Rockstead recently released a brand-new single, "Open Your Mind"! They also have remixes, videos, and more music on the way. It’s an exciting time for the band and we had to chat with them to get the scoop!
Tell us about your single, “Open Your Mind” that dropped recently...
Pretty much everything about this song was a new step up for us. Our past two releases we've recorded on our own with mostly self-taught production knowledge, and with that being said they turned out great. But this time around we were working with a well-versed producer (Stephen Buttree, also member of group Subterranean) which not only took some of the load off of our shoulders but also gave us some outside input on song structure and recording technique. Also, though we are a rock/reggae group, I feel like the boundaries of the genre are really being pushed by a lot of great bands around the country and we felt like this song really shows the diversity in our music. I think having the ability to express that diversity in different song styles, while still keeping your stamp on your genre/scene, is important and allows you to reach different kinds of crossover fans and keeps your band from sounding bland. We've always prided ourselves on this.
The song itself was written by Tanner Briscoe (who's also a featured vocalist in the tune) and it simply talks about opening your mind to what's out there in life and how you can't let "dark and cloudy skies" bring you down. We live in a pretty crazy world with loads of negativity being dumped on us through the media, politics, social movements, and a lot of this discourages open minded thinking and tries to force you to pick sides, if you will and choose your place in this cookie-cutter type of society we live in. So, this song really is meant to encourage people to look past all that, and even personal struggles one might be dealing with, and let them know that we all have the ability to change ourselves for the better.
Another fun fact about the cover art for the single. I (Jake Burns) took an extended stay in Maui, Hawaii last winter which ultimately lead to a HUGE creativity boost and allowed me to put my life goals into perspective. This trip very much opened my mind to what was important in my life. While I was there my friends and I hiked to the top of Haleakala, a dormant volcano and the highest peak on the island. While hiking up out of the giant crater we hit a rain storm with wind whipping our faces and soaking us to the bone, but once at the top there was a beautiful clear view. The cover photo for this single is one I took while in the crater of Haleakala (before the rain). Both the personal experience I had on the island and the story of hiking the volcano paralleled the meaning of the song so well that we had to make it the cover image.
What is next for Rockstead?
There is a lot on the horizon for us. This next month in particular friends and fans can keep their eye out for lots of fresh music. We just announced that we will be releasing "Open Your Mind" remixes which is something we've never done before. We've recruited local Ohio producers as well as some really cool rock/reggae names to remix our song so stay tuned. We've also got plans for another single drop in July with even more remixes (shhhhh....). We've got some new videos that we'll also be dropping in the next coming months as well. As far as performances, fans may have recognized that we haven't been playing much recently but this has been due to all the hard work we've put in to get this material ready for them! But have no fear, the rest of our year is in the works. We're excited to be opening for The Wailers again at Bogart's on Thursday July 12th. We also have plans to start hitting the road and venture down the East coast and play through Florida. Lastly, folks can keep their eye out for another Rockstead album to drop later this year!
What have been some highlights as a band the past year?
Honestly there have been so many. Opening up for The Wailers for our first time was a tremendous experience. They are some of the true pioneers of the reggae genre and paved the way with Bob Marley to inspire bands like us to do what we do. We also (successfully) completed our first big tour down through Florida. Before then we had completed lots of small runs through the Midwest but trekking down there and getting the reaction that we did was extremely fulfilling and fun as hell. Also, we learned a lot last year just in terms of being a band, adapting to difficult situations and setting goals. That might not sound exciting, but it really allowed us to grow and start making important moves for the future.
What do you love about the Cincinnati Music Scene?
I think what I personally love most about the Cincinnati music scene is the growth that I've seen over the past couple years. I feel like now more than ever there are venue owners expanding their genre reach, bands creating new events/festivals, booking agents bringing in top notch acts and the city overall supporting local ORIGINAL music. It will be exciting to see what all this brings over the next 5 years.