Interview with Rockstead
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
[Jake B.] My parents took me to a lot of concerts at a young age. That is definitely what started the mindset of wanting to be in a band. Even before that they had me in piano lessons so I was learning to play music pretty early on. If I wasn't playing music though I'd probably be doing some kind of work in the outdoor recreation industry. I love hiking, rafting, kayaking, climbing and anything else that involves being active and outside.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
[Jake B.] Going back to that last question, I love any type of outdoor activity. Especially ones that get my adrenaline pumping. It's a great way for me to escape from the fast paced busy lifestyle that everyone seems to have these days (myself included). Being outside away from everything helps me clear my head and think about the important things.
How long has music been your career?
[Jake B.] That's a hard question to answer. Even to this day with the band touring and playing lots of shows I still have a few side jobs. If career means making money playing music then it started when I was like 16 years old. I had a band gigging in high school, I played tons of solo gigs and leading into college is when we first started playing real venues and traveling to do shows. So the answer is a long time.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
[Jake B.] The band originated in Cincinnati, OH. We still consider it our hometown even though we have members that live all over the place. Most people probably think it's weird that a rock/reggae band was formed in rural landlocked Ohio but we made it happen. With that being said, we have a lot of songs about leaving and traveling so I guess Ohio was good for that!
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
[Jake B.] Best show so far was opening up for The Wailers at Bogart's in Cincinnati. Bogart's is a pretty legendary venue in that city. Somewhere I had been seeing shows since I was about 15. And then to play with an even more legendary band to an almost sold out crowd, that shit was epic.
As far as worst shows, there are too many to just pick one. Some of the worst in my opinion are when the venue has bad electricity and the microphone shocks you every time you touch it with your lips. This has happened on MANY occasions.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
[Jake B.] I'd have to say Bogart's only because of the sentimental value it holds in my heart. Like I said, I've been seeing shows there since I was a kid and to be on that stage is a dream come true. As far as places I want to play, Red Rocks for sure. As do most musicians.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
[Jake B.] Incubus. Hands down.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
[Jake B.] Practice. Practice. Practice. You can never practice enough. I still don't practice enough. And also, don't be scared to be vulnerable. Try things that are outside of your comfort zone and don't put too much worry into what other people think about that.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
[Jake B] Commit to your music career earlier! I was playing music a lot in college but I didn't work at it like it was a career opportunity. It wasn't until my mid/late 20's did I really buckle down and start taking things seriously.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
[Jake B.] If we're talking about music that has been released, Let The Moon Glow definitely means the most to me. I wrote that song at a low point in my life after I made a few bad decisions and a lot of things were changing for me. I wrote that song more for myself than anyone else but even to this day I've had conversations with fans after shows about how that song has helped them through their own life problems. I still listen to this song when I feel the need to and knowing that it's helping other people get through their hardships is all I ever really want out of this musical journey of mine.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
[Jake B.] Our song Dance Jam is one of my favorites to play. It gets people moving and I get a guitar solo in that one. The most requested though is probably our song Costa Rica. People love that tune.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
[Jake B.] My creative process usually starts with some kind of chord progression. I work out some music on guitar and then try and think of a topic that fits the vibe of the music. From there I whip up some words and the rest fall into place. My inspiration mostly comes from things that are happening in my life. Good things. Bad things. Happiness. Sadness. Travel. Love.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
[Jake B.] A lot of songs that I pump out revolve around love and inspiring people to follow their own path. I like songs that make people feel good and think a little bit.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
[Jake B.] Yes. This band is pretty tame though and we're usually able to talk things out. We will either find a compromise and combine ideas or if it comes down to it we simply vote on it and keep on trucking. Yay democracy!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
[Jake B.] We've got big plans for the future! We're looking to be touring in parts of the country that we've never played before. We have a new album that is locked and loaded with one of our first singles coming out at the end of the month (August 2022) and many more new songs to be released after that. Definitely some of our best work yet and we're very excited to get it out there.
[Video]: "West Coast" Official Music Video
[Video]: "Dance Jam" Official Music Video
[Video]: "Distractions" Official Lyric Video
The feeling of love. The power of unity. The essence of happiness. The strength of togetherness and positive vibrations. The highs of living life and the lows of dealing with its obstacles. All of these things encapsulate the music of Cincinnati, OH-based Rockstead, a five-piece, passion-driven rock/reggae group.
With roots leading as far back as middle school, Rockstead combines a lifetime full of influences ranging from rock, punk, reggae, jam and metal. In their early days Rockstead ruled the college party scene in Ohio with a schedule full of impromptu house shows that led to packed basements of DIY venues and later, massive crowds attending college fests such as Ohio University’s infamous spring festivals. This early success catalyzed the debut of their first album “Wake Up and Live” (2013) shortly followed by their popular self-recorded “Rise” EP (2014). These releases ignited their inner road warrior leading to a plethora of plays at music festivals and concert venues across the Midwest. Since then, Rockstead continues to widen their reach touring throughout the Eastern U.S. and down into Florida.
Though member changes have occurred over the years, frontman singer/guitarist Jake Burns continues to drive the group forward as they have shared stages with international touring acts such as The Wailers (Jamaica), Sticky Fingers (Australia) and Big Mountain (U.S.A.) as well as many staple East coast reggae acts like Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Badfish, Tropidelic, Bumpin’ Uglies and Ballyhoo!. The band has now grown to include Nate Anuci (drums) and Jacob Riley (lead guitar). With a healthy gap since their last full release (Homegrown, 2016) Rockstead dropped their first studio album “You’re In Control” in September 2020 which scored them multiple features in blogs and podcasts across the scene making them “one of the most unique and special bands in [Cincinnati]” (CincyMusic, 2020)
By using their relentless high-energy performances and genre-bending setlists, while aligning their unwavering dedication to the do-it-yourself work ethic, Rockstead shows no sign of slowing down their mission of bringing people together through music.