Rosaline is definitely metallic hardcore with a decidedly intellectual touch. Based out of the Windy City, the band has just released their debut for Eulogy Records entitled A Constant North. Sonically and lyrically, the compositions are stunning to experience and instantly memorable. A band with a purpose, we sent over some email questions to learn more about this compelling collective. Answering is Madison Stolzer, who incidentally was once a member of Emarosa. Your destination starts here…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Rosaline, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Madison Stolzer. I’m a guitarist and one of the many vocalists that make up Rosaline. Rosaline has been a band since I was 17 years old, with a small break in between. About four and half years now.
Where is the band from and what is your local music scene like there?
Rosaline didn’t form in a particularly inspiring town. Naperville, Illinois, our original stomping grounds, is the most homogeneous, white bread suburban utopia you could imagine. Going against the grain took an extra effort back then, but a lot of kids were looking for an escape at the time. We tried to help carve that alternative path in a textbook town. A lot of our original relative success came as a result of offering a new identity in a place that really had no alternative culture. Rosaline has been around since we were all young and has grown into a larger musical entity since then. Like all bands, it has evolved and evolved. Now, we all live in Chicago, and I guess it goes without much use trying to describe the overwhelmingly vast music scene here besides its never-ending opportunity and competition.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title A Constant North?
A Constant North as an album isn’t a concept album in the traditional sense of the idea. The title comes from a line in the chorus of one of the songs on the album called A Silver Meridian. The geographic references there and throughout the album are no accidents; I’ve studied geography and physics throughout my career at DePaul University. It has given me artistic and intellectual inspiration, both in the imagery used throughout the album and also in its content; direction, culture, struggle, space and time, conflicts. A Constant North is always there, ya know? The album will always be there; those emotions are pretty much always going to live on. The physical North will always be there. It’s an unshakable goal, it’s a destination, it’s a purpose. Your compass needle may sway from time to time, but at the end of the day you will know where you are headed.
How did you wind up on Eulogy Records?
When the band reformed after our hiatus, we basically just opened a dialogue about music with them. We told them about us, about our vision, our plan for our record, about our goals and our work ethic. After months of talking, we just decided to give it a go. They are cool guys, it’s a small company but it has done some influential stuff. It was cool for me because I was a fan of a lot of the artists that they had put out records from in the past like Evergreen Terrace, Unearth, It Dies Today. We understood that we wouldn’t fit in perfectly with the current label roster, but we like being pioneers.
One of your members was with Emarosa. What was that experience like, and what does he find in Rosaline that he did not find in Emarosa?
That would be me. I played in Emarosa in 2007, shortly after Rosaline went on its hiatus. I toured the country with them for a couple of months, and it was a great experience. I loved the music, the attitudes, the vision. But it started to change. Most of the members wanted to turn the sound of the band around, and that’s exactly what they did. They softened up like a drunk bird. Cool guys and a unique new sound, just not really for me. If you listen to the difference between their original EP and their newer record, the change is massive. I didn’t want to soften up that much. I just came back with a new inspiration to keep it authentic and start Rosaline again. Rosaline still has that edge that I need to be satisfied.
Tell me about the song Culture Wars and were you came up with the ideas for the lyrics.
Culture Wars is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s about the struggle and conflict of those of us that feel different but how we turn around and form patterns that just reinforce those differences. It takes its imagery from a post-urban environment where destroyed values have crushed what it is to be unique. But like all Rosaline songs, we try to make it so that you can listen and feel however you’d like.
Where or what exactly is The New Utah?
I don’t even know how I should answer this to be honest. It’s kind of like New Mexico, only it’s The New Utah. It’s a sequel, it’s a result. You should really just ask Emarosa, although I can assure you they will not want to talk about it. If this is vague and seems to be avoiding the question, well it is.
Have you ever played here in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
Not yet, we’ve all been full time students for the duration of the band mostly, but we’re all graduating college this year and plan to make it there soon. I played at the Knitting Factory with Emarosa though, it was a fun time. I saw Samuel L Jackson.
What is a live Rosaline show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?
It’s kind of like a loud angry college lecture on steroids. Just kidding. It’s passionate, intense, sweaty, loud, fun, and hopefully moving. We’ve never been big jokers; we just play the best we can for you.
What was it like working with Joey Sturgis and what did he contribute to the overall sound on A Constant North?
Joey is the fucking funniest dude alive. He’s honestly as good as he is hyped up to be, he deserves the attention and success he has gotten for his talent. He smokes like 5 packs of basics a day, mostly eats vitamin water and fast food, and sleeps in his cargo pants. He is really meticulous about recording. Him, along with the other producer Joel Wanasek at JTW studios (Joey and Joel work together on projects), understood our vision as well as we could have hoped for. Not that they need it, but I’d highly advocate their services. They mostly just make fun of everything and everyone all day so we fit right in.
Who is the Rosaline the band is named after and why did you chose this particular name or person?
Rosaline is a character from Romeo and Juliet. We chose it when were 17 and in high school. Haha, I don’t know what else to say about it than that, I don’t remember why we chose it. It has evolved into its own identity. But for the record, the correct spelling is “Rosaline” so any other way you may happen to see it, is wrong.
Are you or any other Rosaline members involved with any other bands or projects?
Nope! We are all Rosaline, all the time.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing A Constant North for the very first time?
That everything falls a part in the end but it’s alright because you can run into the open arms of your friends. And sometimes you see patterns where no patterns exist. Your friends are your faith, and once you’re full of life and literature you’ll find you connect. If something is hanging above your head, just throw it to the ground and you’ll find your way because a constant north is on the starboard side. (Or port depending on which you’re facing)
Any final words of wisdom?
“Genre is arbitrary. There are only good and bad songs” – Anonymous musician. (Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Rosaline on Myspace