Harness Magazine ventured to Bunbury Music Festival this year, getting the chance to chat up Sublime With Rome and hear all about their music and what’s new with the band.
Harness: Today is the first day of this whole new tour. How are you guys feeling? It’s about an hour away from your set, right? What’s that like?
Sublime With Rome: Yeah, about an hour. Right now it’s like the calm before the storm, usually. It’s like you kind of get this weird last minute wave of tiredness right before stage, and I think that’s just your body preparing for battle. But it’s dope.
We just dropped an album yesterday and today is the first day of tour, so the morals are high. Morale is high right now.
Harness: We’re catching you guys at a really good time.
SWR: Yeah. Sometimes people will catch bands at the very end of a long leg and there’s not much to talk about. Your people are kind of ready to go home, you know?
Harness: The album was released yesterday, how does it feel?
SWR: It’s dope. You know it’s crazy, because you spend years making the stuff and then you listen to it and you mix it down and you master it and then it’s done and mastered. And then you just wait for the release date.
Your friends want to hear it and your family, so you’re playing the songs a lot and you’ve got to try and not like your own songs, you know?
In this instance, the album was done this time last year. So we’ve sat on it for like 12 months. We went to radio with the single last August and it did really well for us, then we dropped another single in November. So we leaked songs until then, but straight up, we didn’t drop the body of music until like a year later.
We have to re-learn them, pretty much.
Harness: How long did it take to write this album then, leading up to a year ago when you had completed it and then you were waiting another year to release?
SWR: It’s a long process. It’s like three and a half, four years with some of these songs. But I mean, some of that time too was us in the studio in 2016 where we only walked out with I think two songs we liked. Then we try and do it again ’17 and it’s the same kind of thing. Then ’18, we did it and we came with the song “Wicked Heart,” and then “Blessings.” Then it was just like, we have an idea for an album. And then we just fucking went in and knocked it out in like three weeks.
But it took years to kind of get to the point, because we had just been touring and touring and touring and touring, and then it was like, “Go make a record,” and it was like, “Okay.” And we just jumped in. So that’s not always the grounds for the most creative stuff. For me, lyrically, if I don’t take time and dig deep into something, then I’m just going to put out wishy-washy fucking lyrics and nobody wants that.
Harness: What is the songwriting process like for you guys?
SWR: I write the lyrics and then I’ll bring the framework of the song and then we’ll chop it up, and Eric will do his thing with it. Then at that point, it’s kind of communal. It’s like, “What if we dropped this here and brought this here?” Eric’s always got like sonic sounds and stuff in his head that he wants to kind of implement in.
That’s what’s dope about writing the songs before going into the studio, because when you’re in the studio, you’re not trying to come up with the songs while you’re recording them and producing them. I don’t know, that’s how I guess we’ve done it in the past or I’ve always been used to doing it like that, and this time it was just different. All the songs were written beforehand and when we went in the studio, it was just kind of the final last time. And it was like, we can just go in on the sounds and the flow of everything more so than have to worry about making great songs, because we already wrote those.
Harness: With this album, do you feel like there’s sort of a message? Lyrically, what are you guys talking about? What is the album about?
SWR: Have a good time. Have a good time all the time. Essentially it’s just been kind of chronicling that.
I’ve been in the band with Eric for like 10 years now. He’s taken me all over the world, you know? Fucking wife, kids, I bought a house. So it’s just, it’s been 10 years since we’ve been a band and lyrically it’s just kind of me talking about that whole thing. Because I never really talked about it and this was the album where I was just like, “I’m going to open up and talk about what the whole journey has been like and everything.”
Harness: We talk a lot about mental health. Would you want to speak to what your journey has been like with that?
SWR – Rome: I think, resistance is kind of the thing that everybody kind of deals with, period, and you face it in all facets of your life and with creatives, it’s I’d say it’s a little even crazier. Just because you’re in a constant battle of whether or not your art is good or not, and then you can go online and read one person saying it’s the best and one person saying you should really stop. So it’s a constant just fucking tug-of-war back and forth. It’s like that before you even leave your parents’ house, which I can only imagine how hard it could be for someone and then they get out and then they’re expected to go and like take the world by storm.
We’re not really geared, we’re not really programmed to kind of live that lifestyle. So I think it’s important for people to kind of change the framework of their mind, if they think like that or if they’re brought up like that. I did.
I was scared shitless when we had to do our first show at Smoke Out. We had like 10 months before I knew. It was February and they’re like, “in October, you’re going to be playing the show in front of 20,000 people.” And it was like, “Okay.” You know? Most people, when your day of magic happens, you’re in the spot. You’re just like, “Shit, I’ve got to perform right here.” Like whatever it is. You’re in the hot seat and you either sink or swim, but in this instance, I knew that that day was coming and I was not mentally prepared for that. So I had to get mentally prepared.
I read a book called “Think and Grow Rich.” This band, Bad Brains, great band, they read that book and it really kind of helped frame their mind, change their mindset. And then I got really into that band and of course was like, “What are they talking about?” Then I read that book that they loved and always talked about and then that totally helped me, so I always tell people PMA: positive mental attitude always.
SWR – Eric: Well, I think all artists are crazy in their own way, whether you’re ADD or schizophrenia. I think I’ve got a little bit of everything, but just enough to get by and still have a driver’s license.
Harness: You’re still having a good time after all these years of making music. What has that journey been like for you?
SWR – Eric: Well, great. It’s like they say, if you enjoy what you do for a living, you never work a day in your life. Except when we’re sitting at the airport sleeping on the floor at three in the morning, waiting until 12:00 noon to fly home. That’s the work there, I’ll tell you.
Harness: You have big shoes to fill. So what is the reaction from fans when you’re putting out new music versus playing all the old stuff. How is that transition?
SWR – Rome: It’s just got to be good.
SWR – Eric: Yeah, he’s not filling anybody else’s shoes, really. We’re our own entity. That was a different band pretty much. We’re just stoked to be able to play our songs from back then.
SWR – Rome: You can’t really fill Brad’s shoes. He’s like a legend.
Harness: Do you feel like Bradley has lived on then through you guys continuing to play?
SWR – Eric: Absolutely, yeah.
Harness: And had you not found him [Rome], would you have kept playing those songs, do you think?
SWR – Eric: I don’t know. I never really looking for a singer, or out there looking to start another band. But the thing with any band that I was in, I was trying to play in a drag racing band and a punk rock band and psychedelic band and a Stooges cover band, but everybody that shows up to our shows wants to hear some live songs and those bands I was in didn’t know any and I wouldn’t expect them to. We’re doing what we’re doing because I want to play them and that’s what people want to hear, so give people what they want.
SWR – Rome: It’s just a beautiful thing where our fans have been really awesomely receptive to our music just as long as it’s good. You can’t put out any bullshit. We try to hold that caliber and put out the best shit we’ve got.
Harness: Is there anything else you would want your fans to know about this upcoming tour and what you guys have coming up?
SWR – Rome: We’ve got some crazy fucking visuals on this shit. We got a whole new fucking, it’s like a whole new stage setup.
SWR – Eric: We have like a fun house and a roller coaster behind the stage …
SWR – Rome: a trampoline, it’s insane. We’re hiring pyro.
SWR – Eric: It’s totally out of this world.
Harness: Okay, so you have a festival vibe then going on this tour?
SWR – Rome: It’s going to be insane. We do have some sick ass new lights though, and videos.
Harness: Anything else that you would want us to know about you, your band or your experience?
SWR – Rome: Just thanks to all the fans for fucking keeping us floating from city to city, town to town, and shout out to all the good mothers out there.