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Music Q&A: Rosellas

This Friday Manchester band Rosellas arrive at Bootleg with tunes from their new EP Somewhere Inbetween. It might contain just five tracks but this prolific five piece has an extensive catalogue of released and unreleased music. They promise not just a set, but a show which they promise one day you’ll be watching in an arena.

Rosellas perform with support from both the Ruby Tuesdays and Huw and the Greater Good who you can read our previous Q&A with here. The band is made up of Euan Mail on rhythm guitar, Ollie Appleby on bass, Mark Zanker on drums, Luis Sullivan on keys and synths and Drew Selby on lead guitar and vocals, who tells us why this won’t be a gig for guitar music fans to miss.

Was it your heroes or your city that influenced your sound?
I believe a bit of both. As songwriters and lyricists both Euan and I are influenced heavily by the likes of Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown, Morrissey and Richard Ashcroft who have all been at the forefront of the Manchester music scene in their time. Liverpool has also produced many writers that we have both idolised too with the likes of Michael Head, Ian McCulloch and Lennon and McCartney all being musicians over who we bonded in the early days. Musically our songs are reminiscent of that ‘90s era Mancunian feel but we believe it is modernised with the inclusion of piano and synths played by Luis.

You’ve had support from a few radio DJs now, do you feel any pressure that there are now high expectations from you?
We don’t feel pressure at all. Ever. We believe we are pursuing what we were put on this Earth to do and have the ability and drive to make it happen. Getting support from DJs such as John Kennedy (Radio X), Jim Salveson (XS Manc) and most recently Roesh (BBC Intro Manc) is something we are all extremely grateful for. People like them, people who are keeping the genre of guitar music alive, people who put a graft in to give small bands like us a national voice, should be treasured and supported in any and every way. Sure, to reach that level of exposure we must have a level of quality in our music, but that bar that has been set will only be heightened by our current and future material in our eyes.

Your latest EP has shifted to a more anthemic/atmospheric sound, was that a choice or something that emerged naturally?
We have always written tunes that have an air of psychedelia about them as it has been such a huge part of mine and Euan’s musical upbringing. I remember being in the car as a kid with Meddle by Pink Floyd on – my family are big prog rock fans. While our discography shows the versatility of our songwriting, for the EP Somewhere Inbetween we decided to group together five songs that all had a similar vibe. We feel that collection gives a nod to our psychedelic influences while showcasing our Mancunian sound with the modernisation I mentioned before. This side of our music is what we strive to reproduce live also. Anyone that comes to a gig of ours will see that by playing extended intros and outros and segueing songs together. We have the desire for people to experience not just a gig, but a whole show. A huge influence over the way we have thought about our live show comes from the War On Drugs album – Live Drugs. Nothing touches that live album musically for me.

We’ve always strived to gig more than anyone else, write more than anyone else, release more than anyone else and rehearse more than anyone else.

You have consistently put out singles and EPs since 2019. Is an album in the works or are you happy with the format of putting out music as soon as it is ready?
We easily have two albums worth of material written, but don’t intend to release a debut album until we are absolutely confident in the team around us and our ability as a collective to push it to the heights that we believe the songwriting deserves. It’s been a big thing for us since day one – being prolific. Euan and I wrote constantly for the first two or three years of knowing each other and more recently Luis has begun contributing to the building pile of material waiting to be released into the world. We’ve always strived to gig more than anyone else, write more than anyone else, release more than anyone else and rehearse more than anyone else. The quality of the music has only got better and better in our opinion and we will continue to write and release prolifically until our end.

You’ve recently played Band on the Wall, a renowned Manchester venue, what’s the next local venue you want to play?
There’s a few ideas bouncing around and we know roughly what trajectory we see ourselves on but the ultimate endgame is the Arena. I’ve seen many of my heroes play on that stage. That’s when we’re happy that we’ve made enough of ourselves.

Why did you pick Blackpool as part of your small Northern tour and what else would you like to get up to while you’re here?
It’s a town we’ve never played before but have frequented many surrounding areas such as Warrington, Wigan and Liverpool – it felt right to do a gig here to start building a fan base in another great place in the north west. While we’re here, we’re having fish and chips and going to the boozer. Another great thing is, we can see the sea.

What’s next for the band in 2024?
More writing, more rehearsing, more gigging. We want to write better songs than anyone else. Live, we want to be better than anyone else. We want to play to the biggest crowds in the biggest fields we can find. None of that comes without sheer graft and ambition so we’re just gonna keep pushing on head first and hope that along the way there are people in the population that hold our music in high regard and help us achieve what we all dream on a nightly basis. Keep an eye out on our socials for gig announcements and music releases and spread the word if you like what you hear. Guitar music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that’s alright, but the quality and musicianship within the genre needs to be preserved. Nothing is more powerful for guitar music than word of mouth and live experience. Keep supporting real, live music.

Rosellas play Bootleg Social Friday 6th October. Find tickets here. Follow Rosellas on social media here.

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    Antonia Charlesworth Stack is a journalist and editor from Blackpool. She was deputy editor of Big Issue North magazine and is editor of Blackpool Social Club. Antonia is also the founder of Reclaim Blackpool, a women's safety campaign that began life as an article she wrote for Blackpool Social Club. She's a contributing author to the Lancashire Stories anthology with her story about a Blackpool performer, The Call of The Sea. The book is available for free in libraries across the county.

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