Friday, 17 October 2014

Static In Verona Q&A

Your name:
Rob Merz.

Where are you from:
Chicago, IL.

Name of band: 
Static in Verona.

Who else is in your band?  
I do everything in the band - from playing all the instruments and singing to producing, mixing and mastering all the recordings. I even do all the album art, web design and promotion. After being in several bands, it’s nice to not have a committee telling you what to do.

How would you describe yourself?
A recent review very eloquently described it as: “Dreamy power pop weaving around an eclectic mixture of experimental, electronic and rock, as sound bursts with creativity and intrigue.” 
The music I strive to make is always based around catchy pop songs, but with elements of experimental, electronic and ambience surrounding them. I love strong harmonies and melodies, but also love a wall of sound.

Who are your main influences musically?
I listen to many types of music (rock, pop, jazz, classical) and I like to think I draw influence from all of it. I love artists like Beck who can really do any genre of music, but ultimately it still sounds like a Beck song.

What do you hope to achieve in music?
To get as many people to hear my music as possible by any means necessary. Whether they buy it, stream it, burn it or download it. I just love people listening to it.

What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
My latest album, Everything You Knew Before You Knew Everything took over four years to record and I went through a lot during it (my parents separated, my children were born, I moved to a different town). There were times where I thought I would never finish it. I was suffering from some writer’s block, so I created it in a somewhat unique way where I recorded all the music first and then I’d listen to it over and over again (in the car, at home, etc.) and write lyrics in small doses when something hit me. So basically I wrote 13 songs at the same time (which is about as productive as it sounds). After several years of this, I got really used to hearing the songs as instrumentals and was worried about messing them up with lyrics and vocals. But when I finally sang on that first song, it was very liberating. Kind of like that first time you drive a car by yourself. After that, the rest of the songs took shape and I was really excited about finishing the album. It finally came out earlier this year.
So I would say the highlight so far was not only finishing and releasing the album, but the amazing reception it has received. It’s amazing to know all my hard work paid off in the end.

And what’s the moment you want to forget?
I really don’t have any regrets about anything musically. I think every bad experience, every bad song or bad show is a learning experience to make you stronger in the end.

If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
I always have a hard time picking one song for people to listen to because to understand my sound you really need to hear several songs so they don’t get labeled as just pop or shoegaze or electronic. So I’m gonna cheat and pick two:
Friendly Fires: This was one of the first songs I finished for the album and I released it a year before the entire album was complete on a free teaser EP called “Some Things You Knew” (which is still available on Bandcamp and It was a song that I could hear very vividly in my heard but was worried I wouldn’t be able to get the same sound on record. There are 8 or 9 tracks of vocals that intertwine and it was a complete headache to mix but in the end I think it surpassed my original idea. I think it shows my pop sensibility but also has elements of electronic, mixed with the layers of guitar that I love. The album also contains a bonus track with a striped down remix of this song that really showcases some of the subtle nuances buried within.
Black Windows: This was one of the first songs I started for the record, but one of the last ones I finished. It has some of the most personal lyrics I’ve ever written, but it was a long road to get there, with probably 10-15 different drafts. I think it showcases not only my lyrical ability but the different layers of instruments I like use. At one point I think there’s drums, several tracks of vocals, guitars, piano, organ, Rhodes, horns and synths all playing off each other. I’m really proud of this one.

Where can we listen to it?
You can also hear the Friendly Fires Remix here:

Where can we find out more about your music?
U.S. iTunes (also on iTunes in several different countries):
Twitter: @staticinverona
Also the Japanese label ThisTime Records just pressed my album on CD (everywhere else is download only) and there is limited stock available on their site:

Anything else you’d like to say that I forgot to ask?
I am currently working on a follow-up album tentatively titled “Anyone Anymore” and I am really hoping to cut down the recording time drastically. Hopefully it was be ready to be released in Spring 2015. Whether it will be an EP or a full-length, I’m not sure yet, but either way it will probably be free (or at least pay what you want). I have one song completed and six more with music, not to mention another 3 or 4 b-sides from the last album. The song “Heavy Hands” from it is already on Soundcloud at

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