This week’s feature sees post hardcore performers Tzarina and NY band RODERIK quiz each other on their influences, how they have found working during a pandemic and the all-important topic of new music.
Tzarina: Congrats on the release of “Save Me.” Can you tell me a bit more about the song? The writing process, production, etc.?
RODERIK: Thanks guys! Yeah, it was definitely an interesting process. The initial riffs and melodies for the song were actually started mid-late last year. We entered the studio around January to start recording this song, but due to the pandemic, we didn’t finish the song until about mid summer. It was by far the longest time I’ve ever taken to record a song, so there was a lot of tweaking and stuff throughout that long wait time.
RODERIK: What does “Tzarina” mean and what was the main influence behind the band name?
Tzarina: Tzarina is basically just a Russian queen. So like in the old Russian empire, the royal family had a Tzar (also commonly spelled Czar), to which his bride was often referred to as Tzarina. I went down a really intense history rabbit hole on pre-WWI Russia and watched a couple documentaries where the term was thrown around. It sounded musical so I basically told the guys one day we were changing the band name.
Tzarina: How are you all getting by as a band with the current state of the world and the pandemic?
RODERIK: It’s definitely weird. RODERIK is basically a band made up of some of my best friends, so we all really get along well, but it’s really a strange situation that we can’t all get together and jam, write together, or even just hang out. Other than that, I REALLY miss playing shows. I’ve been impatiently waiting for shows to start up again, but I’m happy to stay on the cautious side until they can safely do so.
RODERIK: I know we’re all pulling for shows to come back, but when they do what’s the first venue you have in mind for your first performance back?
Tzarina: Somewhere in Bowery. A bunch of the local clubs on the LES. Outside of that, my hometown of New Haven in CT has some pretty legendary venues like Toad’s Place and The Acoustic.
Tzarina: What are some of the musical influences that inspired you to piece together this band?
RODERIK: Oh man, way too many to list. We went into writing songs for this band with an open mind. I feel like a lot of artists try to focus on one primary genre, but for us, there’s no limit on what influences go into our songs. Some of the biggest ones are probably My Chemical Romance, Too Close to Touch, Point North, Lauv, Ruel, Dance Gavin Dance, and even Mac Miller.
RODERIK: I know for us, the pandemic has really changed how we function as a band. We’re so used to getting together and hashing out new songs, or just jamming for the fun of it. How has the pandemic impacted your band in general?
Tzarina: To be honest, outside of affecting how we were going to record the album not much else has changed. We have been having regular rehearsals to make sure that our live show is on point and ready to go as soon as it’s okay to do so. We’ve also just been trying to hammer out the content to round people up and keep them interested in what we’ve got going. I’ve been toying with the idea of our first show being a live stream but I’d want to do it right. Lights, good audio and video, etc.
Tzarina: Can we expect any more new material in the near future?
RODERIK: Yes, absolutely you can. We’re constantly writing and working on new material. You might even see a new release as early as November. 😉
RODERIK: Now that ‘Deadsong’ is out, what do you guys have planned for next?
Tzarina: Hopefully playing a show sooner rather than later, but just like everyone else, we’re playing it safe and waiting. It’s kind of ridiculous, I’ve been seeing bands on DIY touring forums actually asking for other bands to come on and support shows that are happening in states where the COVID numbers are through the roof. For early 2021, we’ll be releasing the second single with a video and then hopefully we’ll have a better idea on timing of the things opening across different states (in a safe way). We’d like to finalize the album dropping around that time.
(Right) Tzarina. Photo credit: Kelli J Bartlett.(Left) Roderik. Photo credit: Photolitsina