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Introducing Roe Kapara: Employment Cost and Beyond

Introducing Roe Kapara: Employment Cost and Beyond

Photo Credit: Rachel Briggs

Introducing Roe Kapara: Employment Cost and Beyond

St. Louis born, Los Angeles based musician, Roe Kapara is an artist on the rise, who has seen his fanbase grow to over 260k followers and 4.6M likes on TikTok!  One of his songs Employment Cost has five million streams and counting Spotify.   Imagine a modern swirl of indie, psych, dream pop and alternative rock, and you are only beginning to zero in on the amazing talent of Roe Kapara. Last month he announced his signing to Epitaph Records and is about to release his debut EP entitled I Hope Hell Isn’t Real.  Roe will throwing the ultimate EP release show in LA on April 14th at The Moroccan Lounge! Get your tickets to the hometown show HERE!

Highwire Daze recently interviewed Roe Kapara to find out more about his arrival in Los Angeles just right before the pandemic, his very amazing songs including the massive Spotify numbers of Employment Cost, signing to Epitaph Records, and a whole lot more!  Read on…

First of all, what was it like to arrive in LA from Nashville right before the pandemic, and how did it affect you as an artist?
You know, when I got there, it was great. I was playing lots of live shows. I was opening up for a lot of comedians, which was kind of funny, because I didn’t know how that happened – but it just did. And then right after that, the pandemic hit like you said. So, the way it affected me was it made me realize that I had no online presence at all. I was online all day chronically, because what else were you going to do? I got on Discord, and I hung out with my producer a lot online. He’d come over a lot – just me and him – his name is Sensu. And we would work together making songs, and I would try to promote them online. At first, I had no idea what I was doing at all. I would try to promote my music in the silliest ways possible and none of them were working (laughs). Like four months later, I kind of got a grasp on it – kind of understanding how to show this music to people. And then eventually Employment Cost happened. Employment Cost happened after I quit my job, I got during Covid – which was kind of funny – it was like perfect timing. I quit my job and I was really scared. I was like, “Oh crap, nobody’s listening to my music. Why did I quit my job?” Then it ended up working out.

How did you wind up signing with Epitaph?
My friend Dolo Tonight signed there first. He’s like one of my best friends. And also, even before that I knew about Epitaph, because I used to listen to their artists when I was in middle school and high school – and I always thought the label was really cool. But then the way they reached out, I think Sue emailed me at Epitaph – and I already knew of Sue because of Dolo – and I think I may had already met her before, And I decided to go with them. It just seemed like the best fit.

Photo Credit: Rachel Briggs

Let’s talk about the new song Better Off. Is there any story or concept behind that song – what inspired you?
I was in a very long relationship before college and during college – it was like a high school sweetheart type of deal. And I was always really scared of being by myself. I found it really hard to be just on my own without just having somebody to share the world with. And it didn’t end very well – we were very co-dependent. So, I ended up breaking things off and I was really scared of doing that. But once I was finally on my own, I was like, “Damn, this isn’t so bad” – myself and growing as a person on my own. I mean it hurt, but it was worth it. So, I realized I was just better on my own. That’s kind of what the song is about, I guess.

Let’s talk about your song Everyone’s Dying (Grandma’s Drunk Again). What was the inspiration behind that one?
I went to visit my hometown. I love my hometown – it’s in Chesterfield, Missouri. I really liked it there – I pretty much had a blast the whole time, just because I had such a good friend group to be with. Then going back there to this Midwest town, it just seemed antiquated and a lot of people there seemed to be stuck – and they had never left there or have seen any other city or been anywhere else in the world really. And seeing that, it really does feel like once I took the rose-colored glasses off, this town isn’t so great. It was mostly just me with my friends that made me happy – and going back there is kind of sad. It’s like you become nostalgic of something that really doesn’t exist anymore.Spit

You mentioned Employment Cost earlier. That song has 5 million streams of Spotify. What does number even mean to you?
I don’t know. I guess the streams don’t mean too much. Like when I went to Chicago and New York to play recently, hearing people sing the songs back at me made me want to cry – because people were actually listening. Because lots of times, people will have streams but nobody is actually listening to the music. It’s like really inflated. So when I look at the streams, I guess that’s cool for money so I can live (laughs) – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that people are listening. You never really know unless you go do some live shows. I guess people are listening, so that’s cool! It’s exciting really!

What could one expect from your upcoming live show here in Los Angeles?
This time it’s going to be a full band, because New York and Chicago shows were like an acoustic set. We’re going to do one unreleased song there – like completely hidden away in the vault. We’re just going to show people the song before it’s out live. It’s going to be this super hyped song with various parts inside of it and it just seems like the best song to play live ever – we’re just going to show people the song for the first time, so it’s kind of exciting.

I Hope Hell Isn’t Real by Roe Kapara

If you could open for any artist either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
My Chemical Romance – that seems like a fun time – also it seems like our audiences would vibe too. Also, I just want to meet them. (Laughs) I could say all this other bull shit, but I just want to meet them.

If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Oh wow, I don’t eat a lot of donuts, so I don’t know. I like Boston Cream Pie, but I don’t know if my music is like a Boston Cream Pie. Yeah, I guess that Boston Cream Pie is a good analogy because they taste fantastic – and I guess if my music was a donut, I hope it would taste really good. (Much laughter) There’s no metaphor or deeper meaning to it. If my music was a donut, I hope it’s the best donut – and that’s my favorite donut.

What’s up next for you besides your show in Los Angeles?
There’s an EP coming up which I should plug a little bit. I Hope Hell Isn’t Real is the name of it. Basically, it’s like a story line of this guy that he is reminiscent of the past – he becomes very apathetic and notices that everybody else is becoming apathetic and that the world is kind of not what it used to be. And then he dies in a nuclear fallout and he goes to the afterlife and they decide to bring him back to life. And when he comes back to life, be basically contemplates, “Is life really that important? It seems like there’s a lot out there.” So that’s like the main premise of it. That comes out April 14th I believe. And then I’m working on another EP as well.

And do you have any messages for people who are reading this right now?
Four months ago, I was working at Walgreens and I thought I would never, ever get to where I’m at. I knew my music was really good, but I thought, man, that’s a really big mountain to climb there. But I guess I always did the things I had to. I treated it like I had to do these things. So I think if you always keep doing the things you need to do, and you keep doing it even if you think you’re never going to get to the top of mountain – that’s how to get to the top of the mountain – that’s how you get to the next step. I don’t know if that’s cheesy or not, but that’s a message I would like to put out there for any musicians trying to make it online or trying to build a live audience. Even though you think it’s not possible, you should still keep doing it. As they say, do it scared!

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Roe Kapara on Instagram

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