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Interview With 'Robbers On Parole'

Firstly, introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be? Hey there, we’re Robbers On Parole, an Electronic Rock band, and we're here to make you dance and think about life and love and get sad and stuff! Ok, ok, we stole that introduction from an awesome movie but we changed it just enough so that it matches us and our music, which is more or less exactly what we described. We’re a four-piece band that occupies a sort of strange self-described genre - Dark Pop-Rock for loners to dance to, and we’re comprised of Monika on vocals, Stephan on guitars/synthesizers, Ivo on bass and Chris on drums. We got together because we wanted to experiment by blending all kinds of popular genres into one (hopefully) coherent thing. A couple of us knew each other from previous bands, but the lucky break was Monica, which one of us met by accident through a mutual friend. We heard her sing and we decided that that’s gonna be it – guess we’re not having a male singer…

What were you all up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations? All of us have always wanted to be musicians, but not only musicians. For example, Stephan can’t just do one thing, he always needs to have something else that he’s working on - a business plan, a website or an idea, the list is endless... Monica is an actress as much as she is a singer - those two things are forever connected in her mind and she dreams of never having to choose either of them over the other. Chris went to school to study to be an engineer, while Ivo wants to write several books, comic books and screenplays and one day make a movie or two.

Tell us about your latest release and why our readers should check it out.

Our first EP is not out yet. But it will be soon, so don’t despair! It will feature five songs, all of them relea'sed as singles prior to that. We’ve already unveiled two music videos, they’re called '2 Far Gone' and Feel Complete', with three more coming along the way. In order to get you excited for them, let’s say that one of the songs will be a 90’s inspired club song, perfect for shady underground after-midnight parties, another will be a soaring airy lamentation, infused with a hint of darkness, and the third one will be an urgent and dire melodic post-punk stampede that doesn’t let you rest until the very end.

Who would you say is the bands main songwriter or is it a group effort and where do you draw your inspiration lyrically and musically from?

There’s always somebody that starts it all by creating either the outlines of the instrumentation for a song or the lyrics, but once we have that, it becomes a group effort entirely – we take that skeleton of the song and craft around it the meat, the heart and its soul. That process could take anywhere between hours, days and weeks, sometimes even months, but at the end, we always have a song. In regards to the lyrics and music, we believe we’re a very introspective type of band – both the words and the melodies come from somewhere within the respective person that wrote them so, naturally, personal experiences and our emotional responses to them are the main inspiration for our music. That might change with time, but for the moment this is us – drawing from our fears and insecurities to create something better than them.

As a band what do you believe is your greatest achievement to date and why?

Staying together. We think that’s a challenge for each and every band out there. Bands break up all the time for all sorts of reasons - by their own decision or because it’s not possible for them to keep doing what they do anymore. So the biggest challenge and the greatest achievement for any band is to just stay together, regardless of anything, for the music. We’re all very different individuals, each with their own vices and virtues and opinions, but the thing that we always go back to is the music. As long as we do that, everything’s ok.

Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?

There are, literally, a ton of incredible, talented, larger-than-life musicians in the world that we just love and are not going to simply leave us awestruck, but probably render us catatonic! One particularly memorable experience for Stephan was to meet the members of Papa Roach and discover how incredibly down-to-earth they still remain, even after all those years of being famous.

What do you enjoy most about touring?

From what little touring we’ve done (and we mean little, we’re just getting started on that), we’d say we really love the road. Just being on it, existing between two places, but in that moment not being in either of those – it feels kinda timeless and that’s why we love it. Plus, coffee and cigarettes at a highway gas station in the middle of nowhere must be one of the coolest and most relaxing things that ever existed! If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?

Oh, we’re like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get, haha! To be perfectly honest, even we still don’t know what to expect every time we get up on stage. We can tell you for sure that at all times, we’re really deep into it; each of us, experiencing the music in his own, unique way and yet somehow connecting both with the audience and the others on stage. Generally, whatever we could find along the way and whatever excited us, we spliced together and now deliver with a recognizable rock flair – just as an example, you can expect Chris to destroy his drums on the more fast-paced sections, since he gets a real kick out of his little punk moments… So yeah, sometimes it’s unexpected what we’re going to jump in next, but that makes it all the more fun!

If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why? Unanimously and without hesitation – 21 Pilots or Bring Me the Horizon. We think it would be a blast for all four of us to play on the same scene as either of those two bands. We’re all massive 21 Pilots fans and three of us grew up listening to and changing along with Bring Me The Horizon, so it’s basically a no-brainer. We believe we’d match pretty good too – we’re all doing some form of danceable or energetic Electronic Pop-Rock paired with not-so-feel-good lyrics at the centre of it all. You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?

In terms of icons whose music shaped us as human beings, we couldn’t be more different. For example, Ivo would like to meet and speak, even for a little while, with Layne Staley, the former vocalist for Alice In Chains, who he believes must have been one of the kindest and most truthful people in the entire music industry forever. Another such person is Gerard Way, the vocalist for My Chemical Romance, who’d probably be our drummer Chris’ pick; and from the ones that are no longer among us he would also love to meet his all-time favourite drummer and one of the reasons he started playing the drums in the first place – Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan from Avenged Sevenfold. For Monica one hour with Tyler Joseph from 21 pilots could never be enough… and she’d also like to hear some vocal tips from Conor Mason, the vocalist for Nothing But Thieves. And Stephan would love to talk to Liam Howett, Damon Albarn or the guys from Rammstein.

And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie? It is absolutely and categorically a Christmas Movie. Everybody knows that and also that it’s a movie about family… it just happens to feature a lot of guns, blood and explosions as well. In fact, it’s even very close to being our favourite movie about that time of the year, however, if it’d be up to us, nothing beats Batman Returns, which is probably the weirdest and loneliest, creepy and strangely romantic Christmas Movie of all time (and no, The Nightmare Before Christmas doesn’t count, that’s a Halloween Movie!). We just want to say thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Thank you as well, it really was a pleasure! We rarely get to answer such cool, different questions, it’s very refreshing - kinda caught us off guard and we definitely like that!

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