The New Orleans dance-pop duo is proudly and enthusiastically DIY.
When Carly Meyers of Roar! doesn’t have to stay in one place to play a keyboard part, she sings and dances with the easy freedom of someone alone in her room with her favorite records. In conversation, she and bandmate Adam Gertner are similarly enthusiastic, helping each other answer questions and clearly happy to have the rock ’n’ roll adventure and whatever comes with it. They’re big in Tulsa she says, and while that’s not likely the dream that motivated any musicians outside Oklahoma, Roar! is happy because fans in Tulsa and Hot Springs, Arkansas get them.
“Yojimbo was a funk band,” Gertner says. “We were playing a lot of funk clubs. Roar! is definitely more of pop band.”
“We don’t work in the jam scene anymore,” Meyers says. “We’re playing shorter sets, and people are happier. Most people are done after an hour and a half.”
Roar! opens Buku today on the Power Plant Stage at 3 p.m., and the band is a refocused version of what remained of Yojimbo after they parted ways with keyboard player Doc Sharp. Rather than replace him, the duo adapted to his absence and through the power of positive looping, they’ve created synth-driven, high energy grooves that showcase their good-natured selves.
On their video “Cold Hearted Lover,” shot live in the studio:
Gertner: We bought a bunch of GoPros and did it ourselves.
Meyers: We like those KEXP and KCRW sessions, so we went, Let’s do it ourselves.
On recording their album La-Di-Da in Nashville with producer Tim Craven:
Gertner: In Yojimbo, we did two of our three records to tape. We were like, Okay, let’s be done with tape. It’s more time-consuming. When we played Nashville, Tim heard us and said, Your sound is perfect for tape. We did it and we’re so happy with the way it came out.
On their sound change:
Gertner: The first four or five months we toured as Yojimbo as a duo, and then we changed the name. We figured the music’s different and people are having a hard time pronouncing “Yojimbo,” so let’s pick a better name. We decided on Roar! because Carly made a pair of shorts with a mouth that we call the Roar! Shorts.
Meyers: It was the best thing we did. We’re much more of our generation’s music now, interpreting electronic with live instruments.
Gertner: And, it’s the sound we always wanted to be. We went more of the synthesizer route rather than the Fender Rhodes (that Sharp preferred in Yojimbo) with the tube amp. We had a Juno and went, Maybe let’s use that a lot more. I bought an OP-1 and that’s been a saving grace. It has a four-track recorder and sequencer on it and percussion sounds.
Meyers: It was the band!
Gertner: It was the only synthesizer on my end other than the Moog app on my phone.
On being a synth-first band:
Neither of us play guitar. We laugh about that, but maybe that’s what makes us sound the way we do.
We love bands like Little Dragon and Bjork without guitar. It’s like a little breath of fresh air.
On getting heard:
Gertner: There’s something like 170,000 songs are loaded a day on Soundcloud. If you listened to every song uploaded on Soundcloud in one day, it would take two-and-a-half years. How do you get found in all that? Be yourself.
Meyers: Our generation had MTV where we had so much information coming at us at once that we want something authentic and in the moment.