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THE ROOFTOPS

History of Beating Hearts

The Rooftops began in 2004, cutting their teeth with a three year residency at Brisbane’s iconic music venue, The Bowery. Week to week, they distilled raw influences of jazz, soul, reggae and groove into their trademark Uplifting, Dancefloor-Creating, Thinking-Person’s Pop sound. As their fan base grew and their jazz jams became well-crafted songs, they swapped the bar scene for feature concerts and festival stages and knuckled-down in the studio to self-record and produce their first album, Storm Season. Just as their first single, Making Photographs, gained airplay on Triple J, the band’s keyboardist and producer Stephen Anning moved to London following a UK record deal, handing over the keys to Peta Wilson.


With another record, Clean Dirt, and another 100 or so concerts in the bag, The Rooftops made their debut at Woodford in 2009. Whilst playing a popular string of performances there, they met festival favorite Darren Percival, who took the band under his wing to produce their third record, A Hundred Different Lives. After touring this record around Australia and beginning to ride the surge of interest in their music, frontman Euan Gray decided to move to Cambodia. A strong sense of sentimentality led the band to record a fourth album just weeks before his departure.


The album, titled Everything to Everyone, was to be Peta Wilson’s last project with the band before she moved on to other projects. With Steve Anning recently back in town, he was an obvious and excellent choice to produce the record, and this natural collaboration paved the way for him to rejoin the band.


Over the next few years, Euan became somewhat of a surprise celebrity in Cambodia. His ability to sing in Khmer earned him deep respect and his work as a producer and coach has helped aspiring Cambodian original artists develop beyond many expectations. The Rooftops joined Euan in Cambodia for his wedding and put on a sold out show in Phnom Penh, cementing the reality that The Rooftops’ story was far from over.


Meanwhile, the rest of the band pursued successful careers in music;


Darren Skaar became one of Australia’s leading trumpeters in the burgeoning brass/DJ scene. Scott Nosworthy consolidated his reputation amongst the drummer elite, both for his remarkable all-rounder skill and his world-class good attitude. Rafael Karlen carved a respectable and award-winning path in the jazz composition world. McCoy Harvey strikes the perfect balance between high-flying audiologist, father of three and in-demand bass player. Producer, keyboardist and backing vocalist Stephen Anning of LaBoum fame, is currently also working with Hydrofunk records in Australia and has a distribution deal through Alpha Pup records in LA. He recently worked on three tracks for the winners of Japan Idol.


In between yearly reunion shows, The Rooftops enjoyed an exciting partnership with the Everybody NOW team, as the host band for the Inaugural Annual Dance Affair at Bleach Festival, the Brisbane Festival and a wildly entertaining season at Woodford.


In 2017, the band, still remaining best of friends, hired an airbnb in the Byron Bay hinterland, and recorded six new songs. It was clear that the band’s chemistry was more alive than ever and the new songs, mostly about Euan’s experience in Cambodia, had a momentum that urged yet another record.


In 2019, in conjunction with a highly-anticipated reunion concert in West End, the band announced the release of Feels Like Science, the transnational creative realisation of those airbnb sessions. It is their most mature record to date, featuring a collection of songs that speak to the emotional landscape of distance; geographically, within relationships, and across generations.


Fifteen years and despite the distance, The Rooftops find themselves an inseparable and unstoppable unit, albeit one necessarily spread across the world. This sentiment is expressed in the recent album’s upcoming single, Driftwood Fires - a soaring anthem about the modern day separation - and ultimate re-connection - of family and friends.

 

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