The feeling of love. The power of unity. The essence of happiness. The strength of togetherness and positive vibrations. The highs of living life and the lows of dealing with its obstacles. All of these things encapsulate the music of Cincinnati, OH-based Rockstead, a five-piece, passion driven rock/reggae group.
With roots leading as far back as middle school, Rockstead combines a lifetime full of influences ranging from rock, punk, reggae, jam and metal. In their early days Rockstead ruled the college party scene in Ohio with a schedule full of impromptu house shows that led to packed basements of DIY venues and later, massive crowds attending college fests such as Ohio University’s infamous spring festivals. This early success catalyzed the debut of their first album “Wake Up and Live” (2013) shortly followed by their popular self-recorded “Rise” EP (2014). These releases ignited their inner road warrior leading to a plethora of plays at music festivals and concert venues across the Midwest. Since then, Rockstead continues to widen their reach touring throughout the Eastern U.S. and down into Florida.
Though member changes have occurred over the years, front man singer/guitarist Jake Burns continues to drive the group forward as they have shared stages with international touring acts such as The Wailers (Jamaica), Sticky Fingers (Australia) and Big Mountain (U.S.A.) as well as many staple East coast reggae acts like Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Badfish, Tropidelic, Bumpin’ Uglies and Ballyhoo!. The band has now grown to include Nate Anuci (drums) and Jacob Riley (lead guitar). With a healthy gap since their last full release (Homegrown, 2016) Rockstead dropped their first studio album “You’re In Control” in September 2020 which scored them multiple features in blogs and podcasts across the scene making them “one of the most unique and special bands in [Cincinnati]” (CincyMusic, 2020).
By using their relentless high-energy performances and genre-bending setlists, while aligning their unwavering dedication to the do-it-yourself work ethic, Rockstead shows no sign of slowing down their mission of bringing people together through music.
Thank you for letting us interview you! Let us in on your new music! When did you record it?
Jake B: We recorded most of this throughout the whole 2021 year. We were chipping away at it piece by piece and then got all the mixing and mastering done in early 2022.
Any writing traditions you have when you’re in that mode?
Jake B: I honestly think we may have started a writing tradition with this album. We rented a cabin out in the mountains of North Carolina and set up all our gear in the basement. We took a few days of staying up til about 4 am jamming and hashing out parts for the new songs. That was really fun and I can imagine that we’ll do that again.
Any other traditions you have when you’re in your recording process?
Jake B: Coffee. Lots of coffee.
What challenges come with recording?
Jake B: Well for one, recording is expensive if you want to do it right. Getting the money together to throw at a new album is always a challenge for us. Also, just being in the studio for 8-12 hours at a time. You really get into a flow state when recording music but once you’re done and it’s time to go home that exhaustion really hits you.
Who did you collaborate with in the studio?
Jake B: We had a handful of musicians write some verses and do some studio work for us. We had some feature verses from bands like TreeHouse! , The Quasi Kings and Higher Education. All groups who we have toured with and are good friends of. We also had some strings in one of our tunes with Liz Kitts on violin and Grace Parce on cello.
Any recording stories you have that you’ll remember forever from this music? Please share one with us!
Jake B: So one of our sessions was booked the day after a music festival we had played. We not only played a later set but most of us stayed up for the super jam that was happening until about 3am. After that, Jacob and I have the tendency to find a campfire and whip out acoustic guitars. We played songs until the sun came up that next day. Our studio session was at 11am so we hopped in the RV and drove straight there for a full 10 hour session. We were all so zonked at that point but we pushed through and got it done.
What do you want fans to appreciate about your artistry when it comes to the new music?
Jake B: I’d love for people to appreciate the variety of music on the album. We like to pride ourselves in our ability to make each song its own. We’re really not big fans of albums where every song sounds the same. We’ve got reggae tunes, punk rock tunes and even an acoustic song with strings. There is something for everyone on the next album.
After the new year we typically forget about our resolutions, have you kept yours when it comes to your music making?
Jake B: Yes. Every year I set a list of goals, both for myself and the band. As of right now we’ve completed most of them. To name a few: release 3 new music videos (done), have a hometown sold out show (done), collab with more artists (done), tour in two new markets (done). The list goes on.
Give us your link for the music to stream, stream, stream!
Thank you for chatting with us! Where can our audience go to follow and support your stellar music journey!
Follow us on our social accounts and stay up to date with our tour dates!
End of Interview