The Roommates are a Dallas-based, all-female indie rock band that burst into the music scene in late 2017. This heavy-hitting quartet leaves nothing on the table, combining powerful vocals and airy guitar solos with emotional and dark undertones, serving the listener a strong dose of tour de force. Believing that music is its language and emotion, this is no hobby for these ladies, but more so a form of essential life therapy in which they have opened themselves up for others to witness, partake and share in. With the release of their first 2 singles in 2019, The Roommates spent the majority of their time in 2019 playing live shows and touring the state of Texas, letting their message captivate any audience they found themselves in front of. After carving out a spot for themselves in the local scene, The Roommates are now in the process of recording their first full-length album that is set to release in early 2020.
In early 2019, the group released their first single titled “Illusionary War,” a dramatic piece that showcases the band's ability to deliver a sharp message while simultaneously sweeping you into a melodic and euphoric trance. Personal turmoil or reflections on the darker side of life have long been a crucial muse in hard rock writing and the music of The Roommates. This particular release is one that cleverly hints at a certain struggle or battle, within the self, but leaves just enough to the imagination that those feeling isolated or alone. The leading voice throughout “Illusionary War” encompasses the very emotions of the lyrics incredibly well – the verses are enough to fuse melody and grit with that unmistakable The Roommates tone, then you get the drop into the weight and scream of the hook. The whole thing just pours emotion and volume into the room in a manner that effectively relieves you of your stresses for a while, releases you from the grip of uncertainty.
Riding on the heels of their first single, The Roommates released their second single in June 2019 titled “Psycho.” This high energy track takes an even deeper dive into the raw and edgy waters The Roommates love to play in, reiterating their desire to create, write and present their material with reckless abandon. Starting things off is a quickly appealing and satisfying, distorted guitar riff-heavy and unique enough to reignite the genre indie-rock fans have loved and perhaps missed for several years. The Roommates has incorporated the perfect guitar layer, one that rises and falls like a manically beating heart, as well as moving expressively in line with the varying energy of the vocal and the drums. That main riff is superb and leaves as much of an impression as the song’s hook and the singer’s vocals. Coming in at four minutes and eighteen seconds, “Psycho” hits you hard and undoubtedly leaves a mark. The Roommates undoubtedly utilize contrast well enough to let the second half come through in a more familiar and immersive way. Another step in the right direction for modern rock, and yet another hit of creative individuality and musical realness from The Roommates.
Check out “Illusionary War” and “Psycho” on Spotify here and read more with The Roommates below!
Welcome to BuzzMusic The Roommates! Can you start by introducing yourselves? How did The Roommates come to fruition?
Hi there! We are an all-female rock band based out of Dallas, Tx. The founding
members, Mallory McAdams and Lonnie Shields, met in college circa 2009 where they quickly
realized they had a very strong musical connection. From our similar musical influences to the
actual songs we would jam together, we just had a very natural connection that we knew was
different. We did not pursue anything serious at this point, mainly just played at house parties
for our friends. We moved to Dallas after college, and actually ended up living together, which
goes into the meaning behind the name of the band. We lived together for about 4 years, and
began playing acoustic cover shows around Dallas at small bars under our newly formed band
name, “The Roommates.”
We played acoustic cover gigs for about 2 years, and added a third member to the group
during this time, Jesse Johnson. Looking back now, adding Jesse to the mix was the catalyst to
pushing us to expand and do our own material. The sound and depth that Jesse provided, even
in the acoustic sets, it just made a lot of doors open within our minds, especially Mallory who
had already been writing her own material for years but just had never seriously presented it.
It was at this point, in the summer of 2017, we started to hit a major wall. We knew deep down
that we were wanting to create our own material, that we wanted to have the ultimate
connection to music while performing, and that would mean we needed begin the process to
write and perform our own material. We wanted to go, full band, so Jesse connected us with
Marisa Saltzgiver- a friend of hers that was the drummer in the previous band she was in. We
all decided gathered one night to see what would happen, just to see what it would feel like
playing full band would feel like. We knew immediately after the first song we ran through,
that we were scrapping on something extremely special. We knew from that point forward
that nothing would be the same, in regards to our music, and that we all wanted to pursue
whatever this thing was that just presented itself to us in that full band jam session. Once we
made that decision, it was like the Universe responded to us, because very shortly after that
first jam session, we were presented the opportunity to play our first full band show 3 weeks
later. From that point forward, we’ve been steady at work developing meaningful relationships
within the Dallas Music Scene, slowly carving out a spot for ourselves within this industry. We
feel grateful the chance to grow within such an active and supportive music scene here in
Can you dive into some lyrics within your tracks “Illusionary War” and “Psycho”? What do you hope your listeners take away from your music?
Both of these songs are intense. And one thing we love about music is that the message within
a song can be interpreted several different ways. One listener may connect and interpret a song
in one way while another listener interprets the song completely differently. I’ve always
wanted to ask this same question to people, without them knowing the place in which we were
coming from when we wrote the songs, to see what their initial interpretation of the song is.
Illusionary War was the first single we presented to the world. This song makes several strong
statements while also leaving a lot of room for the listener to create their own interpretation of
the song. We definitely encourage the listener to interpret the song however it best connects
with them, but we will give you some insight on the meaning behind this song to us. It’s funny
because like all songs, over time, this song begins to gain new meaning for us in different ways
than it originally was written for – but here are some of the consistent themes for us. It is
obvious that we are living in polarizing times within our culture. There are many issues coming
to the surface that cannot be ignored any longer. There are many aspects of our reality and
culture that are being proven to be not so accurate. It is becoming more and more apparent
how fear-based our culture is, how we literally have formed massive and generalized opinions
about people, places, and/or things that we truly know nothing about, just because someone
told us “this is how it is.” We are made to believe everything is scary, that anything different
than us is bad/evil, and that if we don’t live a certain way, we will go to a fiery hell for eternity.
When we all know that is not true – that is the illusion. This song is challenging the listener to
evaluate their own life, to take back control of their own minds, and to pursue the truth in an
unapologetic manner. We are challenging the listener to break free from the illusions that have
been planted our minds that cause actual conflict within the physical world that leads to actual
physical war in our collective reality.
Psycho is a song that displays the inner intense emotions of the band. When I (Mallory) initially
wrote the lyrics to the song, I was in a very low place. I am an intense person, and sometimes I
struggle with my handling my emotions. While I believe my intensity positively contributes to
my creativity, there is a flip side to that which can be hard to deal with. I tend to be very hard
on myself when I do have low moments, so it’s like a vicious cycle of getting upset, and then
getting upset with myself because I’m upset – so that makes me feel crazy sometimes. Also,
within our culture, it seems that we are ashamed to feel certain ways or admit that we are
having a hard time. We are labeled “crazy” for basically showing emotion. Women in particular.
So, we wanted to write a song that addressed all of these things – the painful cycle of mental
illness while also tapping into the frustrations of dealing with being a woman- physically,
mentally, hormonally, emotionally – all of those things. This song is basically openly addressing
the ugly parts of yourself for what they are – exposing and admitting them yourself, so you can
confront them, instead of burying them to only resurface even stronger later down the line.
How have you grown and evolved as a band since your debut? What have you learned?
How have you grown: We look back at when we first came together and that very first practice
we ever had together. In our minds it was more of a jam session, not realizing what we were
about to stumble upon. We had a connection that very first night, but now it was about to be the
ultimate test moving forward, especially as we were creating new songs and taking songs that
Mallory had already written, and transforming them from being played in an acoustic, to a full
band setting. Over the last year, it has not been easy. Many clashing of ideas and ways that we
hear songs. It’s not always pretty. Yeah, when you hear the song come together you may think
“gah, this sounds like it fell right in your lap!” When in all honesty, we were about to kill each
other! But now that we have been together for over a year, we have found ways of communicating what one would want from a song and just the learning process of coming
together as one while creating. We’ve come a long way since the start with this and continuing
to grow practice after practice, when we come together.
What has been one of your most memorable or life-changing achievements so far?
Most memorable for all of us, I think would be hands down our first ever tour run this year.
Summer of 2018, we spoke it into existence that it was something we wanted to do in 2019. We
put the word out there, spent countless hours reaching out to venues and getting shot down,
and reached out to some amazing sources that we have to make this run as smooth as
possible. Before we knew it, we had venues and bands locked in for shows outside of dallas
and it was go time. We called our tour “The Fresh Legs Tour”, when in all honesty, it should’ve
been called “The Emotional Tour.” Every single day and night, we woke up thankful for having
the opportunity to do something we only dreamed of. To most, it may not mean a lot because it
was only a week tour run. But to us, it meant everything! Seeing faces we haven’t seen in years
come out and support us at each venue out of town, left us speechless every single night.
Sadly, the start of the tour our guitarist, Jesse, lost her grandma just an hour into our drive to
Austin. In that moment, it brought us so much closer together to keep her spirits lifted and just
brought us together in general. The running joke before we left, was that we were gonna hate
each other and not want to be around each other for at least, two weeks after the last tour show.
And boy were we wrong. Within an hour of everybody going their separate ways, we instantly
texted in our group chat how we missed each other. That’s when we realized the impact that our
tour run had on each of us and just showed, this is where we were supposed to be and how
much we wanted to continue doing this.
What other projects are you working on through the end of 2019?
We have been gigging consistently since the end of 2017, so we have decided to slow down from playing
shows this fall to focus more on writing and recording some new material. We are excited to spend
some time regrouping, reflecting on the things we have done up to this point, and beginning the process of working on new material as a band this fall. We plan to spend the rest of 2019 in creation mode, working towards releasing a full-length album at the beginning of 2020.
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