That NYC is a big muthafucka, huh? Of the Opera, who reside amongst its hustle and muscle is a case in point for what the big tamale encourages creatively. The duo creates large swathes of crestfallen melody, taking cues, in a basic sense, from past poster children in NYC’s storied, dark pop history. But the band doesn’t align itself too much with tradition, taking a fresh approach to sound-making from within the brooding apple.
Skylar Grey: What are your thoughts on ‘in the box’ music versus live instruments? Robert: Working ‘in the box’ gives me access to a huge amount of instruments that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to use (or afford). You can easily lose the human element of the music if things become ‘over-corrected,’ but with midi technology, computers do a pretty good job of making it sound like you are actually playing a certain kind of keyboard or even drum kit.
I always enjoy blending live instruments and guitars with programming; and the speed and ease of using ‘in the box’ instruments can become addictive. If I want to try a part with a church organ or a grand piano I don’t have to worry about dragging massive instruments up several flights of stairs to my studio, or fitting everything in a room that’s only 13 feet across. It’s all just a click away.
Matthew: Robert pretty much nailed it on the head with this one. It’s incredibly important to find a balance between the human element and the technology-driven element. You need to go beyond just pressing ‘play.’
Where is your ‘happy place’? Robert: I guess I have a conditional happy place in the studio where I write music. It’s just a small, windowless room with cinderblock walls, but when the ideas are flowing it’s a euphoric place to be. On the other hand, when I can’t come up with anything, the room quickly turns into a prison cell.
Matthew: When all my bills are paid and there’s money left over. Either that or the point I often find myself at before, during, or after one of our shows where I’ve physically and emotionally pushed myself to my limits and my body’s only way to manage is to almost throw up. For the record, I never actually have.
Grooming Notes: Facial moisturizer + RECIPE FOR MEN.
Photographer: Jovan Todorovic at JovanTodorovic.com. Stylist: Mark Holmes for SeeManagement.com. Groomer: Enrico Mariotti for SeeManagement.com. Special Thanks: Sarah Lalenya Kazalski and See Management.