Interview: Roosevelt – “It Was A Good Time For A Change”

When the multi-talented Roosevelt, born Marius Lauber, released his album Embrace earlier this year, it marked a significant new chapter in his career. Following the success of 2019’s Polydans, Embrace showcased Roosevelt‘s growth as a songwriter and producer. This project, entirely self-written and recorded, also marked the first release with his new label, Counter Records/Ninja Tune.

With the album now out in the world, Roosevelt is bringing Embrace to life as he is currently underway on his North American headline tour. Roosevelt is set to hit major East Coast cities like Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Atlanta, and more before year’s end. The promise is an immersive live show, infusing the recorded tracks with an even more dynamic energy.

As Roosevelt continues to charm audiences in a live environment, we had the opportunity to delve into his thoughts on Embrace, the creative adventures behind its making, and the exciting live experiences he has in store for his fans. Here’s what Roosevelt had to say:

Hey! First off, congratulations on the release of your new album Embrace. How are you feeling now that it’s out, and how has the reception been so far?

Thank you! It felt great putting out the record this year – it’s been a year in the making, pretty much all of 2022, and I’m happy for it to be finally out!

For Embrace, it seems to be a product of your recent nomadic lifestyle rather than recording in your home studio. Can you share some memorable experiences or challenges you faced while recording in different cities?

I felt like I needed a change of scenery, and I’ve been inspired by people who don’t work in a studio environment but are producing music on their laptops – it’s something I never really did and, for this record, I wanted to try it! It’s been a wild mix of rented studios and Airbnbs, but very often just me with my laptop and headphones.

So, I’m really curious, with your album featuring such a range of tunes, from the catchy dance floor anthems (“Rising,” “Luna”) to the more chilled vibes (“Lake Shore,” “Fall Right In”). Can you share a bit about what went on behind the scenes to get this balance right?”

Making an album is often like solving a puzzle to me – only after trying a few things I start to get the picture of what might be missing on the record in terms of styles. So there isn’t much planning going on from the start; it’s more about starting with something and filling out the blanks afterward.

Watch Roosevelt’s “Luna” music video below

In a previous press release, it was shared that your album closer “Alive” required weeks of revisions to match the epic sound you envisioned. Can you delve deeper into what changed for this track and why it demanded such meticulous attention?

‘Alive’ is probably the track with the most synth recordings, all coming from different places, studios, and sessions… So it was incredibly hard to get the mix right and for each instrument to find its place. The ambition was to create a wall of sound with all its different layers – I remember working on the mix until the very final master deadline. Looking back now, I’m quite happy with the mix, but some tracks just need these extra laps of revisions!

Listen to Roosevelt’s “Alive” below

Your past collaborations have included working with renowned artists like Nile Rodgers and Classixx. How have these collaborations influenced your approach to music, and are there any collaborations that you hope to pursue in the future?

I’m actually planning to do more features in the future – I’ve been enjoying taking a step back and focussing on a specific part of the production – like with the Nile feature. I was singing the verses and producing the track, but I let guests sing the chorus, and obviously, Nile recorded all the guitars. I can imagine something like that, in an album format, in the future.

Embrace marks your first release with Counter Records/Ninja Tune. How has this transition to a new label impacted the creative and production process of the album, and how has it been working with them?

It was a good time for a change, and when Ninja Tune showed interest in releasing my new album, it was a no brainer for me – it’s an incredible team full of music lovers and I felt home straight away. I’ve always been a fan of their roster.

You’re currently out on an extensive tour, performing 35 dates across North America followed by European dates. What can fans expect from your live performances this time around and any upcoming dates you’re specifically excited for?

The shows are a more energetic, more dynamic version of the recorded music – I try to bring it to life with a band and stage production. I’m super excited for the show in Brooklyn – I lived in New York for a few months last year and saw a lot of shows at Brooklyn Steel.. So that’s definitely one we are all excited for.

To close, what song/EP/album have you been playing on repeat recently?

I love the new Floating Points track, but I’m also really into more guitar stuff recently, Gretel Hänlyn, Big Thief and Launder are all in heavy rotation.

Roosevelt 2023 North American Tour Dates

Monday, 6 November – Pittsburgh, PA – Thunderbird

Tuesday, 7 November – Philadelphia, PA – Brooklyn Bowl Philly

Thursday, 9 November – New York, NY – Brooklyn Steel

Friday, 10 November – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

Saturday, 11 November – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club

Monday, 13 November – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry

Tuesday, 14 November – Charleston, SC – Music Farm

Wednesday, 15 November – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse

Friday, 17 November – Mexico City, MX – Corona Capital

For more information on Roosevelt, to order your copy of Embrace, or to get tickets to his upcoming tour dates, visit his website here.

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