An Interview with Tim Graham of Rozu

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Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Tim Graham of Rozu. Among other things, we touch on what he’s been up to during the lockdown, his newest music, his origins, and what he’s looking forward to the most once COVID-19 breaks.

Andrew:
Tim, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so? What have you been up to?

Tim:
Thanks for having me! It’s been a weird year and change that’s for sure! It’s been like stages where it was like a party at the beginning with no work and my roommates and I just fished and drank every day. When I figured out this thing was going to be much longer than a month is when we kind of hit a down period with all our summer tours canceled and we decided to push back releases supporting those, it was just a bad place to be in as a whole industry. We had to step back and focus on only things we can control so we dove headfirst into our debut album actually cutting out some songs and writing more along with really putting the focus on our release of our single “Rue.” It’s been a year of self-exploration and adapting to this new world we’ve been living in.

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music?

Tim:
My dad was the guy I distinctly remember my first musical experiences with. I loved days that I got to run errands with him and listen to bands such as Tool, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, just like all these Metal and Rock bands, it was the best. My dad was super into Rock and my mom was really into the Pop and Country side of things, so with the exception of today’s modern Country-Pop, I have always had this diversity of music I listened to. My sister introduced me to Hip-Hop and Rap with N.W.A., Eminem, Jay-Z, and at first, I really wanted to be a rapper and would always rap to music in my room. High school was when I was introduced to bands such as Underoath and The Used, and that’s when my musical career really started to take shape in that world.

Andrew:
Who were some of your early influences?

Tim:
100% Underoath’s They’re Only Chasing Safety album taught me how to scream and sing in a less choir fashion. I still to this day practice to their albums. Of course, I like other bands like Chiodos, Taking Back Sunday, and Silverstein, but Underoath hit that sweet spot in my soul and made me want to be a frontman.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about recent events first. Tell us about your new single, “Rue?”

Tim:
“Rue” was a really fun project to work on and is my favorite song we’ve released. Everything was just awesome with that song we had a feature from one of my favorite vocalists to do it being Scott Barnes from In Fear and Faith, and we made a killer music video for it where I was a zombie. Like what more could you want right? This release was the re-inspiration that kept me sane for a good portion of the quarantines.

Andrew:
What lyrical themes are you exploring with your new music?

Tim:
This song really talks about closing a chapter of a relationship I was in and letting go of feeling stuck in my head. Having Scott be a part of it adds a new dynamic to it to where he is in this past state of mind where those feelings of doing anything for someone was present, while in the verses I’m kind of airing out all the regret and resentment I’ve had and our worlds kind of meet in the chorus “closing the door.” It was fun having Scott bring that to the table. The video just brought this theme even further with the metaphor of me being this zombie demon monster representing my inner peace and Scott being the version of myself that I am striving to become again yet killing the demons within. As I said, this song was just so well thought out by the whole team, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Andrew:
How about the production side of things? Do you self-produce, or do you bring in outside voices?

Tim:
So, we all kind of have our own setups where we write, and we bring everything into our producer, Tyler Ruehl, who is an incredibly good songwriter and producer. He’s been a friend of mine for years touring together with previous bands and he just kind of gets and helped shape what this band has become sonically. DJ (guitar) and I were in a previous band together and the rest of the guys in that band never wanted to do co-writes, and so with this project, we wanted to do cowrites with people, cause why the hell not? I love a room, where everyone is expanding upon ideas, and having people outside of the initial band stoked on a song with us, is just fun as hell and pushes us. For “Rue,” we worked with Tyler, Scott, and Jeff Helberg from Confide. It was an amazing writing session and that song from the start of creation to the final tracking was literally 10 hours. When things flow that well, you know it’s going to be a good and honest song.

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Cassettes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? What are a few of your favorite albums, and why?

Tim:
I do have vinyl, but I really limit it to purchasing albums that I just absolutely love. CDs are just too difficult to keep track of especially with everything being on my phone, so I’m like 80% digital 20% vinyl. My favorite album which I have vinyl for is Underoath’s Define The Great Line, the album just spoke to me as I was going through a super dark time in my life. It was the first album I connected with on that spiritual level that gave me hope I would be ok. Crooks UK Are We All The Same Distance Apart is an album I can just listen to on repeat all day every day. It’s just a great piece of art and I love it.

Andrew:
What other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Tim:
So, my intro to the music industry was on the business side being a tour manager and booking agent. I just love the opportunities this industry offers with traveling even if it isn’t the most lucrative. I own a label with our producer Tyler and this game is just so ingrained in me at this point. The only other passion I have other than music is golf. Music is both my therapy and my stress, and golf is my place of zen.

Andrew;
In your opinion, what is the state of the music business these days? Should artists be hopeful? Scared? Both?

Tim:
Oh gosh, I think a little bit of both. I think the industry got exposed to its major flaws during this pandemic with how many bands and musicians I know struggling for money because they are into so much debt as a band to their labels that they just can’t get out of not being able to be on the road. Every industry had restrictions and could still kind of operate and got relief bills, whereas the Entertainment industry is the largest consuming industry, and half of it contains the music industry which was shut down entirely with zero relief. So many venues closed and a few of them held a lot of history and were loved in our scene throughout the country. Everyone was impacted and it’s been a struggle for everyone, and we are all in this together, but we really took the short straw in some areas. Not to mention how many people got canceled this past year, like it’s just been a lot and shows how toxic this industry is. On a lighter note, I think some things will stick around and be for the better. I feel when things open back up 100% it is going to be a crazy surge! People are going to be going to shows and buying merch and be super excited to go to shows again which will be a great comeback. I also think live streams are here to stay now and that just opens a whole new world of creativity. It’s both hopeful but some shit must change and at the end of the day, all we can do is keep working hard and writing the best music we possibly can.

Andrew:
Last one. We seem to be nearing a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of COVID-19 restrictions. That said, what’s next on your docket?

Tim:
What are you looking forward to most in the post-COVID world? We honestly just can’t wait to get out on the road again and back to playing shows cause that’s our favorite part of this job. Like on the warmer nights I sometimes sleep in our van just to feel alive again. (Laughs). But honestly, we just can’t wait to release some singles throughout the remainder of the year and get into album and tour mode for 2022.

Interested in learning more about the music of Rozu? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full catalog of VWMusic Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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