THE ROOKS

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photographer / Charlotte Christopher
story / Erica Russell
New York indie R&B band The Rooks recently dropped their new single, “Secrets,” a smooth, energetic fusion of funk and R&B with velvety vocals. The band, comprised of six members, is a bit of a musical enigma. Pulling inspirations from across the spectrum, The Rooks sound both reminiscent of 80’s R&B as well as futuristic in their eclectic approach.

You can catch this crew playing CMJ this month, and stay tuned for their EP, ‘The Wires,’ dropping towards the end of this year. But for now, find out more about the band, including their collective music crush, favorite records, and a few secrets of their own!

Who is your biggest musical crush of all time and why?

Saying Beyonce just seems unfair. That would be like drafting Michael Jordan in a high-school pickup game. So we’ll have to go with Prince. That man has looked 30 years old for far too long. There’s gotta be some sorcery involved.
What records did you listen to growing up?
One of the things that we love about this band is how eclectic our collective musical background is. Trace the line back far enough, and you’re gonna get a whole bunch of Stevie, Whitney, Zeppelin, Beatles, Zappa, Celine Dion, Tribe, Duke Ellington, James Taylor, Coltrane… all kinds of stuff. But if we each had to pick one album that really did it for us as kids, it would look something like:
Spencer: Frank Sinatra – The Very Good Years
Nate: Earth Wind and Fire – That’s The Way of the World
Louis: Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II
Garth: ABBA – Gold; ABBA – Greatest Hits
Gabe: Oscar Peterson – Night Train
Graham: Yes – Close To The Edge
If you could tour with any particular band or artist, who would it be and why?
Definitely a couple different ways we could go with this: Hiatus Kaiyote is one band that’s been blowing our collective mind for a while now, and seem like a great crew to hang with, so they’re certainly on the list. Nothing like having your tour-mates play circles around you on a nightly basis. But we could just as easily go with one of the many incredible bands that we’ve been coming up with since college. There’s something to be said for touring with your crew. So go ahead and add Josh The Word, Trot Fox, Jess Best, Mel Hsu, Henry Hall and Wet Leather to that list.
What’s your favorite thing about NYC?
Besides having so many friends and family here, and all of the great music being made all around the city, and all of the incredible food, and so many cool places to check out, and oh look at that we just answered the question.

What is your personal favorite track off the upcoming EP?

Another “poll the group” kinda moment. We would have to say:

Garth: “Intermission (Wires)”
Spencer: “Doubt”
Graham: “Bury Me Deep”
Gabe: “Secrets”
Louis: “Better This Way”
Nate: “Willow”
Okay yes, that’s technically all of the songs on the EP, and yes, we know that might seem like a cop-out. But in all honesty, we can be a pretty hyper-critical bunch, especially when it comes to our own stuff, so it’s a really amazing feeling to have a batch of songs that we’re incredibly proud of pretty much across the board. One of our goals with this project was to really take our time, both on the compositional and production ends of the spectrum, and only pick the material that we felt was the strongest for the final product. And we think that’s really paid off. Hopefully you will too!
Your new single is called “Secrets.” Will you tell me a secret?
Here are six secrets from six Rooks. Apparently some members of the group mistook the word “secret” for “blatant lie.”
1. None of the Rooks live in Brooklyn.
2. Each Rook has a tattoo of another Rook.
3. Gabe still believes in the tooth fairy and his middle name is “Meredith.”
4. We’re breaking up.
5. No we’re not.
6. Shortly after Spencer became a vegetarian, I slipped little bacon bits into his tofu stir fry because I believe he stands on the wrong side of history. He will never know which one of us did this and it should stay this way.

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