Always having carved their own path through music, Philadelphia post metal band Rosetta has taken the plunge to release their latest album, Anaesthete, completely independently (via Bandcamp) first. Ghost Cult saw this brave choice and the musical excellence of this album as a great reason to have a chat with the band about their experience creating the album and releasing it themselves. Guitarist Matt Weed gave us the low down.
Your latest album you’ve produced and released independently how was this experience, and did it go well?
It went very well. We were able to recoup expenses from production, even though the album had the biggest budget of any release we’ve ever done. I think we’ll certainly continue to use this model – it has made the band financially self-sustaining on our own terms.
You worked with City of Ships singer Eric Jernigan on one of the tracks, would you like to tell us something about this collaboration?
He lives not very far from the studio where the album was recorded, so naturally he was around during the sessions hanging out. We initially asked him to play guitar on ‘the weird track’ but he decided he’d rather do vocals. He nailed it, too. We didn’t use any pitch correction or crazy effects on his tracks, just layered them up to get a kind of chorus-y sound. We were surprised and very happy with how it came out.
You decided to release the album digitally on Bandcamp before you release the physical versions, did this strategy pay off you think?
Absolutely. The digital release is our own, so all the revenue from those sales go straight to paying band bills (production costs etc) with no middle-man. It helped us enormously. With physical releases coming out on record labels, that’s great to be able to offer but it’s not a revenue stream for the band. The labels put a lot into those releases, so they are deserve to recoup on that. Having both sides of it like this means that we can be financially sustainable but still offer the cool limited-edition products that collectors are looking for.
Your new album has a unique pacing and placing of songs, can you tell us something about this?
It’s arranged like a hurricane – it has a kind of symmetry to it, with rising and falling chaos, but also a generalized movement from integration to disintegration, or from structure to ruin. Our past albums have been sequenced in a much more intuitive fashion. We just did what felt right. With this one, we put a lot of thought into it and talked about it for a long time. Harmonically, it divides into thirds. Rhythmically it has much more of a cyclonic storm structure.
Are there any songs that have particular meaning for you?
Well they all do, really. But I think that ‘Hodoku/Compassion’ was a big surprise for us. It made me remember the early days when we would just stumble on beautiful sounds by accident. It was something that just came together almost supernaturally during production, with very little planning.
There’s a clear link to Asian culture in song titles, is there a particular reason you chose this?
The titles come from Dave Lowry’s book Sword and Brush, talking about the intersections of martial arts and calligraphy. They have personal meaning for our bass player Dave, who teaches Jiu Jitsu.
Is this theme reflected in the lyrical content, and in what way?
Only in a very oblique way. The song titles were chosen from the book to fit lyrics already written, and to communicate something about each song’s personality and process that goes beyond just their lyrical content – the music is written long before the lyrics, and is therefore in some ways more essential to what the song is.
Your other albums have a more astronomical focus in their themes, is that link to space still there with this new theme? And will the space theme or inspiration return?
We haven’t intentionally pursued space themes in a long time now. They do come up here and there, since Armine typically brings back old lyrical themes from past albums, but the songs and lyrics are more personal now than in the beginning. I don’t think we will move back in that direction.
And finally, if there anything you’d like to express towards our readers in general, any closing words?
More stage dives!
Words: Susanne Maathuis