Toronto hip hop producer Roam has been developing a taste for garage music in recent years, and has a fine new LP to show for it. To prepare for a review I submitted to exclaim.ca, Roam and I traded emails. Here’s an edited version of our Q&A.
Tell me about your background.
I’ve been producing hip hop for several years but just a few years ago, starting toying with electronic music. I play a few instruments by ear but I can’t reveal which right now. Future projects will elucidate on my abilities.
You’ve been working with the DSTRY Collective. Any others partners?
Not really. I’ve been working closely as an affiliate/member with them for about a year. Just developing different ideas and approaches. If I can find time, you may get a surprise from another producer and I.
Is this a solo album?
Zero collaborators. It was important to me that I do everything myself. All vocals are samples. Every chord, note and drum pattern was written by me.
The disc feels centred between garage and electronic pop. Fair to say?
That would be fair to say. I tackled the music with a pop structure in mind to make it accessible, but I wanted to keep the instrumentation grounded in garage and hip hop.
Is it important that you reach a broad audience?
While I want to get my music to as many people as possible, I’m not really sure how to reach a broad audience with this style of music just yet. I suppose I’ll just keep delivering art that resonates with people in hopes of achieving that while figuring out a concrete plan as I go along.
What draws you to garage?
Several years ago I came across some dark electronic music via YouTube and fell in love with how dark and raw a lot of it was. The artists were able to convey so much emotion through their strings, synths, drums and textures. I felt I could do and convey more with that sound than I could with hip hop and it would allow me to further my career without feeling like I had to rely on artists to hop on beats.
Pushing myself creatively. Continuing to try and move beyond making beats and creating songs … actual art that explores different concepts that I’ve thought about and themes that are a part of my life that others can relate to, like I did with Remnants. I already know what the next few projects will sound like. One of them is already partially written and will feature some interesting elements. I’ll probably get back to hip hop though for a bit before finishing it up.