Road-tested Rosco Bandana to put on eclectic show
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a different kind of scene. U.S. 90 rolls seamlessly through cities such as Ocean Springs, Biloxi and Gulfport. This metropolitan cohesion adds an interesting dynamic for local and touring bands.
Rosco Bandana was born within this environment. With members boasting musical tastes ranging from country to rock, this collective of talented musicians have crafted a homespun sound that is an amalgamation of Southern rock, country, and whatever else they feel like throwing into the mix.
The nation has slowly become acquainted with Rosco Bandana through their new album “Time to Begin.” Their track “Woe Is Me” was also used in the television show “Body of Proof.”
Rosco Bandana is on the cusp of making it in the music business, and the SouthSounds audience will definitely see why. As they prepare to entertain the SouthSounds crowd, vocalist Emily Shoals gave Lagniappe some insight into their world.
SC: The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a pretty interesting music scene. I’ve heard bands describe it as one big city. In many ways, you guys are not like any other band on the Mississippi Coast. What was it like for Rosco Bandana coming up in this scene?
ES: When we came in the scene, it was mostly cover bands around here. We really respect that, when it’s done right. At the same time, we all have a deep appreciation for originality and original music. We kinda were one of the first bands to start playing original songs on the coast, and it started an epidemic. It seems like there’s more original bands on the coast than there has been.
SC: Over the past couple of years, you guys have definitely broken out of the Southeast. What’s it been like watching this project come into its own on the national level?
ES: It’s surreal. We really, really like the Northeast. We do a lot of shows in New York and Boston. Those are two of our favorites. We’ve been to the West Coast a couple of times. It’s pretty cool. We all like traveling. So, it’s interesting packing all seven of us into a little van, but it keeps things interesting.
SC: With such a Southern sound like Rosco Bandana has, what kind of reaction do you get when you go to places like Boston and all around the Northeast?
ES: That’s something that we were worried about a little bit at first, but we have a little bit of rock. It’s like Southern rock. I think they like it. I think they find it endearing, most of the time. On the West Coast, for sure, and on the East Coast, there’s not a lot of that Southern sound. So, I think it’s a breath of fresh air for them.
SC: You mentioned all of you loading up in the van to go out on the road. You’re one of only two women in the band. What’s it like for you two on the road? Do you find yourselves breaking off from the guys?
ES: Honestly, we just become one of the guys. We end up sniffing our armpits to make sure we’re good. When we’re not on the road, we catch ourselves doing that stuff in public. We’re like, “Whoops! We’re not surrounded by a bunch of dudes. We have to be ladies!”
SC: All of your members come from a variety of musical backgrounds and tastes. What was it like trying to find a sonic common ground amongst all the members?
ES: You know, I think that differences in our tastes are what make the music interesting. Our live show is very eclectic. We have a lot of Southern rock. On the other hand, we have this gypsyfied stuff. We have a couple of people who really like Pop Country. Then, we have people who like the more indie rock scene. Jason (Sanford), Josh (Smith) and I are really into the indie rock scene. It is the combination of forces that make things interesting. So, it’s not like we try to force others in the band to mold to our taste. We just want everyone to appreciate each other’s taste and use the best of each of their genres and combine them into one.
SC: Your latest release is “Time to Begin.” What was it like putting that one together?
ES: It was very fun! I was actually right in the middle of student teaching and about to graduate college. I had just got off for Spring Break to go to Los Angeles and record. It was so different from anything that I had ever done and very surreal. It was an honor to work with Greg Collins, who has worked with people like Gwen Stefani to U2. So, he knew what he was doing. Once you’re in the studio, you see music in a different light. It makes you feel a lot more secure with music.
SC: One thing that was very surprising and refreshing on the album to me was your interpretation of Blur’s “Tender.” What made you take that on?
ES: On our first day in the studio, Greg Collins was like, “OK, now that I have all of you in the studio, the first song that we’re gonna do it ‘Tender.’” He’s a big Blur fan, and he was just jamming and he had this epiphany that Rosco should cover this. He had these harmonies in his mind. So, that was Greg Collins’ idea, and it just worked. It was a fun one.
SC: In addition to SouthSounds, Rosco Bandana has a lot of big shows coming up over the next few months. With the new album and all this exposure on the way, what are the band’s goals? Where do you want to see Rosco Bandana a year from now?
ES: I’m hoping that we’ll do more tours outside of the United States, maybe go to London. I’m think we’re really hoping to get some licensing deals and get our songs out there, whether it be commercials, TV or movies. “Woe Is Me” was already featured on “Body of Proof.” As far as licensing, we want more stuff like that happening and really get our songs out there. I think the most important goal is to somehow touch people and a broader audience with our music.
Date: Friday, April 11, from 12:15 a.m.-1 a.m.
Venue: Alabama Music Box, 455 Dauphin St., www.alabamamusicbox.net