Of Roofs, Genes And Stolen Meanings
Two years after their impressive debut Of Roofs Genes And Stolen Meanings returned to the spotlight with their new EP Two: Places to call home. Time to ask them a couple of questions. Juni, of of their three guitarists made some time available to answer a couple of questions.
There’s a two year break between your debut and this new EP. That’s a long time between releases, especially nowadays where you generate favorable press today and are forgotten tomorrow. What happened?
Hey Dennis, thanks for having me. I guess the main reason behind the delay was bringing in a third guitarist and a transition in our guitars themselves. Instead of 7-string guitars we now have songs played on 8- and 6-strings guitars. A full-length would be great two years after previous release, but we kind of felt that the whole EP concept was more suitable
I think at that point we just went along with the trend not really knowing what to do with the instruments.
You switched from 7 string guitars to 8 strings. Why that change? Did you make that transfer? And did it work out as you hoped?
I think at that point we just went along with the trend not really knowing what to do with the instruments. The same transitions were made from 6 to 7 strings many years ago and I have never regretted it. I think we still kind of explore the possibilities of a 8-string instrument and learn to know each-other.
A big change, huh? Are you happy with how that whole transformation is turning out? Or are more changes already showing on the horizon?
You have no idea. Every time I go to a rehearsal I am very thankful to be a part of the team that is Of Roofs, Genes and Stolen Meanings. It is a rare occasion where you have all of the (six!) guys very motivated, constantly throwing in ideas etc, ‘cause what I’ve usually seen there are one or maybe two members really into it and the others just go with the flow. I am proud to work with musicians I’m involved with. We’ve been a band for five years and for me it was also fascinating to see people I used to only jam with become my best friends and brothers. If by any additional changes you mean adding an extra member then no, I hope. The main goal right know is to try create songs together. For example the song that took us the longest to write from ‘’Two: Places to Call Home’’ was the “Maelstrom” and “Tusk” combo, ‘cause we really sat down and jammed, threw in ideas etc, I think it took us three weeks straight to write this thing but for me it is the most grim and most dynamic song Of Roofs have ever offered.
Did the album generate possibilities for you to tour?
Yes, sure. We’ve had a chance to play in the Baltics, promoters could see us as a band that already had a full-length release, instead of couple of demos etc. But it’s also a bit hard to tour if a band is from Estonia. My guess is that it would be financially too risky for promoters. But our work doesn’t stop here, the new release brings us new audiences and that’s what we’re aiming for.
In my heart I do believe that Roofs can offer a live show that no other band in the Baltics can deliver and that people deserve to witness it.
I’m guessing the Estonian scene isn’t that big. Do you aspire to generate more interest abroad?
As I mentioned in previous answer, there are only few individuals who are for some reason interested in a band with a weird name coming from Estonia (also known as “somewhere near Russia”). But in my heart I do believe that Roofs can offer a live show that no other band in the Baltics can deliver and that people deserve to witness it.
What kind of shows do you play mostly at the moment? Shows where you headline yourself or also opening for bigger bands from abroad?
For me it is kind of funny to discover that the shows we’ve done during last six months we’re the one that really started to define us as a live-band. With our album presentations we tried to have gigs in the venues where hardcore/metal shows usually don’t happen, we also left the stage at times to have a better bond with the audience. The EP-presentation shows were headlined by us. But we also had opportunities to be a warm-up act for Converge, Enter Shikari, Betraying the Martyrs etc, and btw shout out to the organisers for having us!
In general, what are your ambitions with Of Roofs Genes And Stolen Meanings?
I guess every musician’s ambition is for his/her music to be heard and appreciated in any way possible. Then there’s also the “sign us/tour all over the world/new records” speech, but to be honest after ‘’Two: Places to Call Home’’ came out I personally didn’t really care. I simply am so proud of the record and I still believe that it’s one of the best records released in 2014.
If the lyrics get me excited then they HAVE to be good.
What sets you apart from bands that play more or less similar music is the vocal style that’s used. I’ve learned to expect more death metal like vocals. Is this a choice or did it just grow on you?
Well, we always knew that the voice of the singer pretty much defines the band. At that time a no-brainer would be to have a guy doing his growls, singing about killing people and what not, but we really wanted to have someone unique. And that’s when we enlisted one fine gentleman named Igor Miilvee.
This album is self released. Is there no label interested in releasing Of Roofs Genes And Stolen Meanings?
To be honest we’ve had some discussions about getting signed, but the whole thing behind this has it’s pros and cons, for this record we decided to release it DIY-style.
Of Roofs, Genes And Stolen Meanings is a bit of a childish name in my opinion. Why on earth did you choose a name like this?
Come on… there has to be some kind of story, right? At the very least that this was decision made when drunk or something?
Actually no, no great story here. I think I was the one who came up with the name. We knew for sure that the whole idea behind the band shouldn’t be very dark/metal, ‘cause we’re not that kind of guys. At that time there were countless bands having some weird connection with “wings”, “sorrow”, “dying” and so on. I think I maybe had ”Of Roofs, Genes and Stolen…” on my mind which was short ORGAS and it was a no-brainer to add a M-word at the end. I think I’d been sober for couple of years at that time if that’s the case, haha.
We knew for sure that the whole idea behind the band shouldn’t be very dark/metal, ‘cause we’re not that kind of guys.
The lyrics are a bit abstract (or are so to me at least). Are lyrics important for you? What subjects are dealt with in the lyrics?
I don’t think I am the right person to answer this question. But from what I’ve heard and spoken about with Igor (and again – I may be wrong), he has a really ‘’punk’’ message to his lyrics – songs about politics, youth, society etc. For me lyrics aren’t usually the main concern, but I do care about Igor’s message and I think he does a fantastic job, ‘cause if the lyrics get me excited then they HAVE to be good.
On the new EP you’ve included a song sung in Estonian. Is this something we can expect more?
You see, for us it was a bit of surprise to witness how much the language changes the character of the song. We only know that we really enjoy playing ‘’Teele” live and we’re also satisfied with the way it sounds on the record. I see no reason why we shouldn’t it one more time.
That song sounds pretty good indeed. It has a slightly different vibe from the rest of the EP and I think you might be right blaming the language for that. Anyway, the names of your releases (first One: …. now Two: ….)suggest a theme or at least a sequence. Is there a relation between the two albums so far?
I guess it’s more of a tradition.
Based on the beautiful and eye-catching packaging on One: … and the Artwork of Two: … I’m guessing the artwork is important to you as well. How does this work out? Do you have ideas about how the album should look or do you give an artist all the space to create his/her own idea?
With “One: Life to Learn” the packaging did the trick, no matter what the artwork would’ve been, it wouldn’t stand out without recycled paper. We tried to take the whole album artwork concept more seriously on “Two: Places Call Home”. We have a friend named Erik Hallik who is an artist and all I can say is that Igor and Erik have spent many hours discussing the whole theme and the meaning of the record, it took time about 2 months to make the artwork.
So I’m guessing there’s a lot of symbolism in the cover. Can you explain a bit about the cover artwork?
The whole concept of the album was supposed to be about two separate worlds (hence ‘’Two: Places to Call Home’’) and the bond existing between them, so the artwork symbolizes that idea.
You’ve released a video for Kat. There’s some pretty disturbing imagery used there. What’s the idea behind the video?
As with the artwork, the idea behind the video was born the same way. Us and our friend Stefan Korju from Dark Reign Productions sat down, had some beers/coffee and discussed ideas – he had his own, we had ours. By combining them ‘’KAT’’ was born.
That’s it for me, thanks for your time, Juni!