Interview with The Burning of Rome’s Adam Traub

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The Burning of Rome’s With Us is an album that intrigued me on so many levels. There are bands who make music for fun, bands that make music for the chicks, bands that make music for the money, and bands who make music because it comes out of every pore. The Burning of Rome falls into the latter category. I recently had the opportunity to ask Burning of Rome’s Adam Traub a few questions about his inspiration, creative process, and Joe Strummer.

What attracted you to music as your outlet for your misfit creativity? 
Music has been a default rather than a choice, it’s instinct. The only way I’ve been able to cope with reality has been through sound — for some it’s painting, for others pen and storytelling, some choose religion, some destruction, I found my salvation in music.
You started out in a punk band, yet musically The Burning of Rome is a departure from that style. What music/bands lead to your musical discovery, growth, and expansion? Do your punk rock roots still influence the music or performance? 

 I don’t necessarily think of the Burning of Rome as a departure from punk rock, it’s an extension of it — similar to what Fugazi did stemming from the roots of Minor Threat. The spirit is still omnipresent in the music though the style has changed. We still adore influences like the Minutemen, Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys though we chose not to showcase our music in the same style. It is still punk at it’s core, just wrapped in a flashy coat.

Why did you create this band and why do you record music and tour?
To survive — as I mentioned before, this project is not a premeditated concept, it’s instinct. So much as breathing, eating, fucking, etc. the Burning of Rome is why I am alive and it propels my life through the ability to tour, record and dispel our sound to anyone that has never heard it before.
How has the current lineup of The Burning of Rome changed or enhanced your vision/music? 
The live rendition of the Burning of Rome is myself, Joe Aguilar, Aimee Jacobs and Lee Williams and couldn’t be achieved with anyone else. They are the musicians that performed the new album With Us and they are the soul and lifeblood of the Burning of Rome.
I have read comments that this generation doesn’t have a Joe Strummer to rally behind. Do you strive to become that sort of figure with The Burning of Rome?
Joe Strummer was his own being and I would never want to infringe on that. I think we share(d) a lot of the same philosophy on society, governmen

t and how individuals should engage with both, but my message isn’t identical to his. I do feel that both of our bands were/are a banner for those in society with quelled voices, however our flag flies for a different generation battling different circumstances. The Berlin Wall has fallen, but the LA skyline in my backyard is still lined with banks that are evicting my friends from their homes. I will do everything I can to destroy those that are destroying the lives of my friends who are defenseless against the tyranny of wealth that is tearing their lives apart.

 

How has it felt to have gotten such a warm and accepting welcome from fans and critics alike? Is it great to get the message out there or do you wish there was a little more adversity to rally against?
I appreciate the acclaim our new album has been getting and feel a great deal of camaraderie between us and the fans that are receiving it well. As for wanting more adversity to rally against, that’s like asking FDR if he wished there were more Nazis to prove the value of democracy. No, I do not wish for more to fight against, I wish for less. I wish for peace, through music. As the album title suggests, if you feel anything from this record you are With Us and if you don’t… Yaweh help you.
Where do you draw inspiration from or what gets you really excited to create?
Stream of consciousness, that is how I write. I don’t ever pick a specific topic and choose to write about it, it comes involuntarily. It may manifest itself through something political, surreal or nonsensical, but never premeditated. I don’t write songs with intention, I can’t look at a painting and choose to write a song about it — either it hits me from the ether or there’s nothing at all.
Is The Burning of Rome as much about the stage performance as it is about the songs?
The stage performance goes hand-in-hand with the songs as that’s the whole purpose of the stage performance… to perform the songs.
First album/tape/cd you ever owned? 
Heart – Little Queen
There are kids discovering music every day, what bands should they be listening to?
Nekrogoblikon, Crystal Antlers, Maps and Atlases, The Octopus Project, Stereolab, Los Campesinos, Red Fang, Red Light Sting, Thee Oh Sees, Devo, Brian Eno and Wendy Carlos.
Favorite book?
Dalton Trumbo – Johnny Got His Gun
Describe the band in 5 words
Acapella termite choir eats orchestra.

 

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