Introducing Interview: Rootwork

Described by Tom Robinson as “just irresistible”, Rootwork deliver a high-energy fusion of metal and stoner rock filled with infectious hooks and soaring choruses.

Following the success of last year’s EP Gallows Humour, Rootwork are now set to release a brand new single.

We caught up with the band to find out more…

Hi Rootwork, who are we speaking to?
Hi! We’re Max Woodhams, Chris Booth and Jamie Benzine.

How did you all meet?
Jamie and Chris met at secondary school, then Chris met Max at university. Once we realised how much common ground we shared in terms of our musical tastes and playing styles, we decided to get some music written and released!

Is there an overarching concept behind the EP or are they just a collection of tracks you thought worked well together?
Well, Gallows Humour is about finding the black comedy in the bleak and depressing events of daily life. The EP deals with concepts like insecurity, loss of meaning, fanaticism, delusion. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from losing your mind!

What was the recording process like? Did you work with anyone else in the EP’s production?
The recording process was a long one! We recorded and mixed the whole thing ourselves in Max’s garage over the course of two years. We certainly learned a lot doing things this way. Often getting lost in the minutiae of the songs and the recording process, perhaps too often without an external voice to pull us out, but we’re delighted with how the record turned out.

How do you think your sound has changed and developed from your first release Wasteland?
I think we’ve been able to introduce more elements to our sound with Gallows Humour. Wasteland is a good snapshot because it’s got riffs, harmonies and a breakdown, but this EP takes those ideas and pushes them further. It’s a more complex and hopefully polished beast.

What is the writing process like for you as a band – do songs begin from a riff, a lyric, a jam session?
It’s a cliché but each song is different: often one of us will craft the bones of a song and take it to the other two. From there, we’ll work on it collectively until we have something ready to practice in the room.

Who have been your main influences growing up and as a band?
I think the primary influences we share have been present both before and during our time together as a band. We love a bit of Radiohead, Mastodon, Muse, Them Crooked Vultures, QOTSA, Karnivool, Idiot Pilot, Deftones, MUTEMATH to name but a few.

And how do you think they have helped you develop your sound as a band?
Well additionally, we each take influence from bands we perhaps don’t all enjoy in the same way but I think that’s definitely vital in keeping things moving forward and helps us take the music in different directions. If we can surprise each other with new ideas then hopefully that will be apparent in the music. On the other hand, the artists we mutually love seem to exist in this space between alternative rock and metal, so mixing together all these things definitely helped us to arrive at our core sound.

What can we expect at an Rootwork live show?
All our songs with some talking in between, as the saying goes! We try to bring the best live show possible to the table. Gigging is such a rewarding experience, because it’s the payoff for hours and hours of writing and rehearsing. It’s the release of a lot of energy and hopefully that work shows in the sound and performances.

Any plans to hit the road soon? If so, where can we catch you/find out about any new dates?
We’re hitting the studio in July, and hoping to play a gig or two to limber up for that. Later in the year, however, there will definitely be a new EP, with a big launch and many gigs to come in support of the next record. You can keep up with all our announcements on Facebook (/rootworkuk) and Twitter (@rootworkuk).

Huge thanks to Rootwork for answering our questions! 

‘Code Talker, the new single from Rootwork, is out 24 June via Ubiquity Project Records. 

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.