ROONEY - The Groundswell Tour

Even in the rumor-fueled Hollywood scene, Robert Schwartzman is surprisingly good at keeping secrets. We haven't heard much from Schwartzman's band ROONEY the past six years (since the group's 2010 album Eureka), but his radio silence meant nothing. Because unbeknownst to his fans, this LA-based musician and Rooney frontman released 2 solo albums, scored a critically acclaimed feature film, launched an iPhone app for musicians, built a highly sought after live/work recording studio facility, wrote/scored/directed/produced a feature film…oh and made a new Rooney album. This spring 2016, Schwartzman's going public with Rooney's newest and long awaited album, WASHED AWAY. In many ways, the seventh release under Rooney represents more than an album or the next chapter; it's a system upgrade, a reboot.

To call it a labor of love would be a serious understatement. In fact, Schwartzman wrote, produced, engineered, mixed and performed all of the songs on the album himself, holed up in his recording studio and countless tweaks along the way. "I learned from the Interscope days that if you keep pushing yourself then maybe something better can happen," he says of the painstaking process making the album. "I feel like if there's still potential to do it better, then I would rather work on it than call it a day. Cause when it's done, it's done." Rather than succumb to the pressures of today's near-constant album release cycles or worrying about the barrage of bands who've come and gone, Schwartzman intends to make something tangible and long lasting. Consider this a refreshing antidote to today's disposable alternative/pop music machine.

Rooney's history dates back to 1999, when Schwartzman was still in high school. After meeting his bandmates through mutual friends and building a loyal West Coast following over the next few years, the group entered a major label bidding war and eventually signed with Geffen/Interscope Records. The partnership led to a series of sales successes—for starters, their 2003 self-titled debut album sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide (even without the help of social media), and their releases thus far classify Rooney in the highly coveted Platinum selling artists catergory. The album's US singles proved to be radio worthy when songs like "Blueside," "I'm Shakin," and "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" crossed over Alternative radio to Top 40 radio, earning the band high chart positions, as well as significant television explosure. Rooney spent a majority of the album cycle for Calling The World touring and promoting the music internationally, earning the band 3 top 10 radio hits, including a #1 song with "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?." The band performed on major festival around the world, such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Summerfest, Rock em Ring, Rock im Park, and Summersonic to name a few, and multiple TV appearances such as Letterman, Leno, Kimmel, The Today Show, Conan, and The Chritic's Choice Awards. The band's debut was regarded as one of Rolling Stone's 'Band's To Watch,' and VH1's "You Oughta Know" artists, where the music video for "When Did Your Heart Go Missng?" reached #1 most played.

Although it would be easy to replicate this early success, Schwartzman sees Rooney's latest incarnation as an entirely new project that builds off its history. "I wasn't happy not making Rooney records," he explains of the hiatus. "Rooney is my baby and I really love it and I miss it." Although Schwartzman's dabbled in other sonic arenas over the past few years—like his album 2011 album, Double Capricorn, and 2013 electronic project Starsystem—he remains drawn to Rooney's trademark rock-meets-power pop sound. "I had to explore some musical departures for a little bit, but I also missed getting onstage with an amp and drums and a band and just rocking out," he explains. This inherent need to just "rock out" makes sense, especially when you consider Rooney's sharing the stage with bands like Weezer, The Strokes, Incubus, and Queens of the Stoneage.

This spring, Schwartzman returns to Rooney's roots by taking the reigns yet again. "I think what people don't know or aren't aware of is that Rooney has always been, for all intents and purposes, a solo project," he explains, likening himself to other solo acts like Neon Indian or Tame Impala that perform with a full band. Schwartzman has always served as the main writer, arranger, and performer in Rooney, and this new record is no different—and just like always, he's collaborating with other musicians to make the live shows bigger than ever. "To me, the fun of a live show is all about an ensemble of awesome musicians, capturing a moment with the audience, and working as one to create a large, energetic sound," he said.

The result is a past-meets-present mashup of Rooney that Schwartzman says took several years to materialize. "This record smelt like a Rooney record, but it felt weird to get back in the driver's seat with it." In fact, Schwartzman says that half of the songs were recorded as an EP, which he sat on for years, unsure of the next steps. It wasn't until he was jamming with a group of friends that he realized it was time to kick Rooney back into gear. And this time around, there's plenty to love, for both longtime fans and newcomers alike.

Loaded with guitar-driven melodies and anthemic choruses, Washed Away treads the line between feeling both familiar and entirely fresh. Need proof? Just take the lead single, "My Heart Beats 4 U" which was co-written alongside Travis Clark from We The Kings. With a euphoric vibe and a chorus that immediately makes you want to stand up and throw your hands in the air, the banger is the ultimate introduction (or re-introduction) to Rooney. "I go to a lot of sporting events, and there's that sort of 'We Will Rock You' kind of beat to this song," Schwartzman says of the inspiration. "I love when people get involved in songs; sometimes it's the most simple things that grab you."

The addictive quality also holds true in "All The Beautiful People," the first track on the album and the one that arguably alludes most to Rooney's Brit rock-inspired roots. This guitar-driven, head-bobbing sound boasts the same kind of feeling as past hits like "I'm Shakin"—and it too promises to withstand the test of time.

In true Rooney fashion, even the breakup songs have an irresistible, sing-along quality to them. Schwartzman recorded the track "Why" with his friend, singer/songwriter Soko, as his first female duet. The song hinges upon the painful idea of a relationship ending, but this heavy message comes juxtaposed with a head-bobbing pop beat. "I have a hard time writing about how things are so great," he says. I feel like it's more interesting to have problems." The sound itself might not be a huge departure from the Rooney the audience already loves, but unlike Rooney's first two records Rooney and Calling The World, this one has no major label ties. "There was a lot of pressure from the label for Rooney to be the best and biggest fucking band in the entire world, but I never wanted all the hype. I just wanted to go slowly—slow and steady wins the race."

This DIY quality allows Washed Away to serve as a direct line between artist and fans. What's more, Schwartzman has made it a priority to create the record independently—even between his other projects, like scoring the 2013 Gia Coppola movie Palo Alto, writing theme songs for TV shows, like Marvel's Iron Man, collaborating with various other artists like Sean Lennon , Albert Hammond Jr., and Hall of Fame Songwriter Jeff Barry, and creating his own Los Angeles live-work recording studio, Beachwood Park. He also spent several of the Rooney hiatus years writing and directing his first feature film, Dreamland. "Directing movies is something I've wanted to do since childhood and I didn't have time to pursue that dream because I was always on tour or fully consumed by Rooney," Schwartzman explains of the independent film, which he co-wrote and produced. After years of scoring movies for other directors, he knew it was the perfect time seize the day and create his own. Just like Rooney, Schwartzman looked for parallels with the process of making the independent feature and was used to a hands on, DIY approach. "I'm excited to find ways to marry film and music, take what I've learned from Rooney or all aspects of releasing original music, shaping the imagery, look and feel, promotion and marketing, and bringing it all into the film industry." Despite his packed schedule (and resume) and many pursuits, Schwartzman still makes it a priority to engage wholeheartedly into each creative commitment.

"I'm not the kind of person who can just walk in with my guitar and play a song that someone else made," he says. "I'm not satisfied with that because I always need more output." With his film's premiere in 2016 and Washed Away due next spring, fans are finally getting what they've been asking about for years now.

Fortunately, Schwartzman's perfectionism pays off. "There's a lot of noise out there, but I think that if we stay the course and stay true to the integrity of the band, good things will come in time," he explains. "Rooney is defined as a bear with all its imagery, but it's more of a tortoise." With years of record label politics behind them, "now it's about resetting the clock and not letting those things get into our heads," Schwartzman says. "I hope that fans embrace WASHED AWAY in the same way that they've embraced the band for over the past 15 years; this Rooney reboot is a launchpad for the future." A bright one, indeed.

Royal Teeth

With its members originally hailing from all parts of Louisiana south of I-10, Royal Teeth formed between New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette in 2010. A year later, the band would self-release their debut recording, the five-song EP Act Naturally, and subsequently embark on their first national tours. In 2013, Royal Teeth released their full length debut Glow through Dangerbird Records, the Los Angeles-based independent record label most notable for launching Fitz & The Tantrums and Silversun Pickups. The album's infectious single "Wild" proved to be a runaway success, enjoying national radio airplay and being featured in countless television shows, commercials, video games, and movies. Additionally, Royal Teeth performed the song on Fox's "American Idol" and NBC's "Last Call with Carson Daly." The companion music video for "Wild" – directed by A/J Jackson, frontman for Saint Motel, can be viewed here: Developing into a dynamic live act, the band has toured alongside X Ambassadors, American Authors, Fitz and The Tantrums, and The Mowglis, and has performed at high profile festivals including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and Voodoo Music Experience. Royal Teeth's effervescent sound – highlighted by soaring vocals of Gary Larsen and Nora Patterson - has been heralded by SPIN, USA Today, and NPR who described the band as "…a confetti gun of joy."

Royal Teeth is: Gary Larsen (vocals/guitar), Nora Patterson (vocals), Josh Hefner (drums), and Thomas Onebane (guitar)

Swimming with Bears

Through a little trial and error Swimming With Bears was established as a side project to another band the guys were in around 2011. With Joe Perry now on lead vox (and also bass) SWB inspired by a new style of sound, along with the guitars of Alec Conte and Jonathan Kerr with Ryan Hannasch on drums, went on to write their first 5 song EP recorded at Droplink studios in Austin, TX 2011, released 2012. With the EP completed and seeing the great response it received, SWB went on the hunt for shows, exposure and possible ways to record their first full feature album which they accomplished after meeting Matt Noveskey of Blue October who offered to work with the band as producer of their first album. After successfully raising $20k from their debut album's kickstarter campaign in 2012 and getting Matt as their new producer, the guys hit Austin's own Test Tube Audio with audio engineer Kevin Butler behind the board. Their debut album "Paw" is due to release Spring 2014 and is streaming at now. Since recording their album the band has gone on a short Texas based tour opening for Austin's own Language Room and also was afforded the opportunity to also open for Blue October in November of 2014. Recently the band was featured in American music magazine "Alternative Press" in their AP&R section as a special selection by the Alternative Press Reps Austin, TX. Looking forward to 2014, SWB is looking to go on tour in support of their first album and keep pushing forward to spread their alternative soul sound across the nation.

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