By MIKE CHAIKEN
If you know Rome Ramirez only through his work with Sublime with Rome, you know only a piece of his particular musical puzzle.
This is beginning to change. Rome recently released a four-song EP titled, “Dedication.”
“It’s always where I envisioned myself doing,” said Rome of the decision to release a solo project outside of his day gig in Sublime with Rome.
But the decision to take a solo detour was something, however, he was waiting to do when the time was right.
The solo detour also was something, Rome said he probably couldn’t have done until he had hooked up with classic ska-rockers Sublime. Working with the renowned alt group, Rome said he learned what it takes to produce music. He also gained perspective as he saw the world as part of Sublime.
“I’m glad I went through all that,” said Rome, “it got my overall game up.”
Rome will be in Connecticut with Sublime with Rome on Sunday, Aug. 19 when they play the Scion Festival Stage at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford as part of the Radio 104.1 RockFest. The bill also includes Pepper, Less than Jake, and Fear Nuttin Band.
So when Sublime wanted to take a nine months break, said Rome, he decided the time was right to do the solo project.
The rest of Sublime were supportive of his decision to take a solo jaunt during the hiatus, said Rome..
“We’re all artists and we know artists need to create,” Rome.
On the EP “Dedication” and the full-length album due to follow, Rome worked with some heavy hitters in the music industry.
For example, Nate Ruess of fun. and Jeff Bhasker (fun., Kanye West, Jay-Z), produced the song “Dedication. The EP also includes songs produced and co-written by Benny Blanco (Maroon 5, Ke$ha, Wiz Khalifa), Dave Bassett (Shinedown, Halestorm), Robopop (Gym Class Heroes, Lana Del Rey), and The Futuristics (The Lonely Island Feat. Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga).
Asked about his collaborators, Rome said he had been a huge fan of all of those people.
But he wasn’t able to pull them all together for the record on his own.
The people at Fueled by Ramen, his record label, had seen him perform with Sublime. “They got a sense of me as an artist.” And they pulled together the talent to help with the solo project.
Rome said the decision to record a solo project made sense.
“My artistry goes deeper than Sublime,” said Rome. Sublime with Rome mine ska music. But he said he’s also a fan of soul music, hip hop and old time rock and roll.
“I had a lot of music to get off my chest,” said Rome.
“With these guys, I was able to channel my creativity,” said Rome of his collaborators on the solo material. The solo work was a chance to “grab (my creative side) and kick it to the next level,” said Rome.
It’s clear as soon as you hear the first single from Rome, “Dedication,” you’re not listening to a Sublime with Rome record.
“Dedication” has a definite Latin flare to it, which is totally unlike the ska sound of Sublime with Rome. Don’t, however, expect the second coming of Enrique Iglesias from Rome. He said the record is “more or less all genres.”
Rome said he likes to think of his solo effort as a “pop record with alternative meat.”
Rome said, for this effort, he tried to put the focus on great songs. He also said he wanted to make sure the songs would work well in a live setting. So, there are no huge orchestral songs on the album since that would be difficult to pull off.
“For me, I feel an amazing song can work with just the vocal and one instrument,” said Rome. “That’s the way I approached the record.”
When Rome hits the road with Sublime with Rome this summer, however, fans shouldn’t expect him to take a solo turn during the band’s show. Rome said he wants to keep a definite dividing line between his music and Sublime with Rome.
Additionally, he knows the fans who turn out for Sublime with Rome aren’t there to hear him. They are there for the band.
Instead, Rome explained, “If you want to hear my record come to my shows.”
As for what fans can expect when they come out to the Sublime with Rome on Aug 19, Rome said, “There’s a whole new set… We play a lot longer… We bring the party on stage.”
For more information, go to LiveNation.com, www.romemusica.com, or www.SublimeWithRome. com.
By MIKE CHAIKEN