INTERVIEW: THE ROSIE VARELA PROJECT
Updated: Jan 10
The Rosie Varela Project leans on the experimental. Rosie and her highly strung band delve into the world of shoegaze, indie, rock and everything in between, in what feels like a real avant-pop band that show no boundaries or genre definition. They have just released their highly anticipated and explorative debut album 'What Remains', perfectly showcasing the bands unique and progressive sonic direction.
They now share new single 'What You Want' featuring Who Is Raphael Leraux, which goes into their usual sphere with a hip-hop influence embedded in there too. We sat down with Rosie and the group to learn what makes them tick, their process in making this track which took them down a slightly different route and much, much more exclusively for FLEX:
Your new single ‘What You Want’ with Raphael Leraux is out now, how are you feeling about it?
Rosie: The fun thing about doing experimental collaborations is that getting to the finish line is a win-win for everybody. The way we were able to meld all of our styles - Raheem Bosworth (Who Is Raphael Leraux), Ross Ingram, Sebastian Estrada, and myself - feels great.
Your sound seems to cross the boundaries between dark pop and indie electronic, was this the aim?
Rosie: Sometimes when you write a song that is synth-based, you create a foundational color palette of sound. What was interesting about this song is every layer that was added contributed another layer of color. Sometimes you don't know if you're going to wind up with a palette that becomes dark or enhances light, but in this case, it felt like a combination of light and dark. I mentioned to Ross during mixing that listening to the song reminded me of surrealistic paintings of a foggy London or a rainy New Orleans and the imagery was always set at night.
How have you developed your sound over the course of 2022?
Rosie: The main thing that has happened in 2022 is that with finishing and releasing my solo album, 'What Remains,' I felt a great sense of relief and the freedom to explore and fuse different genres and sounds. Who Is Raphael Leraux was a great match for me because he is a rap/hip hop artist who really thinks outside the box. His own current work is exploring different kinds of pop through his verses, especially J-pop. I hope to work with him again in the future because it was a lot of fun to hear his ideas and to witness him performing great verses.
‘What You Want’ is hauntingly spellbinding, when did you reach out to Raphael to add his dynamic to the song?
Rosie: I reached out in 2021 and we really started working together in early 2022 around the time that I was wrapping up 'What Remains.' He really surprised me on the first day of tracking because his verses completely captured the idea that I was going for, which was how our own desires can alienate us from our real needs.
Stream 'What You Want' in full here:
The hip-hop implementation in the song is so unexpected but it’s brilliant! Whose idea was it initially for this different sonic direction?
Rosie: The original hip hop/trip hop-sounding synth rhythms and synth percussion was a soundscape I had made about six years ago. I had tried to record it before and just wasn't happy with the way it sounded. So, when Ross and Seb and Raheem and I started working on it, we didn't have a plan - everyone just played something they thought was in their sphere of influences that would work. On top of my original hip hop rhythms, I actually added a very dreamy synth part. To that, Ross played a fantastic EBow electric guitar part, which had heavy delay and he manipulated it in Pro Tools to have a melodica-like sound. Seb added a very groovy bassline that tied it all together.
What’s next for Rosie Varela Project in 2023?
Rosie: 2023 is the year that I'm recording the second RVP album and for release in 2024. I hope to release a couple of RVP singles while I'm working on the album. I'm also working on my band EEP's third album, which will release in Fall 2023. I'm feeling really good about the ways I'm learning more about recording and production and I'm thrilled that I'm exploring really new and different sounds with my bandmates.
Also listen on Bandcamp here: