Spotlight: Roots of Creation
For every one band that successfully makes it out of college, there are 12 failed bands that never left their dorm room. Fortunately, reggae-rockers Roots of Creation have not only excelled well past the four years spent at Franklin Pierce in New Hampshire, but they’ve even gotten to share the stage with idols like Slightly Stoopid, Ziggy Marley and SOJA. So how did the band make the transition from playing at house parties to becoming a main staple in the New England music scene? We chatted with lead guitarist and vocalist, Brett Wilson, and keyboardist/melodica player, Tal Pearson, to find out.
How did Roots of Creation start? Can you give me a brief history?
Tal: Mike, Brett and I met in college in 2000 and started playing music together not too long after that. We started using the Roots of Creation name pretty quickly, and started trying to play more and more shows. After we graduated we just started touring and playing out as much as we could.
Brett: We didn’t really start to take things seriously till ’05 when we were out of school. We released a studio record, moved into a house together located in Peterborough, NH, and toured our asses off around 150 shows a year from ’05-’11. We took our college party scene that our friends and fans loved to clubs and festivals around the country. We’ve been to every area of the country except for Texas, Louisiana, and other parts of the deep south. We’ve even been to Canada a few times and took one trip to tour the US Virgin Islands. Like three vans, two trailers, and one short bus later we’re still rippin’ it! Currently our Ford E-350 Van has 310K miles on it! Ford toss us a bone please 😉
You played at festivals all over New England this summer. Which one is your favorite and why?
Tal: I would say the Wild Woods festival in NH was my favorite. It was a perfect size, with great bands and in a great location. Beyond that, the festival site is absolutely perfect for that sort of thing, and it was set up really nicely with cool lights and effects leading you down the walking paths to other stages.
Brett: That’s a tough one. Wild Woods was really special as Tal said. The venue, Page Farm has a lot to do with that. Our fans were buzzing hard about the show and have been listening to it a lot online on archive.org. It was an amazing first-year festival. Props to GreenVibe Entertainment. I’d say my favorite moment of the summer was Oteil Burbridge from the Allman Brothers and Bill Carbone from Max Creek sitting in with us at Wormtown Music Festival for the Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree.” Oteil crushed it on the scatting bass solos. Big fan of his and he keeps it real. We hung at Jungle Jam in Costa Rica last winter for a yoga session. Catskill Chill also had a killer vibe, we love our Chill Fam! Best artist hospitality in the biz. Grilled PB&J’s with cheese, made to order, are you kidding me!? It was super fun to bring back “Giraffe > Star Wars > Giraffe” as a special treat.
You’re a reggae-rock band, but are there genres of music you listen to that your fans would be surprised by? Any unlikely musical influences?
Tal: I’m sure we all have a few. We all like music in general and love exploring new genres and sounds, and sharing stuff with each other. I personally also really like metal/punk/hardcore or lots of ’90s guitar bands. This week I’ve been listening to Texas in July, The Mermen, Talking Heads, The Mighty Diamonds, and John Brown’s Body. So it’s all over the map. Maybe we’re just BETTER at playing reggae rock… it seems to come naturally to us.
Brett: I actually listen a lot to mainstream and college radio while driving to get inspiration on new sounds and song forms. Hip-hop/rap is a huge influence on me lyrically. I like to listen to live DJs at clubs to learn how they mix songs and mashups on the fly and try to incorporate what they are doing in our set and vibe. We are lucky to get exposed to a lot of up-and-coming music at festivals and bands that we play with in the reggae/rock and jam scene. Right now I have my boys Slightly Stoopid on repeat along with Nas, Talib Kweli, Jay Z, Sean Paul, Collie Buddz, Twiddle, The Dead, Phish and SOJA on my offline Spotify Playlist.
What do you think has been your band’s biggest accomplishment thus far?
Tal: Touring with the Aggrolites across the country in fall 2011 was pretty rad.
Brett: My favorite thing is to look out into the crowd while they’re getting down and see people singing the words while they’re RoCin’ out. To be able to continually progress as a band musically and career-wise by playing shows to our still-growing tribe of RoC fans is amazing in itself. We are lucky and grateful to be able to do what we do. To even still exist as a band after all these years is a miracle in and of itself. haha.
But seriously, the biggest accomplishment for me to-date would have to be playing We the People Music Festival in L.A. in 2008, being the only band who didn’t live in Cali, and having Bassnectar, Les Claypool, and Barrington Levy’s manager Daddy Biggs, all coming up to us individually and saying how much they liked our set. I also got to smoke with RZA and our set was sandwiched between DJ Premier and Fishbone, who I lent a guitar cable. That was a pretty epic experience for the band!
Why is everyone from New Hampshire so obsessed with New Hampshire?
Tal: New Hampshire for Damn Sure! Seriously though, maybe it’s because NH only has one area code. Makes it easy on everyone.
Brett: The state motto “Live Free or Die!” It’s true people rep NH hard. Case and point, our video “Summer in the 603” we did with The SSP this year. We have been to so many places across the US and the world and NH is a special place. I was born and raised here and also went to school at Franklin Pierce College where I met Mike and Tal. Traveling to new places is amazing and a lot of fun but NH is in my heart and soul.
On a serious note, I just wish the state would follow suit with the motto (no sales tax, don’t need car insurance, don’t need a seat belt, don’t need a helmet on a motorcycle, etc.) to be all inclusive and apply it to: Medical and recreational legalization of cannabis, and more sensible drug policies.
What’s next for RoC? Any new tunes on the horizon?
Tal: Why, yes! We are very close to hitting the studio to start work on Live Free or Die (the tentative name for the next album). We’ll also be playing a show in Providence, RI, at The Spot on Halloween, and in Stafford, CT, at The Stafford Palace Theatre the night after, and probably a couple other Northeast shows over the coming months while we work on the album.
Brett: Also, for Halloween we will be throwing a show in Brooklyn at a secret location on Thursday the 30th. Roots of Creation will be launching a 30-day PledgeMusic Campaign, scheduled to begin mid-October, to allow our fans to be involved in the process of actually making the new record and raise funds to make it happen. It will be our 6th release and 3rd studio album. So fans have been patiently waiting for this next studio album since 2006! We promise it will be worth the wait. We have what we feel are our best songs ready to be recorded and shared. We are also very blessed to now have a super supportive team behind us and the most amazing fans in the world. I am also stoked to play an acoustic set at Slightly Stoopid’s Closer To The Sun in Mexico this December, and then make the defining record of RoC’s career. Big things to come!
For more information on Roots of Creation’s whereabouts and new album, head to their official Facebook page.