Created in 2007 by solo national touring/recording artist Paul Wright, Rootdown’s music falls into the “pop/rock/reggae” category of band and genre, a well-developed musical culture with roots stretching back to the early days of Bob Marley, through the years of Sublime, and into today with many different bands spearheading the direction like Pepper and Slightly Stoopid. Think Beastie Boys meets Beach Boys. The Pier caught up with Rootdown front man Paul Wright to discuss the release of Tidal Wave, how some of the songs came to fruition & what we can expect in the music future from both Rootdown & Paul Wright.
The Pier: This is Rootdown’s first full length album and your first release since 2009’s “Summer of Love”. Congratulations on this release! How do you see the growth of the group since “Summer of Love” and what direction do you see Rootdown headed?
Paul Wright: I think a lot of our growth has come from touring. We played over fifty colleges last year and had the chance to try out a lot of our songwriting ideas live. Some actually came to life during a show. Other than that, we all have gotten fatter because we love mexican food.
The Pier: HA! Of the 10 new songs on the album, which song do you think best represents Rootdown in it’s sound & spiritual message? And which song do you enjoy playing the most live?
Paul Wright: As far as sound I think “All I Wanna Do” hits the target pretty well. As far as message “Good Day” shines with optimism and joy, a major component to our songwriting and live show. I think Tidal Wave or Karl Malone In A Cowboy Hat is our favorite song to play live. If you’ve been to one of our shows you’d know why Karl Malone is. We usually do a dance contest in that song and each member of the band has a brief solo. We also end up on the floor clapping with our feet with the crowd doing the same thing. Pretty funny stuff. Tidal Wave is a song that gets the crowd moving and brings up the energy level.
The Pier: Now I understand your new song “Golden” was written during a sound check in Montana, is that right?
Paul Wright: Yea, we drove about fifteen hours in the snow to play this college in Northern Montana. When we got there we were greeted by about 15 people and a sound system consisting of car speakers. It was definitely a grind but it was also the place where we started writing Golden. In fact our sound check lasted extra long cuz we were stoked on that song. The town is called “Havre” and when we arrived the gas attendant said, “Havre? You can keep her, I don’t want her.” Pretty encouraging first words! (laughter)
The Pier: I remember in August 2010 you released a song “Me & You” that was featured on the Sense Boardwear Acoustic Compilation. With your new album, you have a song called “All I Wanna Do” that shares the same guitar line from “Me & You”. Was Me & You the baby that later grew up to be “All I Wanna Do”?
Paul Wright: Yes, in fact the song was originally written with the “All I Wanna Do” chorus but we took it a different direction for the comp and revisited it for the new record. We didn’t know it was going to be one of our favorites on the record when we recorded it.
The Pier: You guys had a unique approach towards your avenue of touring. Instead of mapping out a list of bars, clubs & venues, you guys targeted colleges & played over fifty college campuses. What was the mentality behind this approach & how has it benefited the group?
Paul Wright: We showcased at NACA west and booked over 30 some colleges from that one fifteen minute showcase. Since then the buzz has grown and doors have opened on other campuses. It’s been a fun way to do something we love and get our music out in the college scene.
The Pier: Are there any plans for a full US tour? Are there any groups you’d like to come out on tour with?
Paul Wright: No plans are being made right now. We’d love an opportunity to open for an artist or band that has a big draw on a consistent basis. It’d be a dream of mine to tour with Michael Franti and Spearhead.
The Pier: You personally, as a performing artist have 5 solo releases under your belt stemming back from 2003, including the 2008 release of “Diego’s Diary” that was written while living in down town San Diego. Are you still looking to put out any solo releases in the future or are you focused on Rootdown?
Paul Wright: Yea I wanna keep putting out solo music. I’ve been focusing most of my energy with ROOTDOWN but have written over twenty songs this year as custom songs for people. I think this summer I’ll be inspired to write some more songs!
The Pier: Having lived in San Diego, CA, how would you say the music scene compares in SoCal to that of the Pacific Northwest?
Paul Wright: It’s a lot different. There is positives and negatives to both scenes. In Pac NW you don’t have to sell tickets to play places, bars or clubs will pay you. The beach culture in SoCal definitely fits the reggae/rock vibe better than PacNW. A lot of the live music here is jam based or it’s cool if it’s not as mainstream. I don’t envy the band just starting out trying to do this for a living. It’s a grind!
The Pier: Now that the Tidal Wave has hit, what can fans now expect from Rootdown moving forward & what would you like to tell fans directly?
Paul Wright: Thank you so much for your support and feedback. We hope to meet you at a show someday. Help artists continue to do this by supporting the music and sharing it with your friends! One sun sets and another sun rises. Keep your head up and treat others as you would like to be treated! Aloha!
Interviewed by: Mike Patti
Enjoy this promotional video on Rootdown…