roves (from l-r): Matt Jamieson (drums), Ethan Morgan (vocals/guitar), Ellis Morgan (bass), Connor Coutts (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Having played in various bands around the Reading area from an early age, lifelong friends Ethan Morgan and Connor Coutts decided to form their own outfit.
Soon afterwards, they named it roves, and recruited Ethan’s brother Ellis and Matt Jamieson.
The four-piece have a sound that is characterised by emotional, atmospheric ambience full of infectious energy.
Having recently released their debut single, ‘Always’, Ethan spoke to me about it, their journey so far, and what the outfit have lined up in the near future.
From where did the name roves originate?
It originally came when we were in a Range Rover. For some reason, roves popped out at me and from there, I couldn’t get it out of my head. We searched up the definition and “to travel without a destination” seemed to fit with what we’re doing with the band.
We considered other options, but really, as soon as roves came to the table, we had the name sorted.
How would you describe your sound?
If we were to headline it under a genre, we’d probably say alternative rock, however, we like to use the tagline of “ambient and atmospheric sad songs“. We reckon that probably gives a bit more of an insight into our sound.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
We draw influence from everywhere, and each of us have individual tastes that we think comes out in our music. Ellis and I have always favoured acoustic artists growing up such as Ben Howard and Lewis Watson.
Matt, on the other hand, comes from a background of loving pop-punk music and bands such as Moose Blood, and Connor, his music taste is as eclectic as it gets, with anyone from Chance the Rapper to Led Zeppelin yielding inspiration.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
It varies between two different approaches. It either comes from me bringing a near complete structure and melody of a song to a rehearsal and then building it up collectively, or Connor will bring in a riff or guitar part that we then build upon.
What inspires the band’s lyrics?
I tend to write lyrics from experiences or stories people have told me. It usually just comes from what I want to put down on paper or into song. It just so happens that I tend to write better sad songs than I do the opposite.
You have just brought out a debut single, ‘Always’. How was the recording process for that?
It was great! We recorded with Sam Winfield at Studio91 in Newbury and we couldn’t have asked for a better first time in the studio. It’s the only song that we’ve played at every gig so far, and so we knew what we wanted from our time there.
It was a really comfortable and enjoyable couple of days, and we’re hoping to return for a second time over Easter to record our next single.
Speaking of your next single, entitled ‘Bottle’, what can be expected of it?
‘Bottle’ is a song that started off as an instrumental that Connor wrote to assist our video, ‘introducing roves’, and from there, it turned into more of a full song. It’s a video we collaborated on with Jordan Golebiowski from General Public.
Jordan is a great friend of the band and is practically the fifth member, he’s been following us around and helping us out with loads of stuff as we’ve developed.
In terms of “Bottle“, it’s a contrast to a more traditional alt-rock song such as “Always“. For now, you can find it accompanying ‘introducing roves’ on YouTube, but it will be released onto Soundcloud in the near future.
You recently played at The Boileroom in Guildford, and on BBC Introducing in Reading. How were they as experiences for you all?
We loved both gigs. It was our first time playing in Guildford, and The Boileroom was an awesome venue.
In terms of the BBC Introducing gig, growing up in Reading, we had always wanted to play the Purple Turtle, and had seen other bands come through and do it before. A great crowd turned out, and it was definitely our favourite gig to date.
And next month, the band will be supporting indie-folk outfit The Tin Pigeons in Camden. I can imagine you’re all very much looking forward to that.
Yeah we can’t wait! Connor and I saw them at Barn on the Farm in Gloucestershire a couple of years back, and they’re a really sweet band. It’s our first time playing in London as well, and we couldn’t be more excited.
What else do you have planned for the near future?
In the next couple of months, we have a lot planned. We’re hoping to release our next single around May, but in the meantime, we’re planning on playing as many gigs as possible, keeping our YouTube channel active, and officially releasing jumpers to our merch line on Depop.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
Really, we would just love to be doing well enough with our music to make it our full-time job. It’s a long way off yet, but we’re really passionate about what we’re doing, and hopefully, people can get behind that.
‘ALWAYS’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM roves, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, GOOGLE PLAY, AMAZON MUSIC & SOUNDCLOUD.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: