EXCLUSIVE: ROBERT SCHWARTZMAN
REFLECTING ON ROONEY’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY AND HIS LATEST CREATIVE ENDEAVORS
by ABIGAIL HOEFLINGER
photos by ZOEY GROSSMAN
When searching for creative inspiration in any and all its forms, look no further than Rooney’s Robert Schwartzman. This year, he celebrates the band’s 20th anniversary. His project began in ’99 with 80s pop-esque tunes that harkened back to the rebellious yet familiar spirit of the British invasion.
In 20 years, their music has evolved in a truly natural way. Never straying away from his roots, Schwartzman’s vocal and guitar playing style has grown naturally, in ways that only come with time. By taking new approaches to production style and instrumentation but recognizing the original ‘Rooney sound’, he’s found a sweet spot between nostalgia and discovery that’s hard to come by.
In recent years, Schwartzman’s vast creative energies have led him out of music and found its way into film. As a feature film director and composer, he’s created a space for himself where his love for music and film can intertwine to create something completely new. With scores for movies like PALO ALTO, and his directorial debut with a feature film, DREAMLAND.
Check out his latest film, THE UNICORN, out now.
As for a new Rooney LP, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Schwartzman talks about the importance of connecting with his audience and understanding how THEY have grown and changed over the years. He approaches his fans and performances with a type of empathy that allows people to connect with him and his music in an authentically human way.
“I just want excite people with new music, and I want people to feel so excited about it that they tell their friends and share it. When people really love something, they tell other people, it’s a natural cycle.”
During Rooney’s hiatus, Schwartzman released material in 2011-2012, made music under new side project, STARSYSTEM, and scored the film PALO ALTO. In the midst of these projects, he still craved the Rooney show experience and felt a call to get back into it.
Finding a way to balance all the endeavors is tricky, he says. The logistical demands alone of creating films, writing music, and touring – not to mention the Herculean creative effort required of each – seems like an impossible task, but Schwartzman makes it look easy.
“It’s hard to carve out time for both and not have them collide. But so far, I’m making time for each creative endeavor and going 110% into them.”
From a young age, Schwartzman’s dream was to direct films and continued to be his main focus, until he discovered music. He eventually came full circle finding a way to work naturally in both spaces. Part of the fun, for him, is building a project brick by brick. Given the oft-neglected-yet-equally-critical aspect of sound in the film experience, the deep knowledge of both music and film allows him to tell stories with unbelievable intention.
“Music and film, film and music, are very connected and dependent on each other so it seems natural to work in both spaces…”
When it comes to musical collaboration, he says “I’d like to work with someone not in my genre so I can be challenged to break old habits and try something new.” He says the same when it comes to film. Schwartzman’s commitment to constant creative exploration and willingness to stretch the boundaries of his own creative vision has proven to be a key ingredient to his success and authenticity.
Robert Schwartzman’s creative catalog doesn’t end with his multiple musical projects, directorial prowess, and original compositions. He’s even started his own label, Beachwood Park, allowing for the complete artistic liberation that comes with autonomy.
“For me, I like to stay independent and make and release music on my terms, so having my own label and place to make music has been incredible healthy for the writing process. It’s kept me active and made it all very fun, not having to please anyone, and to push myself to make the best music I can make”
Schwartzman approaches his art, in all its forms, with a renaissance-like passion. Never painting himself into one box or another and allowing his creativity to remain fluid, ever-changing in a way that reflects the natural pace of life. That outlook has allowed him to remain an authentic artist in an industry that demands conformity.
ON TOUR NOW:
Monday 17 June 2019 / 7th St Entry, Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday 19 June 2019 / Globe Hall, Denver, CO
Thursday 20 June 2019 / Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT
Friday 21 June 2019 / Neurolux, Boise, ID
Saturday 22 June 2019 / Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA
Sunday 23 June 2019 / Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
Tuesday 25 June 2019 / Café du Nord, Swedish-American Hall, San Francisco, CA
Wednesday 26 June 2019 / Lodge Room, Highland Park, CA
Thursday 27 June 2019 / Soda Bar, San Diego, CA
Friday 28 June 2019 / The Parish at House of Blues Anaheim, Anaheim, CA