Based out of Worcester, local Massachusetts band Rocket Ship is certainly making a name for themselves. Between their first full album release Worst Confessions. Best Intentions. in 2017 and their announcement (via a beautifully made video on social media, showcasing the bands multidimensional artistic talent) regarding the release of new music in the near future, this genre-bending band is proving that they are here to stay.
I recently had the chance to speak with lead singer Dimitri Christo about the band’s past, present, and future. Check out some highlights below!
GMAT: Not to be super cliche, but I’m so curious about where your band name came from. Is there a story behind it?
RS: Rocket Ship was a name that the band’s founding members settled on without much debate or intent. When the project first started, it was a full-blown, ignorant pop punk group and we just wanted something kind of goofy and snappy that would be easy to remember and suited our sound. However, when people ask us this question, our usual response is to claim that it was ripped from the Dot Dot Curve song, “Rocket Ship to the Moon.”
GMAT: On Spotify, you guys identify as “indie pop rock." We hear artists often that are “pop punk," “indie rock," etc., but not a whole lot of “indie pop rock." What would you say are the biggest influences you take from each of the three genres individually?
RS: Our self-identification as “indie pop rock” is a little premature at the moment. We decided upon the classification based on an unreleased EP that we tracked at Pebble Studios in Ottawa, Ontario this past Summer. The new sound is definitely more genre bending than anything we have ever done previously so we tried to compensate with a new description. Hopefully, it contextualizes once we finally get around to releasing the new cuts.
To answer your question, when writing this future release, we were listening to a hefty amount of Neon Trees, Walk the Moon, The Killers, Third Eye Blind, and Tokyo Police Club. These bands all sound unique from each other but could easily all exist on a bill together, straddling that same alternative rock/indie pop line, something that we’ve really admired for a long time. What I really love is that the record doesn’t actually sound like any of these artists individually, but all of their influences can be heard when listened for.
GMAT: How do you think you’ve changed and/or progressed as a band from releasing the Never Home EP in 2014 to your first full album release of Worst Confessions. Best Intentions in 2017?
RS: Oh boy, I hardly know where to start! When we first started this project in 2014, we had a five-piece lineup (Nick Barris [guitar] and I are the only remaining original members), wrote music of a completely different genre, and had little vision of what the band could be. Due to the financial and logistical limitations that came with being 16 years old, we were never in a position to tour or invest in halfway decent music production, but we weren’t really concerned with those things at the time.
When we made Never Home, we recorded it in a friend’s basement, even tracking group vocal parts in the garage. It was just ignorant pop punk music birthed from teen drama and a limited world view. We never had expectations for it, it was just a cool thing to do. As the years passed, we had some lineup changes and began to take our song writing more seriously in terms of subject matter, which brings us to our 2017 release of Worst Confessions. Best Intentions. This album features themes of heartbreak, nostalgia, and longing, presented in a much more emo-rock style. While we may have traded out the gallop beats for acoustic cuts, this album was also recorded in a friend’s basement. It was a really stressful process, actually, as we were all starting college and were separated geographically. We hardly prepared before beginning the actual tracking and ended up writing songs as we were recording them (which is never a good idea). As a result, we ended up with a product that we definitely had higher expectations for and didn’t truly represent us how we wanted to be understood. That disconnect was an integral step in our progression as a band and as people.
Since that release, we made a vow that if we were going to take this band seriously, then we would stop cutting the corners and we would actually start taking ourselves seriously! Our unreleased record is the product of that mentality, a collection of songs that we are wholeheartedly in love with, and feel like the first accurate representation of who we have become and who we want to be.
GMAT: How does the music you plan on releasing soon differ from what you’ve released in the past?
RS: This new stuff is just so much better, in our opinion. I know everyone always says that about their new music but we genuinely feel so confident and excited about it, I can’t put it into words. It’s so much catchier and generally more thoughtfully written. Each song is so different, but they all exist comfortably in the same release. To put it simply, I’ve never felt proud so of something in my entire life.
GMAT: I am in love with your album art for Worst Confessions. Best Intentions. Why that design/color scheme?
RS: Thank you! The album art came to fruition after considering the record’s theme of nostalgia. Nostalgia is so precious, so beautiful, and so unique. It felt like a crystal was the perfect metaphor. The pastel pink was chosen because of the whole “rose colored glasses” cliché, suggesting distorted glorification of the past. Ultimately, looking back into the past fondly, but with a skewed perception of its realities.
GMAT: With your most recent release consisting of two acoustics, do you plan on doing more acoustic work in the future?
RS: Honestly...probably not. In the future, I think we’re going to reserve acoustic renditions of our songs for live performances and video content, although it could be fun to do hidden acoustic tracks on physical releases. I always think that’s cool when bands have a little Easter egg on their physical CDs.
GMAT: Do you have any big moves planned for the rest of 2019?
RS: Aside from just generally playing shows, the remainder of 2019 is going to be us really gearing up for our release in 2020. I feel confident in the sonic product that is the EP, but there is a LOT that I’d like to do visually before we’re ready to release anything. So, behind the scenes, there will be a lot of moving parts that I am personally extremely excited about -- I wish I could share them right now but it’s going to be worth the wait!
GMAT: What's your favorite song to play live?
RS: Easily “Buckley.” We all love that song and we have so much fun playing it. I like to think it’s the stand-out track from WC/BI. We nearly always close our set with it and it’s such a hot note to end on: optimistic, catchy, and (I hope) memorable.
GMAT: What do you love most about making music and being a part of your local music scene?
RS: There are so many amazing things about making music that it’s hard to say what means the most to me. I love performing live; I love feeling the vibrations in my chest from the bass. There are those special moments when performing and everyone is in sync -- it’s so exhilarating. But probably the thing I enjoy most about making music is actually writing it / making it. I will never be able to fathom how a specific organization of vibrations can evoke an emotional response out of me. It’s crazy that I can potentially elicit that emotional response through chord progressions and melodies, and then elevate them yet again through lyricism. I honestly just think it’s so cool.
Then there is the concept of the local scene: a community reliant on mutual support and respect. It’s an extraordinary culture because, really, everyone who is involved in it is involved completely voluntarily. People have this amazing opportunity to connect through shared love of music and there is really nothing more to it. I’ve met some of my closest friends and companions through this band and the scene, and I would be a fool to take it for granted. It’s really wild to consider how many people music has brought into my life, people I care so much for and people who care so much for me – that’s a really beautiful thing.
GMAT: If your band had a theme song (not one of your own) what would it be?
RS: If Rocket Ship had a theme song it would be “Rocket Ship to the Moon” by Dot Dot Curve.
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