Band seriously in it for the laughs

VIDEO They've been making a name for themselves for the last 18 months. And in 2007 they performed more than 100 gigs and launched their first single. Today, as we follow their progress throughout the year, JAMES MARSTON speaks to Rosalita.

THEY'VE been making a name for themselves for the last 18 months.

And in 2007 they performed more than 100 gigs and launched their first single.

Today, as we follow their progress throughout the year, JAMES MARSTON speaks to Rosalita.

IT'S a wet and windy Tuesday night.

Just when most sensible people are sitting at home in the warm, the five lads who make up Ipswich-based band Rosalita are turning up for the first of the week's rehearsals.

Ben, Kris, Jay, Richard and John all have the same goal - to share their music with as many people as possible and enjoy making music as much as they can.

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As they set up drums, microphones, guitars and keyboards, behind the banter the lads are making sure their time together is productive and worthwhile - they are serious when it comes to their music and there isn't any messing around.

Now signed to a label and preparing for a UK-wide tour, the lads are facing a challenging year ahead. They know if they are going to break through in the music industry that the hard slog, often years of it, comes first.

It is when they start playing that the small studio off Hadleigh Road comes alive.

Imperceptibly the lads fall silent for a second or two.

Without speaking they sense what the others are doing around them and without hesitation the drummer picks his moment to tap out the beat.

Instantly the atmosphere changes, the noise is deafening, the air is moving and the rehearsal has begun.

So what will this year hold for Rosalita? What will 2008 bring?

Stephen Foster, Evening Star music columnist and BBC Radio Suffolk presenter, said: “Rosalita are one of the leading bands in Suffolk. They have a cutting edge sound unlike anyone else in this region. They have lots of energy, they look the part and they are all pulling in the same direction which isn't always the case.

“They stand as good a chance as any in recent years of making a breakthrough. They are good to work with and have their feet on the ground.

“I think their next step is to get in the van and get out as much as they can, which is what they are doing.”

n Are you a fan of Rosalita? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Kris Andrew

Age: 20

Lives: Duke Street, Hadleigh

Role: Lead vocals

Current job: part-time welder

Status: Has a girlfriend

Kris said: “2007 has been really good and we've got a lot done. We did about 100 gigs so it's been a lot of hard work as well promoting and performing.

“We have got to the position now where we have a publishing and managing deal with a label in Norwich. We don't know what's going to happen this year.

“Our ultimate aim is to have a record deal. We want to be successful with what we do. We want a hit record.”

Last year the band opened the high-profile V Festival performing in front of an audience of thousands.

“The highlight of last year for me was playing the V Festival. We also supported The Jam and did a great gig at the Great White Horse in Ipswich, which sold out.

“This year we want to continue to raise our profile a bit more and continue to get noticed. We've got three singles due out and an album early in 2009.

“We need to expand out of Ipswich and our aim is to go to other places and do the same and build up our fan base.”

For Kris entertaining the audience is paramount.

He said: “We've never set out to sound like anyone else but we like to write songs that people can dance to. We are not that serious, we don't do a lot of emotion. I love playing live gigs and seeing people's reactions to our music.

“It's also great to hear the finished product and I like to hear what people think about what we do.”

Richard Tyler

Age: 24

Lives: Trimley St Mary

Role: Guitarist

Current job: guitar teacher

Status: Single

Richard said: “I've done things I never thought I would. We had our first gig at the end of 2005 and for the first year or year and a half we were finding our feet. We've been going as a band since January 2007.

“We write very democratically. Someone will have an idea and the rest of us will rip it apart and we develop it together.

“Everyone has an input and we make it sound how we all like it by the end of the process.”

Richard said the band enjoy the process and the performing despite the hard work on top of their day jobs.

He said: “We wouldn't do it if we didn't enjoy it. I'm a half-decent musician and I could earn a living as a musician but this is my passion at the moment and we will push the band as far as we can go.

“Hopefully this year we will be able to raise our profile a bit higher. Playing at a festival in the summer would be good too. We are hoping to release an album this time next year. We are also touring in March and we've got about 11 dates culminating in Ipswich on March 28 at the Ipswich Caribbean club, it would be good if we sold that out.”

Richard said there are plans to tour again in June and again in the autumn, though the details have yet to be confirmed.

He said: “We've done more than 200 gigs now but we've never done more than five or six in a row so it will be an experience for us. I'm very excited. It's going to be good.”

Jay Goodrich

Age: 22

Lives: Astor Road, Ipswich

Role: Bass guitarist

Current job: guitar teacher

Status: has a girlfriend

Jay said: “I think we've set a foundation for the band in 2007. The highlight was the V Festival. It was over so quickly though.

“We saw Kelly Jones from Stereophonics and we had fun with Jarvis Cocker, which was cool. The other bands didn't give us tips but they were really supportive, it was cool playing before the Foo Fighters.”

Jay said the band members are close and focused.

He said: “I think I'm really lucky to have met four other people that are going in the same direction. We listen to all sorts of things. We have Gary Numan in the van at the moment and Devo. We have our own van which takes us to gigs, it's our workhorse.”

Jay said the band are not putting themselves under unnecessary pressure.

He said: “There's no rush. We all feel the same. We will stick at it as long as we are improving. I think there's a lot more we can achieve but we don't want to pressure ourselves.

“We are our own bosses which is great. I don't like being told what to do.”

Ben Groom

Age: 25

Lives: Chantry area of Ipswich

Role: Keyboards

Current job: piano teacher

Status: has a girlfriend

Ben said: “I'm classically trained on the piano and have a degree in music but I prefer the synth noise. I wasn't really going to be a concert pianist, I prefer the music we are doing.”

The former Stoke High School pupil said his music training comes in useful during the writing process.

He said: “My degree was in both classical and popular music so I can see both sides. I like tidy music which is logical and when we play the right parts in the right place. I'm no better musician than the other guys though. We are pleasing ourselves.”

Ben said 2007 had been “hectic” for the band.

He said: “We are starting to build up a fan base in some of the bigger cities. And the publicity we got from playing at the V Festival was really good.

“We launched our single in Norwich in the autumn.”

Ben said the gigs are fun and he enjoys the experience of performing.

“Driving up to a gig is a great laugh. We are five mates having fun doing what we do. It's often the little things that are the best bits.”

Ben said the band has no specific plan for 2008.

He added: “It's hard to say what's going to happen. We are in a strong position. We are still learning our trade. Even people like Paul McCartney and Elton John don't know everything. Every song you write you think is better than the one before.”

John Randall

Age: 23

Lives: Merlin Road, Ipswich

Role: Drummer

Current job: salesman

Status: single

John said: “I've always been into music. I used to sing to my next-door neighbours and I met Jay and Ben when I was about 13 or 14.

“I'm self-taught really. I had about two or three lessons but that was all.”

The former Chantry High School pupil said it's the drummer's job to keep the rest of the band in time.

He said: “The drums are the foundation and the back beat and provide the beat to dance to. There's something about it that excites me more than anything. I love performing and we are all a bit extrovert but during the day I'm quite quiet.”

On the night of the rehearsal John said the band was going through the set and trying out a couple of new songs.

He said: “We've got a couple of new things to show to our manager at a later date. We go into severe detail when we are writing. We can look at one bar of music and get the different interpretations before we agree on the right one.”

John said he is looking forward to playing to the home crowd in Ipswich at the end of the March tour.

He said: “It's not make or break for us. We've got a tour lined up which we are looking forward to.”

Panel - Rosalita Tour

March 2 King Tuts Wah Wah Hut (18+) Glasgow

March 13 The Ark (18+) Edinburgh

March 14 Academy 2 (18+) Newcastle

March 15 Dry Bar (18+) Manchester

March 16 Bar Academy (14+) Birmingham

March 17 Freebutt (16+) Brighton

March 18 Joiners (14+) Southampton

March 19 Arts Centre (14+) Norwich

March 20 Bar Academy (14+) London

March 21 Barfly (15+) Cambridge

March 22 Trashy @ Carling Academy (18+) Oxford

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