Robert Schwartzman is generally recognized as the lead singer of the indie-pop band Rooney (or maybe even as dreamboat Michael Moscovitz in The Princess Diaries...). However, the body of solo work Robert has produced outside of the band is expansive, innovative and inspiring. His first solo record Double Capricorn, released back in 2011, is nostalgic yet versatile with an 80's synth sound and Schwartzman-signature melodies. This year he scored and created tracks for Gia Coppola's coming-of-age indie film Palo Alto (our new fave) along with the brilliant Blood Orange. The score of the film effortlessly complements the compelling visuals and perfectly encompasses the film's angsty, youthful, romantic sentiments.
Most recently, Robert set out on a new venture to redefine the concert experience. The California Roll Tour is his new way of sharing his music with fans. He toured the country and performed his songs acoustically on a party bus for groups of about 20 people at a time. LYKA caught the last leg of the nationwide tour, ending in Los Angeles on a street corner on Cahuenga outside of Amoeba Music. The acoustic show was immersive, intimate, and raw, and truly a unique experience for each person that attended. Robert took song requests, we sang along, and drank beers... Homie status.
What triggered the idea to do a nationwide tour on a bus?
R: I really love the idea of a DIY show. Tours are great, and I feel like the rooms in venues are like gold, but in these venues in different cities I don't really know what I'm going to get. In this bus, I know exactly what I'm going to get. I want to control my environment. Plus, I think there's been this interesting food truck phenomenon, and now I want to almost bring music to food trucks. So I wanted to do a DIY live show, and I love buses. I think they're all really fun and special inside. I feel like people like to be on a bus. And the moment you walk on to this bus, it feels so intimate and I just love the way that feels.
What has been the best experience, moment or story on this tour? Especially because with this tour, the people that come really want to be here. No tour promotion, or lineups, etc.
R: That's what's been really special, we only promoted this tour through social media. So that says a lot about how you reach people. It's been very new school to just use social media, there was no traditional media, or tour promoters, or agents; so it's direct contact with the fans. So a lot of the people checking into social media and getting my updates, are hopefully also following the music and really care about it. And this bus show only works when the people on it actually know the music.
What’s your definition of success?
R: I feel like success is very much subjective... one man's success could be another man's sadness. But to me, success is doing what makes you happy and really just going for that, and for me that's in a creative realm. And really owning it and accepting the act. Sometimes the success is just doing it, and not the outcome. It's the process that's success.
Are there any other projects you are working on right now that you can share with us?
R: There's a side project that has been taking up a lot of my time, and I haven't really been able to talk about it. I'll be able to talk about it in early December. But aside from that, I'm going to put another record out next spring. And hopefully bring the bus tour back in 2015. I think it'll be the bigger conventional tour, with the smaller intimate shows to pair with the bigger ones. This bus tour has been really different and everything's very special. It's a surprise for the people that attend, but it's a surprise for me, too. Honestly the shows have been so different in every city and what the people bring to the shows vary. The truth is, every show on this bus is defined by the audience. Like a DJ may be able to push an audience and hype them up, but on this bus, it's so intimate you really feel everybody's reactions, so it's really dependent on that.
What’s your favorite brunch spot in LA?
R: Hugo's. I always get the desayuno fuertes.
R: It depends on where I am, but I love a good cold sake. Go to Chiba Sushi in the Valley.