Performing since the age of four, Rose Cora Perry has done it all. From fronting the rock outfit Anti-Hero to expanding her catalog of original songs as a solo artist, Perry has performed to thousands of fans at numerous festivals and performances.
This fall, Rose Cory Perry & The Truth Untold will release her next project, Onto The Floor. We spent a few minutes with Perry and drummer Tyler Randall to talk about the new album and their chemistry as performers.
Thank you for taking time out for this! How are things going?
Rose: Busy, busy, busy! Between working full-time, coordinating shows for my pre-release tour, playing said shows and trying to get my ducks in a row for a fall video release, it’s been a crazy time. But I’m doing what I love and am thrilled to be sharing it with my bandmate Tyler. He’s been tremendously supportive as both a bandmate and a friend and I’m excited for what the future has in store.
Please tell me a little about yourself.
Rose: I am a Canadian singer/songwriter who is gearing up to release her sophomore solo album this fall. I’ve also dabbled in photography modeling and broadcast/print journalism. I’m a proud vegan, straightedge and DIY-er.
Tyler: I have been drumming for about 12 years or so. I also moonlight as a guitarist and bassist when the need presents itself. I have been in several bands over the years, either pounding the skins or slapping the bass. Like Rose, I too am vegan and straightedge.
How did the original idea for your solo album change over time?
Rose: Originally, I had intended for Onto The Floor to be an acoustic record similar in style to Off Of The Pages (my debut solo album); albeit with studio polish.
Because my producer and I took several years to complete the record – partly due to a personal injury which prevented me from playing guitar for some time, partly due to the daily grind, and partly due to extraneous factors outside of our control – the concept of the album changed dramatically. But I definitely feel it’s for the better. The music really had a chance to breathe and evolve and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
Just as I was finishing up the recording, my favorite band of all time – Veruca Salt – reunited and I had the chance to meet with them in person at a Toronto concert. This fated meeting reunited me with my love for distorted guitars and so while we had thought the album was complete, we gave it a further reworking to add a bit more rock to the mix.
I was very privileged to work with Ariel Kasler who co-arranged all of the piano parts with me. He’s tremendously talented and I love the sensibility and emotion he contributed to the album. Ariel also put me in touch with Ted Peacock who performed the drums for the record. Between myself, my producer Ryan McNevin, Ariel and Ted, we did everything. A small team for what became a rather epic project.
I’m really excited to release it this fall and hope that it resonates with people.
How did you and Tyler find each other?
Rose: After putting the final final touches on Onto The Floor, I was having a discussion with my mastering engineer, Roger Lian, about the complexities of the songs and how I could pull them off live. I contemplated performing to instrumental backing tracks but that’s not really seen in the rock world and neither him nor I were sure how that would go over.
Roger suggested I attempt to assemble a band. I was pretty opposed to the idea – not gonna lie – given the traumatic breakups of my past projects, but I knew Roger was right. I did need back up this time around.
Originally I had intended to tour with a three piece as I’ve always loved the punk rock aesthetic of trios, but as it turns out, Sticks (Tyler) and I seem to go over quite well as a duo and so decided to White Stripes-it, so to speak.
Tyler: Put more succinctly than Rose: I responded to a musician wanted ad posted by Rose on Facebook.
What has it been like re-creating your catalog of songs into rock arrangements for playing live? Obviously you two work well together – did the musical connection happen quickly?
Rose: I definitely think the musical connection was pretty much a given from the first moment we played together. I remember after I auditioned Tyler thinking, “Damn I hope he likes me because he’s freaking amazing and totally gets my music.” We jammed through “For What It’s Worth” and “Don’t” together at our initial meeting and I loved his contributions and creativity. But he was super shy so I didn’t quite know what he was thinking. Following the audition, I may or may not have harassed him with a couple of messages, indicating I would be pretty stoked if he joined my project. Within a few days, he said he was in. The fact that we are both obsessed with Fresh – an amazing vegan restaurant in Toronto – helped with our “bonding” too.
Tyler: I would say the connection happened the first time we practiced, we kind of “get” each other. It’s scary yet liberating at times… kind of like puberty.
Who are your musical influences? Was there a particular artist that had more of an impact?
Rose: My favorite band of all time is Veruca Salt. Nina and Louise – now that’s a songwriting match made in heaven. I also adore Alanis, Chris Cornell and pretty much everything related to the 90s grunge era. You can also catch my stereo blaring classic rock greats like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and AC/DC and – when the mood strikes – a little Norah Jones, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
From a business savvy stance, I think every female musician owes props to Madge. She is the undisputed Queen and she has paved the way for other self-made women. From a songwriting and rock vocal stance, Alanis Alanis Alanis. I love my fellow Canadian wildfire. Jagged Little Pill was pretty much my soundtrack for the greater part of my formative years.
Tyler: Weird as it sounds, my musical influences are mostly metal. Two particular artists that have had an impact on me are Jani Stefanovic and Ole Borud.
What inspires you as an artist?
Rose: Life. Love. Hate. The music of my fellow artists.
Tyler: Being in different moods or seeing/hearing awesome musicians/bands perform, nature and being outside.
Do you write music around lyrics, does the music inspire lyrics – or a little of both?
Rose: The tune usually comes into my head first – a simple melody for a chorus or a verse. Often times too, with the first little bit of melody I hear a couple of words that just work. I then sit down with my guitar and try and map out the song’s structure. I do it all in one go.
I definitely have to be in a certain state of mind to write though. I’ve never been one who can simply sit down and put pen to paper. It has to come to me through some sort of divine intervention. I have months of dry spells where I write nothing and then all of a sudden, I’m bursting with musicality.
Tyler: Although I didn’t take part in the writing process with Rose on the album, I typically write vocal melodies over music. I have yet to try my hand at writing lyrics at this point but we’ll see what the future brings.
Tyler, what part of working with Rose sealed the deal to join her band?
Tyler: I discovered she is a great person to work with and she is passionate about what she does just as I am.
There are some heavy topics covered in your material, from bullying to overcoming depression and an eating disorder. Does your music also serve as a form of therapy, allowing you to be so personal?
Rose: It absolutely does and hopefully not just for me but also for my listeners. I think it goes without saying that songwriting serves as a personal form of catharsis for any artist but one also hopes that by sharing their story with others, it allows them to overcome similar difficulties through the power of connection and shared experience.
I’m definitely heavy-handed when it comes to my lyrics. That’s not to say that I don’t also have a couple of cheesy love songs on the new record too. I do. But I guess I’ve just found greater inspiration in taking something dark and turning it into something beautiful: showing hope can spring from devastation.
Is it a challenge to play and perform songs that are so personal – and Tyler, how important was it to know the story about each song when it came time to re-imagine them for a live setting?
Rose: It can be at times as I get pretty into the moment when I’m on stage – especially if the audience is reacting strongly. However – though a number of my songs sprung from darker emotions – I found resolve in writing them so performing them doesn’t quite take me back to that place.
In general, I’m a pretty self-disclosing person. Good or bad, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of my personal journey. I share it – I share my songs – because I hope to help others by doing so.
Tyler: Honestly, I arranged the drum parts by feel and what sounded right. Rose had some input as well – she likes certain guitar parts to be enhanced by what’s going on rhythmically. There were really only a few times we disagreed on arrangements throughout the process. Like I said, we seem to “get” each other.
What are your thoughts on how new music is promoted now?
Rose: In a word, “ridiculous!” In no way does one’s social media following dictate a) their record sales or b) how many people they’re playing to on average and yet in order to get booked anywhere, you need to be “impressive” online.
I’m old school. For me, it’s about working hard and taking the grassroots approach. I’d much rather invest my energies into making genuine connections with people LIVE and practicing so that we put on solid performances.
It’s also insanely competitive now in a way it never has been before. Not only do we have technologies that can make up for any lack of musicality, but anyone can go on YouTube and irrespective of the quality of content become “famous”.
None of this is to say that I haven’t made some real connections online, but sadly I often times find that people are only superficially tuned in when they’re wired.
Tyler: I like it in some regards. It’s awesome that the internet makes things so easy to promote and discover music. It has the ability to open your music up to a whole new audience to which you probably would not have had a chance to connect with before. But as Rose mentioned, it’s also very competitive and easy to get buried in the mix.
Has it been easy to stay motivated as you’ve grown your music career?
Rose: NOOOOOOO!!! It’s been gut wrenching and heartbreaking at times. If I didn’t truly love music, I would’ve given up a long time ago.
You have to fight for everything. What makes it worthwhile are the moments on stage where you connect with people. That’s why you do it. That’s why we all do it.
Tyler: Not that easy. Sometimes life gets in the way or you just lose that fire. But fortunately motivation does make an appearance once in a while – and at the moments that matter.
What has been the most exciting part about your career so far?
Rose: I hope the best is yet to come! I’m beyond grateful for the amazing opportunities I’ve had to play industry events like CMW, NXNE and Warped Tour.
Tyler: Playing shows with Rose and doing a small East Coast tour with another band last year.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
Rose: That there’s someone out there that “gets” them, that understands what they’ve gone through/what they’re going through and that is there to share the experience with them through the universal language of music.
Tyler: To be inspired, and just enjoy the experience.
What was the first album you bought with your own money growing up?
Rose: The Killjoys, Gimme Five
Tyler: I can’t actually remember, probably Weird Al Yankovic or something like Our Lady Peace.
Who was your first concert?
Rose: Stratford Ontario-based celtic harpist and singer Loreena McKennitt
Tyler: Weird Al Yankovic takes it again!
Thank you all again! What would you like to say to wrap things up?
Tyler: I hope people can make it out to our shows as we try to put on a good spectacle. Plus the music is pretty rad as well! I hope to see you out there! Come say hi if you do!