INTERVIEW | ROE
In 2018 we went on a trip to Dublin to attend a concert by Laoise at Whelan's and that was the beginning of a lot of things. We not only fell in love with the city and it's music scene, but we also discovered ROE who played the support that night. Since then we bumped into her at various gigs & festivals in Germany, Ireland, England and the US, we've seen her grow and are proud to feature her on our blog now.
Hey ROE, can you give our readers a brief introduction about yourself and your music?
Hey! My name is ROE and I’m a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter from Derry in the North of Ireland. I’ve been writing songs since I was 15 and for the last few years I’ve been independently touring throughout the world. My music is dark electro-pop and I take massive inspiration from artists like Jack Garratt, Clairo and Sigrid.
We saw that you often work with photographer Ciara McMullan. How did you meet?
We met in Belfast at the Oh Yeah Centre in 2019! I was speaking on a panel and playing a show there just before heading off on tour with Snow Patrol. I’ve always loved Ciara’s photography style and she’s ridiculously easy to get along with so we decided that we wanted her to come with us, since then she’s become my tour photographer, a central part of my small team and one of my best mates.
What are you looking for in a photographer? And what do you value the most about the photographers / videographers you worked with in the past?
I used to be so awkward and uncomfortable infront of a camera, when I started working with Ciara I found myself having far more fun and forgetting that the camera was there a lot which made photoshoots something that I really look forward to now.
To me, working with a photographer that’s easy to get on with is important, being able to have a laugh and feel relaxed. I have so much respect for photographers that find beauty in the most unlikely of places, my favourite shots are almost always candid and behind the scenes. I love working with photographers/videographers that put their own stamp on the content they capture, I’ve been lucky enough to work with people where it’s really obvious in their work that this is their unique style and I find that incredible.
When you're on stage and you know there are photographers at the gig, do you prefer to pretend they are not there or do you even enjoy posing for them?
On stage I prefer to ignore the cameras and focus on the music that I’m playing. Because of the nature of the songs I play it feels right to focus on what I’m supposed to be feeling and directly speak to the audience. It means that the photos from my shows are sometimes a hilarious surprise but there’s always some wonderful shots that I’m excited about.
Have you ever looked at pictures from your live performances and thought "Oh, do I really do this or look like this?"? If yes, what were the situations and what did you do about it?
Haha all the time! I make a huge amount of faces on stage at every show, but I think it’s natural and I’ve never tried to hide or restrain myself from making them. It’s part of the performance and I’m confident enough in myself not to care if I don’t look beautiful when I’m pouring my heart out on stage to an audience. Sometimes I post them up online or my whole team’ll have a good laugh about them, they’re just funny.
Do you have any tips for other musicians on how to overcome insecurities in front of the camera?
Make a pinterest board of poses you like, if you’re really insecure then practice them and they can be go-tos for any shoot. Bring a small speaker and play some music on the shoot, have a conversation with your photographer and you can even bring your mates along for moral support. When it comes to on stage, focus on the show infront of you instead of worrying about what you’ll look like in the photos afterwards, you’re a musician who’s human and full of raw emotion- there will be shots that you don’t like but remember that they never have to see the light of day and there will be so many cool shots that come from this mindset.
Can you share some (never seen before) outtakes or BTS with us and tell us why you picked this image?
Whelan’s, Dublin (February 2020). I chose this photo because it was taken at the last live show I’ve played since lockdown began here just over a year ago. It was the last show of a Headline UK/IRE Tour and I remember being on such an emotional high that night, everybody was. The room just felt alive and this photo reminds me of how much I miss that feeling and how incredible it’ll be when we can actually play in a room full of people again.
Last but not least: can you share a fun story from a photo shoot?
Ciara and I were out at a festival I was playing in Iceland, we went out early to take some cool shots so ended up booking a sightseeing tour for all the best spots. We got off the bus to get snacks just before leaving and my knee just decided to buckle. Walking was the absolute worst pain but we ended up going anyway and had the BEST time. It was freezing, standing for photos in that weather was madness. I got to roll around in the snow and see some amazing sights. Some of my favourite ever shots came from that day and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
FIND OUT MORE:
All images: © Ciara McMullan Photography