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  • LoveInTheLyrics


The feeling of love. The power of unity. The essence of happiness. The strength of togetherness and positive vibrations. The highs of living life and the lows of dealing with its obstacles. All of these things encapsulate the music of Cincinnati, OH-based Rockstead, a five-piece, passion driven rock/reggae group.

With roots leading as far back as middle school, Rockstead combines a lifetime full of influences ranging from rock, punk, reggae, jam and metal. In their early days Rockstead ruled the college party scene in Ohio with a schedule full of impromptu house shows that led to packed basements of DIY venues and later, massive crowds attending college fests such as Ohio University’s infamous spring festivals. This early success catalyzed the debut of their first album “Wake Up and Live” (2013) shortly followed by their popular self-recorded “Rise” EP (2014). These releases ignited their inner road warrior leading to a plethora of plays at music festivals and concert venues across the Midwest. Since then, Rockstead continues to widen their reach touring throughout the Eastern U.S. and down into Florida.

Though member changes have occurred over the years, front man singer/guitarist Jake Burns continues to drive the group forward as they have shared stages with international touring acts such as The Wailers (Jamaica), Sticky Fingers (Australia) and Big Mountain (U.S.A.) as well as many staple East coast reggae acts like Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Badfish, Tropidelic, Bumpin’ Uglies and Ballyhoo!. The band has now grown to include Nate Anuci (drums) and Jacob Riley (lead guitar). With a healthy gap since their last full release (Homegrown, 2016) Rockstead dropped their first studio album “You’re In Control” in September 2020 which scored them multiple features in blogs and podcasts across the scene making them “one of the most unique and special bands in [Cincinnati]” (CincyMusic, 2020).

By using their relentless high-energy performances and genre-bending setlists, while aligning their unwavering dedication to the do-it-yourself work ethic, Rockstead shows no sign of slowing down their mission of bringing people together through music.

What are your favorite lyrics from your latest single? Jake B: I think my favorite lyrics from our last single "Last Straw (feat. The Quasi Kings)" are probably in the chorus when I write "they're feeding us the apple, like a snake in the trees, coming after me". This is an allusion to the Bible and the story of Adam and Eve when Eve was persuaded by a snake (the devil) to eat the forbidden fruit telling them that if they ate the fruit they would be wise like God even though God had told them they could eat anything but the fruit. So God got pissed and kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden and made them live down on Earth. This whole song is about how the media is so biased and focused on fear mongering. The news is supposed to keep you educated and in tune with the world (wise like God?) but instead people consume it and all it does is separate our country and bring people down. I'm not really a religious man but I thought that was a cool line to throw in there. Are all your writing sessions collaborative or do you go off on your own? Do you have a preference? Jake B: I do most of the lyric writing on my own. Sometimes I sit down with a purpose in mind and really try to push that idea through. Sometimes ideas just come flowing out of me and I have a song in 20 minutes. It really just depends. With that being said I have written songs with other people in the past. I think it's fun to bounce ideas off of another brain and see what we come up with. As far as the music goes, we generally have a writing session as a full band. I will have the chord progressions laid out for the most part and we'll play through the song a few times as the other guys start developing their parts. We'll throw ideas back and forth until we finally land on something we all dig. Do you ever compare the work you bring to the table? Jake B: I'm doing most of the writing for the group so there isn't generally much to compare but I would have to say no. Jacob is a mastermind at coming up with cool chord progressions and lead lines. I've even written lyrics over some of the instrumentals he has sent me before. I think everyone is confident in their abilities and we have a brotherly trust in each other. We're pretty open about what we do and don't like and talk it out when we need to. In the end we wind up with something that we all agree on. What is standard practice when it comes to if the song is really finished? Jake B: A song is never finished in a musician's mind haha. Even once we have something solid that everyone likes after the writing sessions we will still come up with new things in the studio and add them in as we go along. With that being said, even after a song is released we're constantly talking about "oh man we could have done this here or that there" ect. Sometimes you just have to put the guitar down and walk away. What was the goal for making the latest track? Jake B: I think the goal for this one was to let our love of metal music shine through. We are primarily a rock band but we associate heavily with the reggae music scene as our music contains a lot of influence from that genre. As much as we love that, we all grew up listening to hard rock and metal and always jump at the opportunity to throw that in our music. With this tune, we've got the heavy riff that carries through the song, the huge double bass drum solo and then the metal breakdown at the end. We love that shit. Challenges to the new music that no one would know about? Jake B: Honestly with the writing and recording there weren't many challenges. This album came together nicely and everyone was excited about putting these new tunes out there. Honestly one of our biggest struggles was having the money to get into the studio. No one will really ever know how much we were grinding just to get the cash for that next session. Favorite memory in the making of this music? Jake B: Something I will always remember about recording this album (and song) is how tired we were going into the studio every time. We were definitely balling on a budget during the recording process so we would have to go out and play tour dates to make money and then we'd book our studio session for the day we got back from tour. At that point we were all so exhausted from running shows out on the road that we'd all been in somewhat of a daze getting our parts recorded but we pushed through and made something really awesome. Leave us on a high note! And share some good news! Jake B: The good news is that the album is done and our songs are starting to be released! This is by far the most proud any of us have ever been about something we have recorded. This music is a huge level up for all of us and we're stoked to get it out there. Socials PLEASE:

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