Where did I leave off yesterday? Ah…Bond Villain aka Robert Roche. As a music journalist for many years, I had the good fortune of sitting in studios and interviewing some amazing producers like Elliot Scheiner and the late Phil Ramone. I have really missed it. So, when I had the chance to go to a real studio like Raw Recording to interview Robert, I jumped!
Robert, too, loves the give and take of working with J.C. Santalis at the studio in Patterson, NY. (See yesterday’s post). His connection to J.C. started a while back when he was going to school in Boston. He recorded a song at J.C.’s studio with a pop punk band. But, before I talk about the partnership, let me talk a little about Robert’s path.
“As a kid, we had a piano in my house and I just started smashing on it. I tried lessons for a while, but I started to find the chords myself. Although I don’t come from a religious family, I jumped into a church choir. It was one of the best experiences I ever had, discovering my own voice and discovering how amazing it is to work with other people.”
Robert said he wanted to start a rock band right off because he loved the element of performing. While touring with that band, he was also making money on the side creating orchestral music for video games. “I come from the school of Hans Zimmer; music that evokes emotion. That is what I search for in all the music I create and play.” A lot of Robert’s influence comes from artists like Queen, Prince and Michael Jackson. “They would take all of these amazing sounds and pull out emotion…happiness, anger, etc.”
Although Robert attended Berklee College of music for a summer semester of vocal performance, he was not happy. “Everyone wanted a solo all the time. I just wanted to make something beautiful. So, I continued creating more and more of this orchestral music and I was getting really…simple, big beautiful movements that got you feeling a certain way. I thought, I really want to put some vocals over this. I wanted to see what I could do to change up the rhythms and make something really dramatic.”
When Robert started coming up with these ideas, he remembered working with J.C. “And I thought I’d like to work with him again. I was moving down to Connecticut from Boston, and I would be a lot closer to him, so I sent him some tracks.” J.C. says, “I thought…is this the same person?”
Robert loved playing punk and hardcore because “the people were so outrageous and had the best times of their lives, but, terms of the actual music we were delivering, I was looking for something more. Even if you go back and listen to the music I was making before, it had a lot of stuff going on in the background; strings and horns.”
So about three years ago, Robert created Bond Villain. “I wanted a name you couldn’t forget and a name that would evoke drama, sexiness, adventure, power, a little bit of darkness and duality. When people hear our music, I want them to feel like they are in a movie. Everyone loves (James) Bond Villain!”
Check out Bond Villain music: http://www.officialbondvillain.com/music
Robert is always creating. If he is showering or exercising, that’s often when the hook comes to him. “I always grab my cell phone and sing it into my voice recorder. When I get the chance, I will sit down at the piano and chart out what chords are which.” Sometimes he will take it to J.C. in that state and say…here’s an idea. “J.C. is such a brilliant producer, he will start teetering around different genres and sounds. Other times, I will take songs that are almost fully flushed out. Then, he will say chop and rearrange. I don’t have too much of an ego about it. I trust this dude so much.” When, J.C. brought up the idea of Kimberley Locke for his song “Dying Star,” Bond Villain was all in!
After their first work together, Robert heard Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” and knew he wanted to remake it for Kimberley. “ ‘Dangerous Woman’ was so much fun. I heard it on the radio and right away, I thought the songwriting was excellent…but the delivery…could be so much more. You listen to the lyrics and you think this is feminine power. I wanted to remake it for Kimberley. Such a big bad ass epic track now.”
J.C. and Robert played me some other upcoming music, you will be addicted! In the meantime, check out the latest video for “Blackguard.”
And, stay tuned…for more on Kimberley Locke!