WEB EXCLUSIVE: Rooney Interview

The New U: How was Wayzgoose? Did you get a chance to explore it?
Robert Schwartzman: I walked around a little bit. I saw some insects and things but I didn’t get to eat anything. It looked cool but was spread out. Guess you have to be familiar with the campus. I saw the cars and those were cool.
The New U: Can you give me an exact date for your upcoming release ‘Calling the World?’
Schwartzman: I can’t give you an exact date but I have to say sometime in July.
The New U: The last time we talked was back in December 2005 at the Chain Reaction when you were recording an album. ‘Not So Easy’ was supposed to be the first single off that untitled album. Will it be on this new one?
Schwartzman: No. We made three albums to get this one record. And there are lots of songs that didn’t make it because we have tons of material. Those songs from the other recordings were separate songs. We love the newest ones.
The New U: You also looked a little nervous about the album the last time we talked. Feeling confident about ‘Calling the World’?
Schwartzman: So confident. I’m the most proud of this new album in terms of a) song writing and b) production because it feels the most Rooney-like. With the previous records, the process was so hard to follow and it didn’t feel natural. I was writing songs that didn’t fit our band. They sounded cool and I’m sure people would like them but they’re not the strongest. Now I’m thrilled. I think [‘Calling the World’] is a great second record.
The New U: Your song ‘Are You Afraid?’ sounds a lot heavier. Can you explain the song a little?
Schwartzman: It’s slightly darker. It’s in an E-minor key making it feel kind of spooky and dark. ‘Are you Afraid?’ is dancey and you can easily move to it. It’s also very dramatic. Lyrically, it’s asking: ‘What are you trying to do to me / Are you afraid of me?’ Melodically it works and fits with what the lyrics are saying.
The New U: Are there any songs off ‘Calling the World’ that you are particularly excited to get out to the public?
Schwartzman: ‘When Did Your Heart Go Missing’ is one of my favorite songs on the record. I love dance songs and I love moving. ‘I Should Have Been After You’ is another favorite of mine because it’s very tense and it goes places musically that [Rooney] has never gone before. It’s the most fresh, I think, and yeah, it shows what the band is capable of doing.
The New U: In the four years since your last album, lots of new bands have popped up. Are there any that you would like to tour with?
Schwartzman: While I was writing the second record I started listening to the radio more. Never found anything I truly loved. Lots of stuff out there and other bands we could take on the road with us, but I never found a perfect match for our band. Our band is kind of unique.
The New U: You guys have been playing the Roxy lately. How did you get that gig?
Schwartzman: Well, we started off playing L.A. clubs and that’s how we built our following a long time ago. We have a good relationship with the club because we’ve been there so many times. They seemed like they were anxious to have us do something special [and] were thrilled to have four shows with us. Such a cool room.
The New U: Your brother and former drummer of Phantom Planet, Jason Schwartzman, recently recorded some songs. Will there be a sibling collaboration sometime in the future?
Schwartzman: I sang on the record and he played on some stuff that. He writes music and I write music. We definitely will do something. Just the two of us.
The New U: What’s up next for Rooney in the next year?
Schwartzman: Rooney, for the next year, will be touring, touring and touring to promote our record.
The New U: I don’t know if you noticed, but UC Irvine’s mascot is the anteater. What do you think about them?
Schwartzman: Anteaters? I love anteaters. I think that’s a very bold mascot. Not frightening like a tiger but I think it’s kind of cool and special.