Rose Droll avoids trying to describe her music to people. “If I’m asked, I usually just go with normal,” she admits.
Upon its release in late 2017, Droll’s latest EP (titled Photograph) was labeled by music blogs as “haunting” and “dark.”
While her sound may neither be “normal” nor as haunting as described, it’s definitely not easy to pin down. Rose’s vocal style is subdued yet expressive. Her lyrics are thoughtful and have wistful undertones, but they’re paired with light and often catchy vocal harmonies.
Last year, Rose released a series of older bedroom recordings from 2011 that are a bit more lo-fi but still deeply satisfying:
We recently exchanged messages and she shared some background on her inspirations and influences:
When did you start making music?
In the womb. My mom was like “what’s that racket in there!??”
What did you listen to growing up? Who are some of your big influences?
Growing up, it was just like musical soundtracks and church music. When I was in junior high, I listened to Chopin and Sinatra, stuff like that. In high school I got into Elliott Smith, Sigur Ros and Radiohead, and that was all I listened to for an unhealthily long time. Big influences are Elliott Smith, The Books, Thelonious Monk.
I read somewhere that you reportedly have thousands of demos from over the years. Is this true? Any plans to release more of them over time?
Damn ya, that’s true. I write a lot, and I like to record them all if I can, so it’s left me with kind of a big pile. They were all written without releasing in mind, cause I was against that for so many years, but now that I’ve begun looking at them from the perspective of potential releases, it seems like a good idea to me now. I’m interested in working on and releasing as many of them as I can over time.
What inspires you to write so much? Do you just draw from everyday experiences, or are there certain things/moments that have played a pivotal role in your creative process?
I don’t know what inspires me to write so much. I just like it, and I draw from anything, really. I’m drawn to deeper subject matters, but they originate from both every day experiences and certain moments equally. There are definitely certain moments that play a more pivotal role, though— the experience of falling out of Christianity is a big one, and there’s a couple others that affected me in such a manner that I find myself able to draw from them to no end because I never really stop thinking about them.
Is there a story behind the cover photo on your latest release, Photograph?
Yeah, it’s just a picture I found of my parents in Tahoe from before I was born. I intended to have a different piece for the cover art, but I saw that picture and was like, “Damn, I gotta use that.” So I was like “Mom can I use it?” and she goes, “Crikies! That’s the worst picture! I was hungover on chocolates that day!” which only solidified my decision to for sure 100% use that photo as the cover.
Are you planning a tour sometime in the future or just doing regional shows at the moment? Do you like to play solo or with a band?
No tour planned, just playing around the Bay. I like playing with a band cause it’s cooler, but solo is cool too because I can play all my boring songs and no one can say anything about it.
What’s the music scene in SF like? Can you give a shout-out an SF artist we should know about?
The music scene out here seems to be less dimensional and serious than I prefer. But yes— shout out to Boy Scouts! I may or may not be in that band.. but Taylor is one of my favorite writers for vocal melodies and harmonies. She’s the reason I started writing vocal harmonies in the first place. I hated harmonies before I heard how she did it. Other shout out to the incredible Dick Stusso of Oakland.
Could you share an album you’ve really enjoying lately?
The Measured Mile by sundog. Very strangely moving. I missed several train stops listening to his record one day and found myself so far away from where I was trying to go. I assume those songs would make anyone miss a few train stops.