Boston's Randy Roos-A Local Legend Sustains Infinitely
RR: I have stuff around. The Vertigo Z project is around, which is jazz and drum'n'bass. I don't know of it's real drum'n'bass and real jazz, or maybe even that it has conflicting aspects of language in it- that might be a problem, but then again, some of us think it's a great asset!
AAJ: I'm in that category-the Vertigo Z thing is absolutely ripping! But even if the thing about conflicting elements were true, isn't that just really part and parcel of getting the concept to where you want it to be?
RR: Yeah, the thing is that for me is that I often get too involved in things I really like instead of doing things I should be doing musically. Instead, I get swayed by things that I really like and kind of blend what I think I should be doing with those things rather than doing-or even figuring out- exactly what I want to do.
AAJ: But who does?
RR: What I'm working through now, though, is that I want to structure a way for myself to work faster. The Vertigo Z project got a bit too work and time intensive-not that I mind spending time and working hard, but it's easy to lose sight of the initial impulse that made you want to begin working on a piece of music. If it's overwrought, if you overwork that kernel, the kernel gets destroyed or watered down in some way. I'm getting older and I don't want to work like that. I don't want to go through the suffering I have to go through to make a project like that happen.
AAJ: So what was the kernel?
RR: Each song had a kernel. The main concept was that I was fascinated by the drum'n'bass thing and I just wanted to do something that used those types of grooves and I wanted to do it with live musicians involved, not just machines. I wanted Eric Kerr 's approach to drum'n'bass to be there. Sometimes, I think the pieces may be more complex than they needed to be, then other times it sounds just right. The soundscape can get very dense, but that can make it work in a way, too.
I want to find a way of crystallizing things more and working more spontaneously. For instance, I read an interview with Moby-some of his stuff I really do like. I found the interview kind of inspiring in that a typical day in the life of Moby is; he gets up-he writes a couple songs. Has breakfast-writes a couple songs-has lunch-hangs out with a friend for a bit-comes back writes a couple songs-goes out and plays with the neighbor's dog and writes a couple songs-then has dinner and works all night on four more songs. So when it comes time for a record he has about 150 songs and he's gotta find like 18 out of 150! I would love to have that problem. I would like to have songs at the end of the day.
This is one thing I love about scoring-at the end of the day I've done four cues and they're nice. Especially the way I do it. I have the best scoring gig on the planet, you know? I write for the 'Scientific American' show on TV. It's a very informative, educational show-completely worthwhile television. There are a lot of different places the music can go on it. The people I work with are fabulous. I almost never do any redos on the show because I understand how to do that show and they love what I do for it. So it's a really nice situation. I love to check out the results of the day-especially when there are three or four good pieces of music! Short, well produced, and they work for the visual and thematic thing for the show. I would love for that to happen with my own music, but so far, I just have not figured that out. I'll spend a day on half of a drum loop!
AAJ: You already have it figured out but it's difficult to apply it to your own thing
RR: Exactly. Also, the production necessary for scoring is a whole different kind of production-it has to be minimal. It's a question of getting it to the point that's right or the show. One more sound and it wouldn't be right. That's a level of control that I find very difficult to put on myself. It's easy when the show makes me control myself to it-but when I have to control myself, by myself '(laughs)
On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't say that. There's a lot of music I like and I hear those details on the first listening, and I know the hours that went into getting those details to happen. Maybe there's no way around it. Maybe to do the kind of music that involves working this way 'you just have to be at that level of detail. Parts of the Vertigo Z thing definitely have that. Also, we've been working on some Club D'Elf tunes here for a year! So that can get detailed too, even though the vibe may begin in a very loose way.
AAJ: None of the other guys in the band can have a studio setup this good.
RR: Actually Jere Faison has quite a good setup.
AAJ: By the way, I really enjoyed the gigs you guys did with Frank Heiss , as well as the Kenwood Dennard gig you and Heiss did.