Is this a sign of the band growing up?
It’s kind of just where we’re at right now, what we’re feeling right now. A song like “The Devil” we never would have completed four years ago. It’s too pop. I mean there’s a guitar solo in it. It’s a really poppy song.
How exactly does The Rapture’s collective songwriting process work?
Everybody got to do what made them happy. Generally, 8 out of 10 tracks were written by us all in a room. We rented our friend’s studio, set up our stuff, went in, and played. We were able to record everything right away. We just go into a room and start playing together. One person would say “why don’t we try to arrange this here… what about a break/bridge here?” One of the singers will take that home and try to write some lyrics to it. Sometimes it’s structured more after the lyrics are in it. Whichever singer sings the song also writes the lyrics.
The Rapture recently started its own label called Throne of Blood. What made you want to form your own label?
When we signed with Universal, one of the sticking points is that we wanted to do our own vinyl releases. To us, vinyl is really important. We’re all record nerds, we all DJ. “House of Jealous Lovers” was a 12 inch. On a major label, vinyl isn’t that important; it doesn’t make a lot of money. We realized that if we want to have control of that, we need to have our own label. The last thing we wanted to have happen was for us not to have 12 inches.
Where did that name come from?
It was this name I had kicking around for a while. It’s the name of a Kurasawa samurai movie and a Prince Jammy dub song. I always pictured using it for a metal band project. I just threw it out and it stuck. We had our friend Andrew do the artwork.
You have an upcoming UK tour next year. How do your British fans differ from your American ones?
For us it’s more of a city to city thing than country to country. Glasgow, Edinburgh. Manchester… they rock, they’re just crazy. In the bigger cities like London, New York, and L.A., the fans can be more reserved.
When you’re out dancing, what song gets you really excited?
When we were DJing parties on the last tour, I got really into Fedde Le Grand’s “Put Your Hands Up for Detroit.” I didn’t even like it the first time I heard it, but it really grew on me.
Any advice for a new band trying to break through?
Play with your friends. It doesn’t matter how good they are. Being in a band is really hard, so stick with it. Have fun making music; that’s the most important thing.