Rome Ramirez Returns to Showing up at Bars and Singing Songs
The last four years have been a whirlwind for Rome Ramirez, the 24-year-old singer who took on Bradley Nowell's role in Sublime's second incarnation, Sublime With Rome. But catapulting from obscurity to fronting one of the biggest bands ever only made Ramirez hungry for more success and artistic growth.
We checked in with the Huntington Beach res while he was chillin' at home getting ready for a string of solo gigs including one tonight at the Coach House. His first full-length solo album will be released in the coming months.
OC Weekly (Arrissia Owen): So tell us about Get Free. Is it going to be more of what we heard on last year's EP Dedication?
Rome Ramirez: It's a totally different sound with more of an edge. The EP had an overall pop sound to it in songwriting and song construction. It was a little more heartfelt.
When I signed my solo deal, they put me in the machine. I worked with the biggest names, top-notch dogs. It was cool. It was dope. I just got kind of caught up in it. I got pushed into a corner with this album that didn't really sound like me, and that I wasn't exactly excited about. I went away and wrote some new songs, and they loved it.
I have something they want, and as soon as I give that up and do what they want, I am just a vessel with vocal chords. I would just take a side seat. I decided that was all bullshit. When I set out to do this LP, I decided to do it all by myself top to bottom, well with my friend Dave Bassett, who co-wrote and co-produced. It's the pinnacle of all my hard work.
This album's production is super crazy. The songs are influenced by bands like Bow Wow Wow and The Clash with some hip-hop and Kanye West-style production. It's punk with a modern production style. I started recording last June with this sound in mind. The first single, "Terrorista" is about as punk rock as it gets on the album.
Your career has been a bit backwards, starting out in one of the greatest bands ever and playing large arenas and with a lot of stage production. Now you're heading out with a guitar in your hand, playing songs in intimate venues. What are the upsides to that sort of career trajectory?
On these tours I am just showing up at bars and singing songs. It's a very scaled-down performance. But most importantly, it's all mine.
I'm not starting from the very bottom. I have acquired a fan base through Sublime with Rome. And I have acquired my own fan base, too. But essentially a whole audience was passed on to me.