Artist Interview: Wild Rompit

Wild Rompit is a four-piece indie rock group from Philadelphia. Blair Ollendorf, Brandon Bost, Paul Impellizeri, and Sean Donaghy have been hard at work on their debut full-length album, Spirit Moves, which will be released on August 27th. Rock On Philly sat down with the talented and goofy guys to learn more about their music, development, and where they’re heading.

 

How did the band form?

Brandon: The band formed when Blair and I came to Drexel University. We were randomly paired to be roommates, and then the rest is history.

Blair: Well no, the rest was not history. Because then we got Paul, you forgot about Paul. The title of this should be “Interview with a narcissist”.

Brandon: So blair and I were paired together as roommates. We started playing music together, found out we had similar musical interests in terms of who we listened to and are inspired by, so we started playing local open mics. One of which, Paul was affiliated with. We were in the market for a bass player when our friend said, “Oh I know this guy Paul, you should totally meet him”. We had already met him through the open mic so it was perfect. Then it was history.

 

How did the band name develop?

Brandon: So, when we officially said that we were a band, we were going to class and thinking what our name could be. We were coming up with things and nothing was really working. Then one night Blair and I went on a man date, we went to see Where The Wild Things Are at The Rave.

Blair: It was the Franklin Institute.

Paul: Oh the Franklin Institute? That was a nice date.

Brandon: We were watching it there and the one line is, “May the wild rumpus begin”. You know that line, so we were like, “Wild rompit? Did he say wild rompit? That’s so cool, lets make that our band name”, because that’s what we thought he said. Two weeks later after we had made it our band name, we were looking around the internet , and we were like “Wait, he doesn’t say wild rompit, he says wild rumpus.” But we thought it was for the better so it stuck.

Blair: Its good, if you Google Wild Rompit nothing else comes up.

 

What is your writing style like?

Blair: Well, before it was mostly me writing the songs and then I would bring it to everyone. They would fill in all their parts and we would form the music from there. But for this record [Spirit Moves], and the stuff we’re working on now, its been more of a collaborative effort from the very beginning. We would just start playing, and no one really knew anything about what we were playing, but four minutes later we would have a song.

 

You guys all lived together this past year, how did that affect your creative process?

Blair: Well the three of us lived together, Sean lived in a different neighborhood, but he was always over so it was like he lived with us.

Brandon: We had a house and we practiced in it a couple times a week, it was a really awesome space. Sometimes living with these guys isn’t so easy, but it made being in a band pretty easy. It was a double-edged sword for sure.

Blair: It definitely helped because we were always so close to each other. It made things easy because we didn’t have to go back and forth over the phone a lot.

Paul: The best thing was just having a place that we could practice in.

Blair: Our house was a stand alone house, but now they’ve built houses on either side of it. We could practice any time we wanted to, we didn’t have to schedule times, we could just be like “Let’s practice right now”.

Brandon: Perfect example of how its not good at the same time though, talking about this new song that we’re writing, yesterday Blair was trying to write lyrics and we were like, “Alright, lets go do this”, but Blair was trying to write. When you live with these people who are your friends but also in your band, its tough to separate yourself from them.

Paul: Brandon also mixes tracks in our house, and he’s an owl, he likes to work at 2 am…

Brandon: Paul’s room is right next to mind, so he’ll text me at 2 am, “Sounds great dude, but like, I’m trying to sleep, can you make that a little quieter?”.

 

Where do you musically draw inspiration from?

Blair: For this record, I think I was listening to a lot of Manchester Orchestra and River City Extension, some folkier stuff. Then [Paul and Brandon] were listening to a bunch of other different stuff, so there’s all these cool things mixed in. And then we also had this level where we were going for sounds, just because they were cool production sounds. Coldplay stuff, and things we didn’t really think about until we were in the studio.

Brandon: More aesthetic tones, in terms of what the guitar sounded like and how the drum sounded. We were trying to draw from the greats, who in our eyes are the greats,. We had to think about, “Why are these people so great? What is good about their music? Why do their songs sound like this?” That pushed us to have a much more critical eye on what we’re doing. Fortunately, we all have good music tastes, so we’re looking for stuff that actually does sound good, and it works. I feel like there are a couple people out there who go for tones that don’t sound good, but are cool, or for the unique aesthetic of it. So definitely we draw a lot of inspiration from the music we listen to.

 

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been so far?

Blair: This record. It’s the first full-length record we’ve ever made. We didn’t really know what to expect going into it, or how much time It was really going to take. Halfway through when we thought we’d be done, we weren’t and that was frustrating. And then three quarters of the way we thought we’d be done and we weren’t done, so that was even more frustrating. We did a lot of work to raise money for recording, and everything’s culminating right now. All these past two years of work, this is what everything’s come to. Right now, its our biggest achievement.

Brandon: Yeah, its so much work compared to what we’ve done in the past.

Paul: Its twice as many songs as previous albums we’d been working on. Every step’s a process, so now every step is taking twice as long. You need twice as much time to think about stuff, twice as much frustration and everything else that comes along with it.

Brandon: We started recording in December 2012, and we finished the record in early June. It was a solid 5 or 6 months worth of work. on top of our already busy school schedules, doing senior projects and everything. It was crazy. It’s nice being able to sit back and look at what we’ve done.

 

Do you have any crazy stories from being on tour?

Paul: I slept in Central Park once. I’ll leave it at that…

Brandon: We had a show in Richmond, VA, at a house called The Herb. It was a D.I.Y. venue, a normal house that they had built a four-foot stage in; they totally converted it into a venue. We got there really early in the day and our show was way later, so we were trying to look for spots where we could go swimming. We went to the local tattoo shop and asked where we could go swimming, and they told us the James River. We went swimming, Paul ends up with water up his nose and I got a gash in my side that was bleeding. Badly. We go back to the tattoo place after a couple hours and im asking for some bandages, and for some reason that’s when they decided to tell us that there is some terrible ameba in the water that people had recently died from. They said kids died in seven days. So Paul and I for the next seven days were counting down until we died.

Paul: I got really sick, I always get sick on the road. I thought it was the ameba and I was going to die. It started with a sinus infection…

Brandon: And he was like “My nose is stuffed, am I gonna die?” We were fine, after two weeks we were like, “Hey, we didn’t die!”

 

What is your plan for the band now that you’ve all graduated?

Blair: We’re all pretty committed to everything. None of us have jobs, so this is the plan right now. Paul does live sound, I’ve worked as a runner for Live Nation

Paul: We’re all freelancing. Brandon’s doing recordings, Sean’s doing freelance publishing, so we’re all doing different stuff right now to pay the bills. But we’re committed to this.

Blair: Also, we’re going to try and record as much as possible over the next year, because Sean still has access to the recording studios [at Drexel University].

Paul: We’re doing a session with Feedback Loop this weekend. It’s a subscription based record label, we’re going to try and do two songs with him. That will be coming out in October. You pay a monthly fee for a subscription to get local music from Philly.

 

Do you have any other upcoming plans for Wild Rompit?

Blair: We’re going on tour at the end of the month, and we’re doing a Daytrotter session. We’re doing a lot of Daytrotter-like sessions, we’re really excited about that. Then we’ll be working on new music. Its weird that we’re working on new music before the latest record is even out yet, but it feels good that we’re keeping the train rolling.

Brandon: I think the plan, in terms of recorded music, is to do the one track with Feedback Loop, and hopefully record as much as possible of a second track in the same sessions. Then I think the plan may be putting out a 7-inch record. If we keep writing full-length albums, taking a year or two to do it, we’ll lose a little bit of momentum. The important thing is to keep releasing small quantities of music until we make our next full-length.

 

Anything else you’d like to tell the readers of Rock On Philly?

Paul: Rock on, Philly!

 

Wild Rompit will be playing their record release show for Spirit Moves at Kung Fu Necktie on August 29th, get your ticket here!

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