A while ago I got an email about a - to me - unknown band called ROMP from New Brunswick, NJ. After listening to their EP “Sorry, Not Sorry” just once though, I was won over. ROMP recently signed with Bad Timing Records, who will be releasing the band’s first full-length later this year. Here's an email interview we did with Madison Klarer and Lucas Dalakian. They leave on tour with Sleepaway Camp tomorrow, so go watch them when you have the chance and remember that yes, ROMP is tight!
PRT: I read somewhere that Madison and Lucas first met on Tinder… how long did it take before you realized that you’d be better off in a band together rather than dating?
Madison: I think both of us hit it off as great friends from the start so we just continued to evolve that relationship and now we are best friends and bandmates with each other. Wouldn't have it any other way. :)
Lucas: Yeah, it was pretty obvious we were going to get along as friends and we talked about music a lot. Turned out to be a better result than most Tinder interactions, which is cool.
PRT: If you look up ‘romp’ in the dictionary, you get four different meanings… which one fits the band best? 1. a lively or boisterous frolic // 2. a person who romps // 3. a quick or effortless pace // 4. an effortless victory
Madison: Reading all of those definitions I'd honestly like to think the first one is pretty fitting. We are all extremely energetic when we perform and Lucas is quite the jumper. I'd even compare him to Tigger. Mitch also plays drums super fast and definitely sweats the most at our shows. He wrings out his shirt and has people watch. It's pretty rad.
Lucas: Yeah 1 and 4, I was always under the impression ROMP meant to dominate in sports or something, like "Aw the Giants got Romped this weekend" but apparently that's more of a slang term. It's been said our name describes us accurately so that's cool. To be honest, I don't think band names matter too much, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles are both awful band names in my opinion.
PRT: For the people out there who haven’t heard you yet… if ROMP was the lovechild of two other bands, which bands would have had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Madison: I'd like to think we are the love child of Makthaverskan and The Front Bottoms.
Lucas: This question is 2edgy4me
PRT: Why is ROMP tight?
Madison: Well, when we first formed we practiced every single day for an entire summer and we still practice close to that amount. We also play as many shows as our mortal bodies will allow us to and I think that helps make us tight. Also I'd like to think we are pretty tight people.
Lucas: The most important skill for being a tight band, or even a tight friend, or person, is listening. Listen to what your bandmates are playing, listen to yourself, listen to people's opinions. It's a way of life.
PRT: You’ve been a band for a little over a year now. What has been the most remarkable thing that happened so far?
Madison: Fortunately, we have had a few amazing moments as a band but one that stands out would be getting to open for the Screaming Females. This band has been really important to all of us and to me since I was 14 years old. I had first heard them on the Alexa Chung show and I'll never forget the impression that was left on me and the excitement I had to have a really cool band from my hometown doing big things. We were all going to see this band together ever since we formed and really loved how they would chat with us after shows and invite us to basement gigs happening in the area. It was really cool to have people we looked up to so much talk to us and include us into a scene we all loved so dearly. They're huge role models to us and we were beyond excited to open for them at one of our favorite venues (Asbury Lanes).
Lucas: It's tough to narrow it down, I just try and appreciate every day that I get to play music, and guitar, pretty frequently. I'm really thankful I've found 4 musicians who are so focused on growing.
PRT: What is the biggest lesson you have learned up until now?
Madison: I think the biggest thing we have learned as a band is how to make ROMP a team and a family. Over the past year we have all grown so close with each other. We all make sure to hear every single person out and make it a priority to ensure we all FEEL good about what we are doing and putting out into the world. We are constantly making sure the other is in a good place and supporting each other whenever any of us are feeling down. We really care a lot about each other so we have gotten really good at showing that and supporting each other. I'm really grateful for them.
Lucas: I learned that friendship is probably the most rewarding thing in this crazy world.
PRT: And what is the one thing you would absolutely love to achieve with ROMP someday?
Lucas: Play on Mars or the Moon, either one would be fine.
PRT: You’ve recently signed with Bad Timing Records, who will be releasing your EP on vinyl this Fall and after that your debut full-length. How did you end up signing with them?
Madison: Starting late spring of 2015 we all started talking about getting into the studio for our full length and we knew we wanted to make this release bigger. Doing it with a label we loved seemed like the natural move to make and I had known Zack for a bit and Thomas met up with us in NYC and we all just clicked. We love Bad Timing and we are really excited to be working with them.
PRT: Can you already tell us how the songs on the full-length compare to the ones on ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’?
Madison: Since our EP was more of us finding our sound as a band, the full length solidifies it and because of that our songs are a lot stronger. For me, this is the first band I've been in so there has been a lot of growth for me in terms of learning how to structure a song and communicate ideas with the rest of my band when we all collaborate with each other. But our sound hasn't changed really, we have just become stronger as a group and I hope that comes across on the record. Also the EP gave us a chance to start a story and I think this record continues it and gives it some resolution. Overall, we're really proud of this record and excited to release it.
Lucas: The full length is more aggressive, and more cutty. I think it shows some of the stuff we like to do that the EP couldn't. Some tracks that maybe can't be singles, but are an important part of our energy
PRT: You have a tour coming up with Sleepaway Camp. What do you hope people take away from a ROMP show?
Lucas: I hope people can cut loose and dance a bit at our shows. We have a little bit more raw energy vs the album but I think it plays out nicely. Hopefully you feel safe as well! If anyone ever feels uncomfortable for any reason at our show please let us know, we can give ya a hug if you're into that.