Rolo Tomassi set to premiere new stripped-back tracks at Tramlines

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Mercurial Sheffield band Rolo Tomassi will premiere material that’s never been heard before at Tramlines next week.

The band’s latest album, Astraea, was a critically-acclaimed knock-out but now Rolo Tomassi are writing material for their yet-to-be-entitled fifth album, which marks a new approach to songwriting, as James Spence, keys player, explains.

“I think the next album will be a natural progression from the last album. It will be darker-sounding though it’s hard to say how, it’s just how the songs have come out so far.”

Instead of writing the band’s material on synths, as he has in the past, Spence is writing on the piano for this next album.

“We’re always experimenting with different sounds. We’ve captured the high-octane stuff, but for this album we’ll be stripping it back. Writing on the piano allows you to concentrate on the very essence of the sound you want to create and if something sounds good on piano then chances are it will sound good when you put it with a full band.”

And while Rolo Tomassi are known for their ‘mathrock’, strange time signatures and screeching, their material is produced after unprecedented consideration.

“We put so much thought into everything we do. We push ourselves a great deal.”

Musically the next album will take a very different turn to the likes of Astraea and Cosmology.

“This next album will be also be different because we have a new drummer who plays other instruments as well.

“He’s also able to be critical of what we’re doing and that’s been really good for us.”

“Much of what I’m doing at the moment is influenced by contemporary classical music. I’ve been listening to a musician called Nils Frahm. It’s hard to explain what I’m doing with the classical influences but I know what I’m doing.”

But while all the songs on the album will be written on piano, there is no conceptual thread linking them together.

“We’re not intending for it to be a concept album but sometimes the concept comes out when Eva writes the lyrics.”

The new album will be released much later in the year. But Rolo Tomassi intend to road test the material at Tramlines.

“It’s not been heard before, so it will be interesting for us,” says Spence.

Rolo Tomassi play as part of Tramlines at Corporation on July 27.