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VIDEO PREMIERE: Robin Romei Gets Gritty On I Can't Wait

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Rachael-Emily Photography

Get ready to hear a lot more about Robin Romei. The Londoner will return on July 7 with Vapours, a new single that finds him reining in his electro influences and channelling a long-standing love of classic rock and punk songwriting.

Following up last year’s double a-side, Effy/(We Are) The Underdogs, Vapours will arrived backed by the scuzzy I Can’t Wait, which we’re pleased to exclusively reveal the video for.

You can check that out below, while after the jump we catch up with the man himself to discuss the new single in depth, including the genesis of I Can’t Wait’s rallying cry and ditching technology for something more organic.

How does I Can’t Wait work alongside Vapours? How does the single as a whole represent your music at the moment?

With both songs I moved away from the electronic influences of before and just embraced the guitar again. Vapours is more commercial but I Can't Wait was a throwback to the rock I used to play in my teens. It's pretty much a straight down the line rock formula but lyrically that gave me a good platform to explore themes in more detail.

I could really unpack stuff in this one which was good for me to be able to do as a songwriter. There's a rock bias to both tracks, a slight aftertaste of electro on Vapours but both tracks have varied tempos and vocal deliveries so it feels like it showcases quite a lot of the flavours that I like working with.

“I got nowhere left to go,” you sing in the verse of I Can't Wait - where are the lyrics coming from?

The whole song is about frustration and how you react to it. I wrote those lines when I had little opportunity. In fact, the first two verses came from another song I had written earlier; a reflection of my place and where I wanted to be. I was out of work, out of luck - just a recluse for a while. I was holding on, but with the belief things will change. Eventually the opportunities came and the idea of the song is just to get out there and be who you want to be. Don't wait on anything: "It's there if you want it so take it." How many songs are out there telling you you'll make it these days? If anyone need songs like this it's my generation.

The narrative for me is centred on taking a bus and watching people; a beautiful girl that you imagine being with and the tangent your life can go down if you make the connection. The kids mouthing off behind you but on the inside you know of their vulnerabilities, and the you're there and you think, I'm ready. It's like backstage waiting to go on. That energy is just bubbling up, it's like you can't keep still because of the excitement of what’s out there. It's like this animalistic feeling. It's a power that's hard to describe. The adrenaline pumps and I'm there thinking this is life - in this moment this is living.

There’s a balance between harder edges and a more new wave sound on I Can’t Wait - what was the writing process on this one?

For a while I'd been in this electro-pop bubble. I was recording without picking up an instrument, and just leaning towards soft instruments within computers. I felt uninspired. I was watching the band Peace in 2013 and thought: "I grew up on this kind of stuff, it's hitting me, why am I at this electro-pop place when I should be getting the guitar involved again?”

It was a relief to not have to worry about the electronic stuff and backing tracks and just concentrate on delivering something that was fresh, energetic and real. I was captivated again. It felt good to be involved that way.  The first guitar you hear on the record was actually created on a boss SP-505 drum sequencer - it's synthesised. Last summer I took two weeks off to get away from the distractions of technology and write music uninterrupted.

I stayed by the coast and brought a guitar, a notebook and a drum machine. I ended up recording each note on the guitar into the machine one at a time and assigning it to a key. Then I made a pattern out of the notes. I was also able to reverse the notes which gave this kind of electronic Jimi Hendrix type thing going on a loop.

I left it there for a while and didn't do that much with it until I was looking at going back to rock again and that was a pretty good riff. In the studio we took that and just rocked it out with proper guitar work in the chorus. We made it real. No half measures. The drop outs for the verse just happened as we developed the song to give the contrast. Normally I'm not a fan of that kind of thing but it worked ok as some of the effects filled up the space.

When the chorus comes back it's like a train of guitars hitting you- I liked the energy. Originally there was no vocal on the chorus until the end but that was rectified pretty early in the studio process, the song was great fun to work on and the shackles were off with this one, that enjoyment comes out in the record I think.


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