INTERVIEW: Robbing Johnny

1 Can you talk to us more about the song “Cold March”?

Cold March is being stoned walking around the consumerist capitalist capital of the world, where mannequins scream at you, and bright lights blind you from helping a man sleeping on cement.

 It’s being able to see struggles of class and race, all happening in the shadows of metallic steeples on a small island.

2 Did any event inspire you to write this song?

No single event inspired the song, just living in New York and America. However, the last verse was changed after the Pig King carpetbagger won the reality game show we call democracy.

3 Any plans to release a video for the track?

We did release a video for Cold March and coupled it with Bodega Vegan, another track off of the album. The video starts with the third verse.

4 Why name the album after the first track?

Cold March means a cold time before Spring, it also represents the continuous journey of humans pushing back, marching on to something better. There has to be something better, a better way to do this thing called society.

5 How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was mostly between myself (Pat) and John when we met each other. We worked at a middle school in Harlem, we’d jam and write before work and sometimes perform to the kids. Then we lived together in Harlem and did shows as a two-piece on roofs and small clubs. Most of the songs are just what we pulled out of those experiences in New York. Then we added our band, one by one, and the music of the songs really started to grow and expand. We did them live for a while then would piece them together in different sequences while thinking of the story that they could tell. Later lyrics changed to bring the full story together, although the narrative is more of an atmosphere then a strict narrative. Recording was hard because we lost our studio space in the middle of recording due to condos being built in place of the studio and had to record in our apartments. We finished the last track right when our drummer got another studio space. It was very tough to record in New York and work our jobs. We all are really busy.

6 What role does NYC play in your writing?

In this first album, New York as an island of myth and creatures became a theme. The first stories ever written about modern New York, or Gotham, were written by Washington Irving, I was inspired to incorporate that type of lore intertwined with rock and hip hop influence as it relates to the islands of New York. Living up town, in Harlem, is an amazing place. There’s a lot of amazing energy and history, there’s still grass growing between the cracks, there’s also a lot of tension in the way the city is changing, and rightfully so, this is all in the album.

7 Known for blending different genres together, How do you balance them together?

We don’t consciously blend genres it just happens, the balance just comes from us finding balance as a five piece ensemble, which can be difficult, but the more we play together the easier it gets. The diverse musical background comes from the musician’s experience with everything from world music to classical.

8 Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Songs and lyrics come from everywhere, from thought out written poems to totally spontaneous.

9 Any plans to hit the road?

We hope to hit the road the summer of 2018.

10 What else is happening in Robbing Johnny’s world?

We’re going to start working on another project, probably an album, maybe a theatre piece. Look for another music video from Cold March as well. We’ll be playing weirder and wilder shows in New York.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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