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Schwartzman Talks Rooney's Movement Into "El Cortez"


We recently chatted with Robert Schwartzman about the happenings in the world of Rooney. He talked about their upcoming EP "El Cortez" and his current state of mind with the project.

Rooney hasn’t exactly been prolific at putting out music during their career. During their almost fifteen-year tenure they’ve put out four records. Their debut came out in 2003. The follow-up came out in 2007. Their first record away from a major label, Eureka, came out in 2010, and finally their most recent LP, “Washed Away” came out in 2016. With the band’s upcoming EP release, “El Cortez” that cycle is being bucked and that’s something that Robert Schwartzman – frontman and mastermind of Rooney – is doing on purpose.

“We put out a record called “Washed Away” last year,” began Schwartzman when talking with Alternative Addiction recently. “That was our first record in a lot of years. That record cycle was like a, ‘Hey, we’re here… we care and we want to be here…”. My goal moving forward was to keep the wheels turning and put another record out the following year, that’s this summer. There are a few sides to it. I look at it as a strategy and I look at it as a creative outlet. Creatively, I think it’s a good EP. I stand by all the songs. They’re not all the same thing. That’s important to me, that it’s a diverse sounding record. I’m proud of these songs.”

The studio that Schwartzman and co. recorded at was National Southwestern Recording by 11th Street Records in downtown Las Vegas. They did the initial recording in Vegas, then Schwartzman took the sessions back to L.A. and finished them in his studio. So, while Schwartzman recorded somewhere new, the recording process was mostly streamlined with El Cortez. That same thing can be said with writing the record.

“Some of these songs are songs that I’ve already written and I went back to them. Some of them are ideas that I had that I reworked. I got to go back and flesh out some song ideas that I never really got to work on. Some of them are all new.”

Compare the way that Schwartzman makes music now with the way he used to do it ten years ago and things are vastly different. Ten years ago, Rooney was with Geffen Records and they were getting ready to release their sophomore record, “Calling the World.” Now, Rooney is getting ready to release the EP and it’s mostly a solo project from Schwartzman. The length between the first two albums was four years. When “El Cortez” drops it will have been about a year. Talking further about that, Schwartzman talked about why putting out stuff more often is his focus. He also talked about the business side of Rooney and why it took so long for the band to do anything all that time ago.

“I wanted to keep the flow and get new music out there right away,” explained Schwartzman hitting on that topic again. “I don’t want fans to have to wait anymore. If you look back at the releases, there’s a lot of years between each album. That’s not because of the band sitting around taking our sweet-ass time to make a record. That’s because of the industry we were working in at the time. When you’re on a major label there’s a lot more factors that go into each release, there’s politics that you have to deal with when you’re trying to put out a record. My goal moving forward is to try something new. It seems like a no-brainer. Put music out as much as we can… all the time. That’s the new goal moving forward. It’s like keeping the faucet on drip opposed to turning it off.”

Read Part Two

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