Interview with small screamo kids Rolo Tomassi for Vice Magazine.
Small people playing in bands are cute. They hit you right in the ah shucks spot. “Look how big that guitar looks on his little body!”, “Hahaha, he can hardly see over his drum kit!”. That sort of thing. Stop and think about it. Prince, Kylie, Phil Collins, guy who plays bass in SSS: all cute, endearing, talented, tiny scamps who the world has taken to their collective music-loving hearts. Apart from guy who plays bass in SSS. I think that’s just me.
The thing is that all of those guys are just small people, adults who happened to be littler than other adults. The recent fetishising of bands simply because they are young had a pretty creepy side to it. We’re not saying the whole music press is made up by Chris Langham’s but you know, it is kind of weird that so many bands are being feted simply because they aren’t old enough to buy a packet of cigarettes. Have you actually listened to any of the music? A lot of it is pretty basic. And not basic in a Ramones we-only-play-three-chords kind of way. More like basic in a this-isn’t-very-good kind of way.
Rolo Tomassi strike the perfect balance between people who are small and look funny while they play music voyeurism and borderline obsession with kids who are young and can still somehow make coherent-ish songs. The fact that they make a unique and ridiculously accomplished mess of grindcore, screamo and post-hardcore while they are mostly still too young to legally drink and have been playing DIY shows for three years already makes them both pretty hilarious and pretty amazing. Oh, and that deaths-head banshee howl that’s coming out over the all the blastbeats and guitar tapping is coming out of a cute-as-a button 17 year old girls mouth. Wow.
VICE: So, how did a bunch of 14 year olds in the ass-end of Sheffield decide it would be a good idea to play something that sounds like Indian Summer raping Napalm Death?
James Spence (keyboards): There was actually a really healthy scene in our village. There were loads of kids who were into the same stuff as us, loads of shows in the village hall. I sort of miss not playing there every week actually.
Joe Nicholson (guitars): Everyone was into the same sort of thing. Just heavy stuff, some suspect bits but never as bad as Walls Of Jehrico or anything. Once we heard the Murder Of 7” we knew what we wanted to do.
You are almost all too young to even technically be in this bar. Have you ever had shit from promoters about playing?
Joseph Thorpe (bass): All the time. Even now.
Eva Spence (vocals): It is worse for me because I look really young. They always think I am one of their little sisters. Well, I guess I am but it’s pretty annoying.
Edward Dutton (drums): When we played with These Arms Are Snakes in Birmingham me and Joe were 18 so they let us in and we set up onstage while they did the bass, keys and vocals from outside. That was pretty fun.
How do you sing like that Eva? Do you just pretend that you really really don’t want to do your homework?
Eva: Not really. I just think about the words and sing It actually comes pretty naturally.
Rolo Tomassi are named after Guy Pearce’s alias in L.A. Confidential and have an EP available on Holy Roar Records next month.