Interview Series: Rococode

Rococode performing at the Red Room for the PEAK Performance Project (photo courtesy of Christine McAvoy)

Even before I had heard their first single, Weapon, I’ve been intrigued a wee smidge by the enigma that is Rococode.  Formed just over a year ago and not having released any albums—let alone songs—this 4-piece from Vancouver have been a buzz band all over the BC indie music scene.  It may possibly be due to the fact that the band is fronted by Laura Smith and Andrew Braun, both having their own music history in solo projects and collaborations with other local artists.  It may also be partially due to their tight rhythm section of Johnny Andrews and Shaun Huberts, both having played for acts such as Tegan & Sara and Shaun playing bass for Starfield.

Whether or not any of those facts have anything to do at all with their ever-growing status, one thing is for sure: Rococode is a band to watch in 2012.  They will be releasing their debut LP and are currently up for a shot at $100,500 in the current PEAK Performance Project.

Just prior to their showcase performance at the Red Room for the PEAK Performance Project concert series, I got a chance to sit down in a nearby Blenz Coffee house with Laura and Andrew to pick their brains about their band name, their current PEAK PP journey and their upcoming LP.

MoreThanAFeeling Music Interview with Rococode:

-How long have you guys been Rococode?

Andrew: Well Laura and I started out making an album last summer—maybe late last spring—and at that time it was just the two of us and we didn’t have a band name or didn’t really know what was going on.  We just started recording and called some friends who played on the record.  Around the end of summer, we became a band.

-How did you guys meet?

AndrewWe met at Jazz school.

-Jazz school?

Andrew & Laura: Yeah!

Laura: At Capilano University.

Andrew: About 5 or 6 years ago?

-And you just started making music together a year ago?

Laura: I was focused on my solo project—Laura Smith—at the time, and Andrew slowly started playing with me and helping me and arranging songs.  At some point it just seemed logical since most of the songs we were writing together anyways.

-As few people know and lots of people wonder, where did the name Rococode come from?

Andrew: It came from a little free association session that Laura and I were having.  We were having a hell of a time trying to come up with a band name—it’s impossible—especially to find something that everyone likes and you think is cool and that you can live with forever.

Laura: And that hasn’t been done before.

Andrew: Yea, and when you think you have it, you go on myspace and there’s a band in some far off land with the same brilliant idea.  So we were throwing words around and started mashing things together because we thought we could come up with something that hasn’t already happened.  We were thinking about Rococo as an art form kind of being frilly and decorative, and there’s some element of that in our music.  There’s also a part of it that’s dark and less apparent and more coded.  So we put them together and rolled with it.

Laura: Rococo was actually the hard-core period of the romantic era when everyone was experimenting with drugs and having lots of sex. [laughs]

-Interesting! That’s edgy.

Laura: All the art is beautiful and ornate and then there’s all that darkness that’s going on underneath, like the rock’n’roll lifestyle.  Everything is just so extravagant.

-That is quite rock’n’roll, I guess.  So how has the PEAK Performance Project journey been?

Andrew: It’s been a journey.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s been fun and it’s been a really good challenge, especially being a new band, it’s been really great for us to sort of figure out what everyone’s good at and where everyone can contribute to the machine.  It’s been a lot of delegating and people passing things around and coming to consensus and compromise.  All these good lessons that I guess we’re gonna have to learn if we’re gonna be a band for a long time.

-Any advice to anybody who considers entering into the PEAK Performance Project?

Laura: Be ready to work really hard.

Andrew: Don’t procrastinate.

Laura: Get your shit together!

Andrew:  Yea, that’s my biggest thing.  A lot of bands are procrastinators; some members of our band are procrastinators.  And that’s not gonna cut it when you have to do this kind of work.  That’s my biggest advice.

-Don’t procrastinate – be organized. Good advice! So who’s going to win the PEAK Performance Project? If you can’t say Rococode, of course…

Laura: Wow, that’s a tough question, actually.  I feel like I could separate maybe some bands being in the top tier, but it’s anyone’s game.  Everything’s based on a report card of things you have to accomplish and different judges are rating everything, so who knows how everyone did on everything.  Performance-based though? I don’t know… Fields of Green are a popular band and great performers.

AndrewThe Boom Booms bring down the house every time.

Laura: The Matinee are really great, JP Maurice is really great.

Andrew: It seems like it’s anyone’s game!

-What can you tell us about Rococode that many people don’t know?

Andrew: Many people don’t know… I don’t think many people know a whole lot about us at all!

-You’d be surprised!

Andrew: Many people don’t know that Johnny [Andrews] and Shaun [Huberts] and I played our very first gig ever at a wedding playing jazz.  Very bad jazz.

-Did you sing and play guitar?

Andrew: No, I played piano.  We had a friend of ours playing guitar. We played ‘Girl From Ipanema’ for about 40 minutes because we didn’t know any other songs.

-Moving on to your guys’ actual music, how long until we get to hear a full-length album from Rococode?

Laura: February 7th, 2012!

-It is now written in stone! Do you have a name for the album yet?

Andrew: Yea, it’s called Guns, Sex, and Glory.

-Is it really? That is awesome. So rock’n’roll.

Andrew: Well, it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek.  It’s a track on the album, it’s the last track.  It’s a bit of a dramatic piece.  A lot of the songs on the record—we’re writing about big things most of the time—some bands write about a story that happened to them, but I think we sort of veer toward big metaphors that you can shrink down to your own life.  Guns, Sex and Glory just seemed appropriate: big things that sort of make the world go ‘round, for better or worse.  Usually for worse…

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Check out http://www.rococode.com/shows to see when ROCOCODE is coming to a venue near you!

-Dylan

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~ by whet_hopped on October 10, 2011.

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