We hung out with Alex Costello (lead vocals) and Alex Adam (vocals/guitar) of British pop-punk band ROAM before the final night of the Kerrang! Tour to chat about their debut album, broken quad bikes and what it’s like to support one of the biggest pop-punk bands in the world.
Hi guys! So, how are we feeling now that the Kerrang! Tour is coming to an end?
Alex C: Sad that it’s the last day now.
Alex A: Very sad. I don’t want it to end really, it’s so good!
Alex C: I wanna keep doing the shows!
What has it been like to tour with such an iconic pop-punk band as Sum 41?
Alex A: Amazing! They’re our favourite band, without a doubt. It’s strange, because we went from never having seen them before to having seen them, what, eight times? All in the space of a week and a bit. Going for a curry with them, hanging out with them, it’s very surreal. It still doesn’t feel like it’s happening. They’re really nice guys, they’re very welcoming and want to talk to us all the time, which is cool.
You and the other bands have been living in each other’s pockets for the past couple of weeks- what are you going to miss the most about touring with them now that it’s almost over?
Alex C: I love the fact that it’s the Kerrang! Tour, that’s very cool. I’m going to miss that.
Alex A: I know this sounds kinda weird, but the catering. There’s a company that comes in and cooks us lunch and dinner, they’ve been the nicest meals we’ve ever had on tour and it’s been amazing, so I’m gonna miss that when we go back to a normal tour and there’s no catering.
The Kerrang! Tour has hosted bands like Four Year Strong, All Time Low and New Found Glory in the past, so how did you guys feel when you were asked to play this year?
Alex A: Very, very excited.
Alex C: I don’t know what was sicker, the fact that we were playing with Sum 41 or the fact that we were playing Kerrang! Tour!
Alex A: Yeah, it was awesome. The thing is that they’ve tried to get a very diverse line-up, so Biters are kind of rock and roll, and then us being pop-punk, similar to Sum 41, and then Frank Carter– I don’t know what genre that is but it’s amazing! He’s such a great frontman. None of the bands- other than Sum 41- are bands I would’ve listened to before, but now we’ve been to the shows and seen how they perform every night, I’ll listen to them.
Which is what it’s all about! So, do you have a most memorable night of the tour so far?
Alex C: The first night was the most memorable night, because it was seeing Sum 41 for the first time ever and I was just kinda like, this is unreal! We started a band a couple of years ago and now we’re here, supporting Sum 41 on the Kerrang! Tour!
Alex A: There have been a lot of fan moments on this tour for us.
Do you think London can top it tonight?
Alex A: I hope so!
Alex C: Yeah… Manchester was really good though. Newcastle was sick.
Alex A: Newcastle was the best one so far. But, hopefully, London can top it. London usually wins.
Aside from the Kerrang! Tour, it’s been also been announced that you’re playing Slam Dunk Festival again this year. Are you guys looking forward to going back?
Alex C: Yeah! Slam Dunk is one of our best festivals in the UK, so to be playing it again is going to be cool. There are a load of great bands playing our stage as well.
Alex A: We’ve got Set Your Goals on our stage, so hopefully we’ll get Matt [Wilson] to do guest vocals on the song. Yeah, I’m just stoked to do it.
Every year Slam Dunk showcases so many different bands and different genres. How important would you guys say that festivals like this are when it comes to showing diversity and support of new bands?
Alex A: Very important. I think, because there are only three days, it’s very cool to see three areas of the UK all come together and see so many people singing your songs. It’s not like a London day, where you’re going to have Southampton and Bournemouth or whatever as well; the whole of the south is at one show, so you end up with 1,000+ people singing along. It’s really awesome to see those collective families together. And because you’ve got all those people together and they’re all singing together, you attract more people because they’re like, “Oh, these guys are all having a great time to this band, who are they?” kind of thing. So that’s always good as well.
You’ve also just come back from your first ever headline tour in Europe, how did you find that experience?
Alex C: It was really good. It was kind of a risk; you know, first album and going out there straight away and doing a headline tour, I wasn’t sure how it was gonna go. But we played Prague for the first time, and it was a packed-out room and it was like, wow, this is unreal! But then there were some shows, like a show in Germany, where only ten people came. But it’s very hard, Germany is such a massive place, it’s quite a hard one to get people to listen. But playing Prague and Warsaw, so many people came and it was really good.
Alex A: Also, we released the album, what, two days into that tour? So we didn’t even have time for it to pick up and people were singing the words- words to songs that weren’t singles as well- on the day of the release, so it was very cool.
You’re heading back to Europe with the lovely Against the Current soon, what are you most excited about when it comes to going back to Europe?
Alex C: The food.
Food again? I’m sensing a theme here…
Alex A: We’re a big fan of food. We like to eat it.
Alex C: The way they treat you in Europe as well is amazing.
Alex A: They’re very welcoming. Obviously we’ve gone over with Man Overboard and with State Champs, and we’ve gone over as a headline band; very pop-punk orientated tours. Which is cool, but we’re excited to go over with Against the Current because they’re bigger over there, and I’m excited to play some bigger stages and see some different places.
Alex C: And a completely different audience as well. I think it’ll be a real pop audience.
Alex A: Yeah, I’m very eager to see if we can convert their fans. I think it will be more of a converting tour rather than people coming specifically for us, but that’s cool. It’s nice to work for it sometimes.
For fans who haven’t seen you before, either abroad or over here, what can they expect from your live shows?
Alex A: You see a lot more gymnastics and backflips on stage these days. There are roly polys incorporated now, which is always great.
Alex C: But that’s only because the stages are big. If the stages are small, I can’t do it.
Alex A: Try that thing tonight, roll over my back! You gotta do it! He’s gonna try and roll over my back. We haven’t practised it enough but I reckon we could do it. So, gymnastics is something to look forward to. Us being a band as well as a gymnastics team is also something to look forward to… But I feel like the live experience is different to the CD, which is not necessarily a good or bad thing, I think it’s just very different, and it’s interesting for people see us live for the first time and see what they think compared to the CD. I feel like there’s a lot of energy that maybe doesn’t transfer onto the CD, and there’s a lot more impact live.
Speaking of the album Backbone, which came out last month- tell us about the response you’ve had so far.
Alex A: It’s been amazing! Like I say, the first day it was out we had people singing songs that weren’t the singles, that hadn’t been released until that day and, honestly, on this tour, the album songs have got the best reactions. We play a couple of EP songs first and they go down really well, but the second we start playing the singles off the album people start going crazy, and it’s awesome to see that. I think, as well as our old fan base who were with us before, there are a lot of new people who haven’t even heard the EPs, so I think it’s really interesting to see the tipping point.
I’d have to say that my favourite song from Backbone is probably ‘Head Rush’.
Alex C: Did you hear it off Backbone?
I heard it before [‘Head Rush’ was originally released on the 2013’s Head Down EP] and loved it, so I was really happy to see it on the album.
Alex A: That’s why we wanted to put it on there, because there will be people who join us with this album who don’t go back to look at the EPs.
Alex C: And that is the song that brought a lot of success to ROAM.
Alex A: We wanted to give it its place on the album, to thank it in a way, as a song.
Alex C: Thank you, song!
For you guys, what’s your favourite song from the album to play live?
Alex C: ‘Deadweight’! ‘Deadweight’ is fucking awesome.
Alex A: Yeah, ‘Deadweight’. ‘All the Same’ is really fun though. I like playing ‘Tracks’ as well.
Alex C: I don’t like playing ‘Tracks’. I have to stand still.
Alex A: Yeah, it’s nice to have some dynamics in the set live.
Alex C: Remember that Milan set? We did a set in Milan and, I swear down, it was like an hour and a bit! That set felt so long! They were like, “Encore!” And we were like, “Oh… two more songs?” It was the longest set we’ve ever done! But it was sick.
So, you say ‘Deadweight’ is one of your favourites- how much fun did you have filming the video for that song?
Alex A: Not a lot. It was horrible!
Alex C: ‘Deadweight’? No! It was better than any tour, ever. Ever. I’m not joking, it was the most fun day I’ve ever had.
Alex A: The first half of the day was amazing. And the performance part of the day was amazing. But from the point where we did the lake shot onwards, it was horrible because our shoes were filled with water, we were covered in mud, we were drenched and it was freezing. So from that point onwards it was a terrible day. But before that, it was amazing.
Alex C: Doing the performance was so sick, we had fire going on!
Alex A: We broke two quad bikes though. We were only allowed to do them for an hour because we broke them. We went too fast.
I bet people were thrilled about that! So, finally, what can we expect from ROAM for the rest 2016?
Alex C: Loads of touring.
Alex A: Pretty much, yeah. We haven’t got plans for music just yet; we’ve got ideas for music, and I think album two is going to be very different, in a good way. But just touring right now. Touring the album and working hard.