Artist Interview: The Young Romans

The Young Romans were kind enough to talk with us about the band, what it was like to be featured in “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” and their debut album, “Tiger Child.”

Tell us a little bit about the band.

Sari: We’re an indie pop band based in Los Angeles. We’re still pretty new, only about 2 years old. We recorded an EP about a year and half ago, and just finished our first full length record “Tiger Child” in March of this year. AND we love m&ms.

Brad: What I love most about this project is that we come from very different musical backgrounds. I have a tendency for tightly constructed pop songs while Sari tends to approach her writing more linearly and with freer form. We do butt heads from time to time but somehow manage to find a happy place in the middle. Most of the time that is. Ha.

What’s the significance of your band’s name?

Sari: Well, you (Brad) made the name up, so you should answer it.

Brad: How does this story go again? The real version or… Ha. A friend of mine asked if I would help him with his songwriting. I said sure. Then I took to calling him Young Roman as a joke. I was the mentor; he was the minion. One day I realized that the name had a pretty cool ring to it. So I typed it into the notes of my iPhone, and when Sari and I started the band a few months later, I combed
through my notes looking for song ideas and there it was, a perfectly good band name ripe for the taking.

What’s your goal when you’re writing songs?

Brad: It’s kind of sappy, but for the most part when I’m writing a song the goal is usually just to get some emotion out that I’m dealing with. Of course, we want to make good records, but there’s a real therapeutic quality to the writing process as well. Something’s bothering me, write a song, move on.

Who’s currently inspiring you to make music? Biggest influences?

Sari: It’s not so much a who as it is a what. I guess it’s just life in general that inspires me. Brad, you should add something here about me not being a very good communicator.

Brad: I think you’re a beautiful talented enigma, Sari Mellafe. You don’t have to say anything ever. As for me, I’m enjoying Spoon and Passion Pit. But I can’t really say that our music sounds like theirs in any way. I do appreciate their distinct approaches to writing and recording though, and it makes me want to dig deeper into our sound as well.

What’s the song writing process look like for you guys?

Sari: I tend to focus on instrumentation and melody first rather than lyrics. I start with guitar parts and then build up, filling in the canvas.

Brad: Lately I’ve been writing melody first. Most of the time I’ll be riding in the car or running or something and a lil snippet will pop into my head. That’s why Sari and I work so well together. We come from different sides of the equation. I think our best songs are the ones where we each brought a piece and then found a way to fit them together.

What does it mean to be featured in a movie like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen?

Brad: It was awesome. We had not had an opportunity like this before, and we were actually able to sit down and view the ending scene of the movie and write the song directly to fit the part. It’s been awesome to hear the stories of people waiting till the end of the credits to find out who was singing the end credits’ song. It’s opened a lot of doors and connected us with fans in places we never anticipated.

Why cover The Logical Song?

Brad: A good friend of mine came to one of my very first band’s shows and rushed up to me afterward asking me if I had ever listened to Supertramp. I hadn’t. He said that there were elements of what I was doing that reminded him of the band. I have no idea what those elements might have been, and I hadn’t listened to much Supertramp but immediately fell in love with the band. Fast forward several years, Sari and I were experimenting with some cover song ideas for live shows, I pulled up Supertramp on iTunes, The Logical Song was the first one we listened too, we played it live, people liked it, so we put it on the record.

Anything else fun to add, a poem or a quote or story?

Sari: A story? hmmm….. I just got hit on the freeway going 75 mph and It was a hit and run. My legs are covered in bruises the color of eggplants. And I will never wear shorts again.

Brad: A poem? Yes. Here’s the one that inspired Tiger Child.

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.