Interview & Photos By: Chapin Patel
Can you Introduce yourselves and what your role in the band is?
My name is C. J. Burton and I provide vocals and guitar.
My name is Emilio and I play bass.
My name is Michael Fox and I play lead guitar.
My name is Andrew Hagan and I play keyboards and backing vocals.
What is something you’ve learned from your album 18 Summers?
Emilio: I think for 18 Summers it taught all of us that if we want to do something different because the two records are very different sounding. I think 18 Summers, as in the gap between these two records and playing those songs live off of 18 Summers really taught me that when we want to do something drastically different we can really pull it off, you know? We just had to give the same energy that we gave to the last record for it and when we just go in on songs it feels raw and real for us.
Michael: I think 18 Summers just felt more genuine to what we are and what we’re going towards. 18 Summers is more in my wheelhouse and it’s more what I enjoy.
Andrew: I’m in the same boat, I enjoy this more than For When You’re Falling Backwards.
What is something you’ve learned from your album For When You’re Falling Backwards?
CJ: That’s a can of worms, basically just becoming more in touch with ourselves and our true intentions. Post-hardcore is just something we’ve just very delicately brushed with. We weren't always supposed to do. Emilio and I were in a band before Rome Hero Foxes in junior high, it was always fixated around an indie/pop idea and it shows on For When You’re Falling Backwards. After being through that scene and it just not working out it really pushed us to figure out what kind of band we are, how we wanted to brand ourselves, and what music we want to make and if it’s true to us because we all like different kinds of music.
Michael: For When You’re Falling Backwards felt off to me but that’s because I didn't grow up with a post hardcore background.
Andrew: I feel like I’ve heard stuff like For When You’re Falling Backwards a million times, but I was not in the band when they recorded that. So when he (CJ) asked me to join the band I was like nah, but then he showed me 18 Summers and I was like yeah that sounds really good, I love this.
CJ: From an audience perspective you look at releases and when they came out and you kind of only have that window of time to look at. 18 Summers was a bunch of material I had written that at the time I had that post-hardcore attitude that we wanted to go for at the time, I just shelved it. A lot of sat in dropbox/my computer for years. I think when we made the decision to move away from that we found ourselves in that decision to leave post-hardcore. There’s two releases that happened in between 18 Summers and that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have 18 Summers in mind, it was actually already being worked on thoroughly. I/O was a collaborative effort. When Andrew first joined the band,
Horoscope was something we did a little bit more together and I wanted to pave the way for what we were gonna do on 18 Summers and I think with those two releases it kind of showed us that this is who we are, and we are a band who is always changing and we love when people tell us that we have that effect. A lot of the bands I looked up to do that as well. Definitely the era of writing 18 Summers was a breakthrough for the band.
Where did you record 18 Summers and how did the location play into what the album became?
CJ: We recorded 18 Summers with Ben Rosett who Is the drummer of Strawberry Girls. He has this really cool studio set up in Carmel, CA which is located by the Bixby Bridge. The scenery was so relevant to what we were doing on the record. We were going for something beach and we were right by the beach, so that drew a lot of inspiration for us. We would walk outside and hear the wonderful sounds would definitely inspire us.
Michael: We also started writing four songs in Galveston We have a friend who has a beach house and we cleared out the entire upstairs and we set up there for four days and the writing began there.
Andrew: That was the first time that I heard anything from the record, they finished recording demos and asked me to write something on top of it and the first thing I wrote for was Seattle Queen. I hadn't been in the band and he asked me to join. He sent me Seattle Queen and asked me to write since I am a piano major, so I came up with some sick piano parts and really enjoyed it.
CJ: 18 Summers went through a lot. At that beach house we were working on a couple songs which included Don’t Call My Name, Seattle Queen, Be Your Side, and Lost In a Room. When we put out a record it’s something we wrote 2-3 years prior. By the time the record is being put out, we are onto the next one. After that we started writing a little bit more. The way it works is in the past I’ve been primarily the song writer and I’ll just put drums to logic and then add guitar parts, and add my song parts. Next I’ll ship it off to them and they’ll listen to it and we will meet up and try to hash it out and that’s really what makes Rome Hero what it is because everybody has their different tastes and I try to leave room for that because if it was just me doing it the music wouldn’t sound very good.
So do you guys live close by and work together on songs?
Andrew: We live close now. But I used to live in South Carolina so he would demo out some stuff and send me voice memos and I would write without having a physical format. When we did I/O together we would FaceTime and write songs together, he would send me voice memos and stuff. He would write out his parts and send me the file and then he would send me his file and then CJ would engineer them together.
CJ: On top of that, our drummer Adrian has been in Lubbock. He’s going to school at Texas Tech. Rome Hero’s timeline plays into that so we have summers, one week of winter break if we are lucky and then spring break. Emilio moved to Norway for three years (2013-2016). We did what we could and still worked together. They would fly out to record the albums. We have adapted to a rushed environment. We have so much chemistry and they can fly out and get it done.
Emilio: I moved back after graduating high school in 2016! I flew out For When You’re Falling Backwards. When we were recording that, we were already talking about the next direction and how it was going to be so different and thats how Horoscope, I/O and 18 Summers came to be.
CJ: You need to be at least six months out from recording process, you know what you’re doing and we don’t have the budget or the time to go into the studio blind without our songs being finished. That’s stress on us, thats stress on the people we work with. We talk about the material that we are working for after it. It makes for some pretty good songs. Sometimes we will write some good songs and we kind of forget about them. A lot of personal and emotional bands will happen it the band it will kind of age It like wine.
Who are some bands you would suggest us to listen to?
CJ: There’s been so many good bands on this tour. Last night we saw this band, Johnny Manchild who are very theatrical. The frontman is a keyboardist and they have a horns section and they're very cool. In New Jersey we saw a cool band called Tula Vera. They were like a psychadelic band, they’re incredible. Their front woman had an interesting voice as well. They really had it together. We get really excited when we get to play with bands who we really enjoy.
Andrew: The Kinda Collective were very good as well. We saw them in Tulsa and they are a jazz fusion band. They blew me away. The group are all in high school and way ahead of their time. They were great to watch. They were playing very formulated jazz music. I think they should be headlining festivals. They’re incredible.
What’s been your favorite moment on tour?
CJ: I’ll preface it with this, our other tours before this one have been a little hard, honestly. This one had more of a direction and an objective. Everything was more put together this time. Aside from the long drives, everyday had its own comedic just over the top moment.
Emilio: When we’re on the road, we get bored. We get tired and hungry and things get weird.
Andrew: I found these glasses at the venue and put them on and made a character out of myself. I pretended as if I had a new persona called Andre Avocado and acted as if I was this pretentious art nerd.
CJ: We like to make kind of skit comedy with ourselves. We talk about it down to what someone’s wearing, their mannerisms and what they talk like.
Emilio: It’s like we’re pretending we’re in a tv show. We have different chapters of each character. We love Eric from Heart Attack Man, they’re so funny.
CJ: New Jersey was a really good date for us. Every local band was really good and we were so impressed. As soon as we came in the owner was super nice and bought us all shots and had catering for us. It was a small town and had a booming local scene. We got there early and we were able to book a hotel and take a nap before the show which was very nice for us. We were so well rested and we played smash later that night. It was such a great day for us.
Are there any songs on 18 Summers that reference your older material?
CJ: Definitely! I’m not sure I want to spoil them, they're kind of like scattered throughout the album. The most obvious one is in the introduction of Chest Piece, I reference When We’re Older. I say cause I know that when we’re older, I’ll be stronger for your games. I find myself using those words, 18 Summers is a very reflective record. Some of the songs weren’t finished so I got to go back and reaffirm what I was trying to say with more guidance. As well as, in Seattle Queen, we reference For When You’re Falling Backwards, when I say Take a step forward, but you’re falling backwards.
Michael: I think that Don’t Call My Name sounds like a For When We’re Falling Backwards song.
What can listeners expect from you guys in 2019? Any tours coming up? New music in the works?
CJ: We get really ahead of ourselves as I said earlier. By the time 18 Summers was being recorded , we already had stuff lined up. We’ve been working towards it more. We are trying to wait for another LP because we feel as if its way too soon for that. We will probably do two releases in between both of them will be very unique.
Andrew: Basically the stuff we have for our LP doesn’t really mesh well with what we already had. We want to take what we already have and get it out there. We don’t want to have to step back. We are putting a new song in the near future.
Emilio: As far as tours go, hopefully this year we can be on the road a lot more. We don’t have anything set in stone, but want to tour more for sure.
CJ: We just got picked up by APA who are a booking agency, they book Turnover and Citizen. That’s why we did this tour, we played for them in New York and they liked it. We are going to start being submitted to bigger support slots. We are ready to kick ass and go full force.
Let’s settle it: Is Bucc-ee’s just a gas station or is it much more than than that?
Andrew: It’s a safe haven. Every time we go to Bucc-ee’s I get super excited because we don’t have that in Charleston! Every time I go in I get so excited and I love that I can buy anything from there. It’s scary but also awesome.
CJ: What a concept, it’s the most Texas thing ever, honestly.
Michael: I love Bucc-ee’s! It’s great!
Andrew: The last time we went was when we were on our way to record our new single.
CJ: We got those ghost pepper chips and we were eating them in the van and I was crying because they were so hot. It’s like a Walmart sized gas station and we love it.
Emilio: I used to have videos of myself arguing with the statue of the beaver.
What music platform do each of you prefer?
Andrew: Apple Music because I have a huge iTunes library.
Emilio, CJ, Michael: Spotify all the way!
If you could describe touring in three words, what would they be?
CJ: No fucking showers.
Emilio: Allergies, air conditioning.
Michael: Stress eating & alcohol.
Andrew: Smash, naps, smash.
To wrap up, do you have anything else to add?
CJ: RHF 2019 we are coming in hot. We are very thankful for everything great thats happened to us. We are excited and proud to finally make this brainchild-passion project into a career. Cheers!
Emilio: This is going to be one of the biggest years for us and I’m excited to make it happen.
Check out Rome Hero Foxes here!
You can check out their merchandise here as well as listen to their album here as well!