ROMES debuts self-titled album at ACL

The Lariat sat down with the soul-pop band ROMES Friday at Austin City Limits music festival. ROMES is composed of (from left to right) James Tebbitt, Nicolas Amadeus, Andrew Keyes and Jacob Alexander. Kaitlyn DeHaven | Design Editor

By Bailey Brammer | Editor-in-Chief

Few bands can boast growing up and making music together for more than 15 years. However, the soul-pop band ROMES, composed of best friends James Tebbitt, Nicolas Amadeus, Andrew Keyes and Jacob Alexander, began creating music after meeting at school in Ireland, and then they decided to form a band a little over two years ago.

ROMES performed for the Austin City Limits music festival at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Zilker Park and released its self-titled album the same day.

“It’s a beautiful festival, the sun was shining, we had a great stage, great crowd,” Amadeus said. “What more do you want? We just put out our album, so it was kind of like a celebration for us. It was very hot. I kind of felt bad for the people in the crowd because you just look out and see everyone fanning themselves down.”

The foursome behind ROMES describes their tunes as upbeat and “feel-good,” and said they’ve heard that their songs are good to dance to as well as to clean to. While they hope their audience will connect with their messages, the members of ROMES aim to make each other happy just as much as they do their listeners.

“We write honest songs,” Keyes said. “If we’re down in our practice basement, and we do something that feels really good, and we all start looking at each other with a goofy smile, like, ‘Oh yeah’ and we get excited about it, then we know it’s good and then we want to share it with people. I think that’s the most important essence of ROMES –– just the four of us trying to laugh and make each other smile and enjoy it.”

While the band draws its inspiration from multiple styles of music, including disco and funk, Amadeus said hip-hop has also had a heavy effect on its sound.

“When we’re on tour, I don’t think I listen to anything outside of the hip-hop realm and I’d say a lot of the rhythms are hip-hop influenced on the album,” Amadeus said.

Other inspirations for ROMES include artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Flume and Anderson Paak. While working on their new album, which was produced and mixed by Tony Hoffer, the ROMES members said the songs that made the album were actually the ones that took the least time to write.

“It’s funny, the songs that seem to come together really really quickly, they were the ones that kind of made the record, the ones that didn’t kind of take a lot of work,” Keyes said.

After its ACL debut, ROMES is set to continue touring North America with Mutemath; both bands will perform at 7 p.m. today at the House of Blues in Houston. Alexander said fans can expect enjoyable songs off of ROMES’ new album and hopes that listeners can tell from the music that the band is really just four men trying to have a good time while doing what they love.

“I think it’s fair to say we’re best friends, and we’re just trying to have as much fun as possible,” Alexander said. “I think that kind of comes through with the music. We just hope that our audience can in some way connect with the message we’re trying to get across, and on any sort of emotional level.”