Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Interview: Room 101

posted by Free Press Houston @ 8:57 AM

By Omar Afra

(7-Inch artwork by Winston Smith who is famous for album artwork for the Dead Kennedys)

Chicago-native Roburt Reynolds of Room 101 has been on the Houston music scene for a short time now but has quickly made waves with his dramatic performances and recent release of a stellar 7 inch record. Armed with just a guitar, mic, and backing tracks, this one man band has stirred local audiences with his performance arts shows, visceral elctro-punk (for lack of a better term), on stage projections, and quick tempo songs. Singing about topics ranging from privatized military to Orwellian humor, Room 101 is pushing the local envelope and definitely has a story to tell. He elaborated on this story for us recently:

You are a 'one man band' but your 7 inch sounds like a band co-operation rather than a singular execution. Any outside help? What kind of recording protocol?

No outside help whatsoever. I write all the songs. I play all the instruments. I dig up all the samples from various mediums. I program, sequence, and arrange all the drums, I record it all. I mix it all. I master it all. I didn't personally press the records. I designed the packaging layout (other than the artwork by Winston Smith). Then I put them all together by hand. I've been playing instruments since I was a little kid. Maybe that's why I hit the deck so much. Recording protocol is patience, spontaneity, precision, mic placement, ears, and that order.

What is the earliest influence you had on your performance laden shows?

They have all been significant in someway. Iggy Pop and the Stooges was the most incredible thing I've ever experienced in a concert setting. But earliest was realizing how many bands stand around onstage and are afraid to really delve into their subconscious expression, no matter how ugly it may be. I was probably 7 or 8 when that one happened. Got lucky.
So you are from Chicago and relatively new to Houston. Tell me what you miss about the prior and tell me what you love about the latter.

I miss Chicago architecture, the trains, the grime, the relentlessness and unforgiving nature of 'the metropolis', the urban decay, the graffiti, the history, the corruption, and the anonymity. You can get lost up there in the best ways-even when they are bad news. I almost got shot for knocking over a trash can once after a show.

Houston has been great to me. There are a vast array of hidden corners and freakish, secret enigmatic spots that make this place very intriguing and very fresh coming from such a different environment. It too is intensely grimy, which I love. The first night I was here I saw a car flip over. And the urban decay is still there, you never have to go looking too far to find that anywhere-except our gentrifying neighborhoods (and they won't be too far behind).

If Room 101 was a medieval weapon, what would it be?


What are you listening to lately? Anything local?

Bellini's got a new record out, US Maple, Os Mutantes, Curtis Mayfield, OOIOO, BDP, MC Lyte. Localwise...Geto Boys, Anarchitex, Really Red, Verbal Abuse, DRI, The Delta Block, Cop Warmth, Happy Fingers Institute, and Jade Simmons has a dope new record out, too.

In 3 words, what is next for you and your music?

Be like water.

In 2 words, what is next for human civilization?

Kool Aid. Like Jim Jones. Sorry, is that more than two, now?

In 1 word, what are your 2 favorite words?


Room 101 plays at the Rat’s Nest June 13th for Gulf Coast Hardcore Fest at T.M.M.C.


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