Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Tampa’s indie alternative rock outlet Rohna. Together we discussed their formation, their songwriting process, their first album “The Beautiful Ordinary”, and so much more! Check it out below!
1. Hello! Mustard thanks Rohna for being here! How is everyone?
Hello Mustard! We are all happy and healthy. Thank you for asking!
2. You’re high school friends who never lost touch and formed Rohna. Who met who first? Initial impressions? When did the idea to form a band come to mind?
So just as the universe works in strange ways, we all met each other separately on different occasions. I (Andres- bass) first met Nick (guitar and vocals) my freshman year of high school when he was still in 8th grade. A drummer friend of mine needed a bass player to fill in for their band so I showed up at their practice and Nick was there playing guitar. My initial impression was that he played with a lot of passion and was very open-minded to trying different ideas. We remained friends but didn’t play music together again for another year or so.
Austin (guitar) and I first met when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore in high school. We met in our biology 1 class and my initial impression was that he was kinda goofy but really nice. We remained acquaintances, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later that we actually became friends.
Luca (drums) came into our high school when I was a junior, Austin was a senior, and Nick was a sophomore. Nick and Luca first met through some mutual friends and bonded over similar music tastes.
That same year Nick and Austin became friends by meeting at one of my band’s local shows at a local venue. They then started jamming together as Austin had just begun to learn guitar and was becoming more passionate about writing music. Nick then invited me to jam with them and we began to build up our musical chemistry together.
Nick, Austin, and I then formed a band that we played in together through the rest of high school. Luca was always around as a close friend and then later joined the band when our drummer quit. After some time, that band fizzled out and in 2018 we began writing music between the four of us and decided to form Rohna in 2019.
3. What is your songwriting process? How does a Rohna song come together?
Our songwriting process is a very natural and collaborative progression that begins with one of us presenting an idea that excites the rest of us. Sometimes it takes form with one person showing everyone a riff at practice and sometimes it evolves from one person presenting a fully recorded demo. Whichever state that the idea is presented in, it always gets input from every band member and will evolve through different renditions until it becomes the final version of the recording.
With our newest music, we had the chance to write close to 20 demos that we then narrowed down to 15 songs. We re-recorded each of those as live demos and brought them to our friend and producer Austin Coupe. He then helped us narrow those 15 down to 13 of the best songs. We took those 13 songs and did pre-production, where he helped us evolve the songs into their best possible versions. After the pre-pro was complete we then recorded the final versions.
4. Who (or what) influences Rohna?
Rohna is influenced by a lot of different things. Our lyrical content is influenced by our different experiences and perspectives on life. Our music is influenced by so many different styles of rock music that it tends to lead us into blending all of them into our own style. Musically we take a lot of influence from different indie rock, psych rock, emo rock, and hardcore punk rock bands, but we are also inspired by different Jazz, HipHop, and pop artists.
5. You’ve opened for some incredible bands on both the national and international level. Do you have a favorite show? Venue? What have you learned from performing for both a domestic and international audience?
I think we just played our favorite opening show this past Saturday. We opened for Flipturn at our all-time favorite venue, Crowbar, in Tampa. Flipturn is a Florida band that has reached a national level so to be able to open for them was really a big goal of ours. The fact that they were all super nice and their fanbase and our fanbase was able to intermingle perfectly made for an incredible night and an awesome show.
We also recently opened for Palace who is from the UK and is also a huge band. They were the nicest dudes and we were able to chat with them and get to know them a little bit after the show which was super cool. That show was also at a bucket list venue of ours called The Social in Orlando.
6. Mustard wonders what Rohna thinks of Publix. What are some spots you recommend humans check out while in Tampa?
Rohna thinks Publix is great and is frequently visited for their famous Pub subs. Some food spots I would recommend checking out in Tampa are Bagels Plus, Cappy’s Pizza, Taco Dirty, Nico’s Arepas, Due Amici, The Bricks, and Sundays.
7. In January of 2020 you released your first album “The Beautiful Ordinary.” Could you share more about what inspired both the album and the name?
The album was inspired by many writing sessions that the four of us had throughout 2018 before we even decided on the band name Rohna. We didn’t really have a set goal except for the fact that we knew we wanted to write an album and record it. We quickly realized that the four of us had really good chemistry and we were able to write all of those songs naturally. It was really a blend of all our inspirations and musical abilities at the time.
The name “The Beautiful Ordinary” was inspired by a psychologist that I was listening to who was speaking about the concept of being in a flow state. He was talking about how in order to be in a flow state you have to be mentally present and in a neutral emotional state. He talked about how some of the most beautiful aspects of life are the most ordinary ones, but they are often overlooked due to distractions in life that come from different highs and lows. That really resonated with me and felt like a fitting name for the album, due to the fact that it came from different highs and lows that we were experiencing, yet the outcome was a reminder to appreciate and enjoy the beauty in the ordinary things of life.
8. How can humans find more beauty in the ordinary? How does Rohna practice this?
I think humans can find more beauty in the ordinary by giving themselves the time to slow down every now and then. Not only does it require slowing down, but it takes living without judgment to really see the true beauty in the ordinary aspects of life. As individuals, we each have our own ways of doing this, but as a band, I think we do this when we have improv jams. Whenever we take the time to improv jam with each other it really allows us to enjoy the beauty in some ordinary musical moments that often never get played again.
9. You inspire positivity and have cultivated a welcoming community. What are some ways you like to engage with the community?
We engage with our community in a lot of ways. In person, we like to hang out and talk with people at our own shows and at other local shows that we attend. We always try to hang out at the merch table as well so that we can talk to fans and other showgoers. We often go to other local bands’ shows to support our local music scene and community.
Online we engage with our community by following back a lot of the fans that we make at shows. We also try our best to respond to every single message and comment. Rather than our social media being a “look at me” type of approach, we like to use it to actually engage with our fans and show our appreciation for their support.
10. Mustard digs the vibes on your latest release “All Around.” Will these songs act as singles or be a part of a future EP or album?
Thank you, Mustard! We are glad you dig it!
We have not officially announced it yet, but these two singles are part of a two-volume album that we are releasing over the course of this year and next year. The album is being split into two EPs that will each have singles leading up to each release. More announcements on that soon, but this is our way to be able to release a large body of music over a longer period of time, rather than dropping another album all at once.
11. Do you have any upcoming shows?
We do! We have some shows this August in Tallahassee, Orlando, and Tampa with the wonderful band Hotel Fiction. We are also playing a super exciting music festival in Gainesville called Playground Fest, which features Flipturn, Lunar Vacation, Hotel Fiction, The Hails, Cannibal Kids, and many more. We are also working on a pretty big fall tour.
12. Where can readers listen to your music?
Readers can listen to our music on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and anywhere else music is streamed.