Interview – Robat

Photo by Kassidy Renee Paige

By Rich Horton

You have to like surprises, and when I got a first listen of Robat, I was pleasantly blown away. I usually shy away from things tagged as emo, but this band is wonderful. Complex layers of guitar with intertwined vocals that just grab your soul a bit.

I had to get something up about this band, I want people to give them a listen. It will be well worth your time.

RIFT: How did you come up with the name of the band?

ROBAT:  Robat has been playing together for a few years now but before we called ourselves Robat we went by “Prints”. It was mostly a joke, but considering we hail from Minneapolis and we were tired of explaining the joke to people, we decided to come up with something a bit more self-explanatory. Don’t know that we totally pulled that off with Robat, which we came up with while sitting at a patio. We were talking about robots and bat flew overhead. We have a natural gift for puns and word play. We came up with “Robat” and it just kind of stuck.

RIFT: What’s the process for the band writing songs?

ROBAT: Musically, Robat is largely a collaborative effort. Occasionally Omid, Patrick, or Joe will write a song start to finish but often our songs are born out of jams or someone will bring in a riff or a part and everyone will expand upon it. Lyrically and melodically we write kind of differently. Omid and Alex are the songwriters of the group. We write lyrics and melodies over completed parts and dictate the form we want the songs to have. It kind of turns into a musical puzzle that we piece together with a vibe or an idea.

RIFT: Does anybody in the band have a weird hobby or weird job that you wouldn’t think a musician would have? Feel free to list one or more members.

ROBAT: Don’t know how “weird” we are…but Omid is a bit of a chess fanatic. Obchessed, we say he is. Our drummer Jon owns a bar, which is kinda far out.

In his spare time, Patrick has a pretty impressive modular synth setup. He’ll sit in his living room for hours dinking around with his knobs and buttons. His house sounds like the future.

RIFT: What do you want people to get from your music?

ROBAT: Ideally people will hear our music and go “Woah, I didn’t know music this technical could also be this accessible.” The headiness of our music is not lost on us and we know that not everyone will pick up on that. But in that way, our music can be appreciated on different levels. You can take it at face value and just sing along or you can dig a little deeper and look at the ways the guitars play off one another or analyze how we make odd time signatures feel not so odd. Hopefully, people can appreciate the skill that has gone into this record. But also, we want it stuck in people’s heads even if they don’t care about all that.

RIFT: The album is freshly released, what does Ro Bat’s next year look like.

ROBAT: On March 19th we will be at 7th St Entry for our official release show. We’re doing a limited run of tapes and CDs. For our release show, the tapes will include a comic based on the song “Robat vs Ratking” from the album. Beyond that, we’re hoping to do some touring in the summer, get on some festivals, and continue writing for our next release. We’ve already got an EP on the horizon so write, record, repeat. You know how it goes.

RIFT: If you could give a piece of advice about anything, what would it be?

ROBAT: Ooooh. This is a tough one…

But here goes: Don’t be too precious about your ideas. Limber up your brain and you can often go farther, faster.