Getting To Know... The Rooks

After spending the last few months building and cultivating their sound, Glasgow-based newcomers The Rooks are now ready to introduce themselves to the wider world with their stunning debut single 'Lay Me Down'.

Channelling a smooth and driven indie-rock aesthetic for their initial offering, 'Lay Me Down' makes for a dazzling introduction to their sound so far. With its bright and euphoric textures, breezy atmosphere, and captivating vocals layered throughout, they are certainly kicking things off with a brilliantly immersive opening number here.

So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with lead singer Ross Gardiner to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him most over the years.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

I got my first guitar when I was around 9. I gave it up for a while after being bored with lessons, and picked it back up when I was about 13 and just getting into music. I played everyday and continue to. Even when I pick up new instruments to learn, nothing compares.

What kind of music did you love when you were younger?

When I was younger I listened to whatever my parents would play in the house. My mum loved a lot of 60’s stuff such as Elvis and The Beatles, and my dad loved his 80’s- Simple Minds, Talking Heads etc. They also listened to the current rock that was coming out in the early 2000’s, which is where I first heard guitar music.

What was the first album you remember owning?

It wasn’t my album, but I always remember my dad buying the Stereophonics greatest hits album “ Decade in The Sun”. This would be on at volume 10 most weekends, with Superman always being my favourite track. This kickstarted my obsession for guitar music and being in a band. It's funny to look back at those times where I was obsessed with Stereophonics at the age of 9, to now be recording our first 3 singles with the man himself who recorded these legendary tracks - Jim Lowe. It was surreal walking into Jim’s studio for the first time and seeing the Platinum “Decade In The Sun” record.

What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?

My answer to this question changes every month, but one I always come back to is U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name”. For me, this is one of many perfect songs the earth has created, and I feel if I had to write it - or get close to it - it would suit The Rooks’ sound.

Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?

If I'm on a roll with my songs, I won't stop. There are always dry periods where you can sit down 10 or 20 times and get nothing, and it's frustrating. So when I manage to get a finished song and I feel good about it, I'll try to go again and get another one. There have been days where I've churned 3 or 4 songs out after sitting for 8 hours. Majority of the time when you listen back, your lucky to take one into the band, but its good to let the creative juices flow and get it all out of you.

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?

I'm currently big into Kings Of Leon at the moment. It's strange that I wasn't too into them when I was 13/14 and getting into indie music. I feel they are a lot more mature and different from your average indie band, and once you make it past Sex On Fire and Use Somebody, you'll find there is actually a lot of listening to be done with Kings Of Leon.

If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?

For me, it would have to be The Rolling Stones. I don't think anything could set you up for playing a good show more than the pressure of supporting the greatest rock band ever! I feel our sound would woo a Stones crowd, and show the oldies that some bands still have it!

I’d also love to open for Radiohead. The band is a massive fan of Radiohead's work, and a lot of songs that our fans will probably never hear draw heaps of inspiration from them. I’d love to play our slower, more emotional songs live at some point, as some nights it’s difficult to perform at 100mph. I also feel we would reach out to thousands of more fans after they see we’re not just a high energetic, crazy rock group.

What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?

The most rewarding part is creating art with your best mates, then undergoing the whole process of a song, and finally recording it in the studio. Nothing beats comparing the home demos to the finished product. It's one of the few times I allow myself to feel proud of the band. We don't like to congratulate hard work and achievements too much, as it is the norm for anyone trying to make something of themselves, but after our first trip to London to record the debut single Lay Me Down, I was proud of everyone. That trip will last with us forever, no matter the outcome of the band, and that's what is the most rewarding.

And what is the most frustrating part?

The most frustrating part is trying to reach a bigger audience organically, through releasing music and gigging. It is really difficult without a big team behind you. We are currently in the process of building our team, and are looking to be taken on and pushed to the youth of Britain, so we can assure them that bands are still a thing, it's still cool to go and see them, and they still make great music. Especially stuff they can relate to. I'm also not complaining about needing a team to reach a bigger audience. We understand what we need to do and who we need to work with to reach the level of success we want.

And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?

The best piece of advice I've received is to make the best version of art that you can make at all times, don't become lazy with it, and don’t sell out. Our producer Jim said this to me when we showed him what we originally had planned for our 1st single. He told us to scrap it and go with Lay Me Down as it was our best piece of music - we knew he was right. After this it got me thinking that all our service as a band is to create the best music we can, and give it to the people. Everything else in between will eventually sort itself out. It's a good way to not get caught up in it, and remember why you started in the first place.


The Rooks' debut single 'Lay Me Down' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.