London native Roska was in New York City earlier this summer, and we had the opportunity to interview him ahead of his performance at the Studio at Webster Hall, right before it closed for renovations.
He has been praised for his funky sound and has been around to see the music industry change a lot.
How do you think the music scene has changed now compared to when you started?
I’d say the way it’s changed, it’s so much easier to access music more than ever now. A lot of people can make music and get their music heard so much quicker than when I first started. When I first got started, it was always about releasing a physical release like vinyl, putting it in the shops, and getting a review in a physical, hard publication.
Now, you can announce something then release it the next day without putting crazy amounts of effort into it or plan[ing] much.
Would you say that’s influenced how you make music and like to release things?
A little bit. I can go do things more flexibly now. I can either do a long or short promo, and it just gives me so much more flexibility that I didn’t have before.
You’re from the United Kingdom.
Where are you based out of?
London. It’s amazing, I love it really. It’s busy all the time. I love being in the thick of it. I’ve lived there my entire life, and it’s home to me.
Would you say playing a show in London versus playing a show abroad is different?
One hundred percent. You’ve got your core fans in London (or wherever you live), but I guess you have core fans in every pocket. It’s a bit more exciting to play outside of London, as opposed to playing in it, because some of those people don’t see you as much as if you were based in their town. So it’s exciting on both accounts.
Would you say there’s even a difference between playing in Europe versus playing in America?
Definitely. Europe might be a bit closer, and understand where I’m coming from more. In America, it may be more of a balancing issue. You want to win over new fans, but you also feed your [current] fans what they want. In Europe, it’s probably the same as well but less extreme.
Do you prefer one over the other?
I don’t know. That’s hard to say. Europe’s great because it’s easy to get to and you can fly there in a couple of hours then come back the same or next day. When I go to the U.S., I have to build an entire tour around it and make it worth it to come out. They both have their benefits.
Do you have a favorite city?
London’s definitely one of my favorites because I used to do radio there. I have a big home base there, it will always be exciting. As for other favorites… I love Toronto. There’s a few other places, but Toronto is up there with London.
Did you know you always wanted to be in music?
Not really, no. It started as a hobby and then gradually progressed into full time. It actually worked out really well for me.
What did you do full-time prior to this?
I was working at a mobile phone shop, so I just sold mobile phones. In my spare time, I was making music, mailing out records. But yeah, just phones.
Would you say you took any of that job experience to music? Or is it too different?
I was actually just saying this to someone else the other day—I’m quite well managed. I don’t really have a manager. One of the things I took from working in those stores is that I used to manage a team of around ten people. I’ve taken that and brought it into how to organize myself for my music.
What do you do when you’re not touring?
Sleep. [laughs] Or I hang with my family. That’s it really.
You started your own label. What are your hopes for it?
I want to bring more people through. My label has been going since 2008, so it’s around ten years old. Over the years, I’ve brought more people through and mentored them through music. I want to keep doing that and bringing people into music and passing on my knowledge. But also keep making music.
Do you have any up and comers that you can’t stop listening to?
Motu! He’s from Bristol and he’s about to have his second release on my label in the end of August. I’m quite excited about him. He’s smashing it at the moment.
What’s been the hardest challenge in your career thus far?
Staying relevant but not compromising my sound. I’ve been around for nearly ten years. There’s times when it is more difficult than others. Trying to stay relevant and get booked is a challenge, but it’s a good challenge to have because it’s fun.
Do you have advice for anyone trying to come up in the industry right now?
Be consistent and be patient. Some things just don’t happen overnight; it can take a year or two years. I didn’t release my first track until nine years after I started because I finally felt like I had something I was ready for.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
I always take a shot of Patron before I go on.
Do you have a post-show ritual?
I usually talk to people and get feedback, but I don’t have a consistent ritual.
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