While in Toronto as part of their North American tour, AMBY had the pleasure of sitting down with Rome Ramirez, one third of reggae-rock group Sublime with Rome. In our exclusive interview, we discuss dealing with tour hiccups, anthemic live songs, and rad old school production. Enjoy our chat below!
AMBY: How has the tour been treating you so far?
ROME: So far, amazing. Everything has been really good, the crowds have been packed, the fans have been really receptive to the new music. We have a great line-up. Pepper, Mickey Avalon, Rebelution, they’re all great. Everyone is really cool. It’s been a blessed tour so far. No complaints.
AMBY: How do you like Toronto?
ROME: Toronto is great. We have a lot of friends – a couple of us have some family members – who always come out to the show. To me it’s my favourite city in Canada, personally. I always have a really good time.
AMBY: What have been some of your favourite moments of this tour so far?
ROME: Probably the home show in San Diego. I got to see a lot of my family. All of my family lives down there. I get to bring my family back stage and on stage like I do every year.
AMBY: How do you feel having family watch you preform?
ROME: I love it. They get a kick out of it because they saw me when I was an infant. To them to see the whole process they’re like ‘I can’t believe that’s my grandson!’.
AMBY: What have been some of the most challenging aspects of the tour? You are no stranger to touring so how do you deal with those little hiccups along the way?
ROME: Well, I guess one of the most challenging aspects of tour is maintaining good rest, because it’s sometimes not so consistent. Sometimes you might have a long night or a super early morning and then your slammed with interviews and stuff until show time…
AMBY: Sorry about that.
ROME: It’s part of the job. A lot of people may complain and some artists don’t even do press, but I think it’s important that the fans are able to get to know you as an artist. And also people care enough about you to want to get to know you and do an article on you. That’s rad. I remember when I used to hit up people all the time and be like ‘do you want to interview me?’ and they’re like ‘no thanks’. So it’s important. Yea, to answer your question, maintaining good rest.
AMBY: Do you have a system of dealing with that after so long of touring?
ROME: Like everyone else in the world you choose your nights. Sometimes you just have to say ‘no, I’m going home to watch Netflix like everyone else does’. You have to be responsible with everything. I think that’s a big challenge for a lot of musicians as well. Get some good sleep.
AMBY: You just released your latest record Sirens, congrats! Which songs from the album do you enjoy playing most live?
ROME: Sirens I enjoy playing the most live. I love playing that song live. The energy… the crowd eats it up. It’s anthemic. That one, and we do another song called ‘Put Down Your Weapon’, and that one is a lot of fun to play live too because it has such a weird, reggae, dark and minor kind of verse, and then it turns into this rock song of a chorus.
AMBY: The record serves as a follow up to Sublime with Rome’s 2011 debut, Yours Truly. Is there a certain reason that it took four years to create? How long was it actually in the works for?
ROME: The main reason was we were touring our asses off. We had gotten so many amazing offers to go down to South America and go to Europe, and then do a bunch of festivals in the States. We did some extensive touring. I think it was better that way because we got to know each other better as a band. I see these guys more than anyone on earth. We’ve been living and growing together for six years. I’ve known Eric even longer than that. We’re going on eight years that I’ve known Eric. It’s crazy, time flies. Anyway, it was a well awaited break. We got to come in with some fresh ears. We had tried maybe a year ago. We got together and did some tracks. Some of them were ok, but there was nothing, we felt, to showcase yet. We went in December, 2014. We went in and locked ourselves away for quite some time. We started to piece together the record then.
AMBY: What would you say some of the stylistic differences are between Sublime and Sublime with Rome?
ROME: The production. The production they had then was used on such minimalistic kits and drum machines, and really rad old school production. Capturing things on analogue tape… it just sounds so good. That’s just a small thing. That’s just production, but its something I’ve always loved about Sublime. It felt DIY, because it was. And, in all honesty, the lyrical content that Brad had. Brad had a whole different life than I did. I don’t use hard drugs, I never have. We come from different parts and different decades with different presidents and different laws are set. It’s a whole different world, so it’s just a different perspective now.
AMBY: Do you think that the band will always be playing Sublime songs, or can you see this maybe changing in the future?
ROME: We’ll always play Sublime songs. I mean, as long as Eric Wilson wants to. Whatever Eric says, he’s the boss as far as the Sublime thing goes. I’ll bring the Rome, but he calls the shots as far as that goes. The fans love to hear the old stuff in conjunction with the new stuff, so I don’t really see that going away. And I have a blast playing those tracks.
AMBY: What do you think Bradley might think of Sirens as a record?
ROME: Brad, to my understanding, seemed like a very open minded person who liked creative, original content. Which was shaped in any style of genre. When he was young his favourite band was The Cure. But, he pulled just the right elements of all of these different genres of music. As a listener I’ve grown up to think that this dude was an actual boss DJ. He listened to all kinds of different music, and took from the best of it and made Sublime. That leads me to believe that he would respect what Sirens sounds like today. There is no other album that sounds like this one, I guarantee you that. Not production-wise, not the song writing. No one – especially in the reggae-rock community – nobody does that. It’s kind of unheard of, and I think that he would respect that.
AMBY: Lastly, to wrap things up, what is the best part of being in Sublime with Rome to this day?
ROME: Seriously, getting on stage. There is so much that has to be done in order for us to be a band. There’s so many people that have to work. There’s so many people who have to go to work at nine in the morning, get home at eight and do emails all night; all for one purpose. For us to just go on stage for an hour and a half, and make eleven songs every two years. That’s all. To me that’s the greatest gift. It’s to go on stage for an hour and a half and get to go into the studio and record new music. All the stuff in between, it all leads up to that.
Thank you Sublime with Rome, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Thea McKay