There’s a name you don’t hear every day.
Based on that name alone, we were thrilled to discover a note from them in the Monster Riff inbox.
But RoadkillSoda is much, much more than a cool name. By their own description, RoadkillSoda is a Stoner/Psychedelic Rock/Grunge band. While those are technically the right categories to place the band in, the description doesn’t capture the raw energy they bring to their performances, especially in an album like Sagrada, their most recent release.
Sagrada is a celebration of all that was great about the ‘90s Grunge scene with a heavy mix of Stoner Rock, delivering heavy, driving riffs with intricate hooks.
Before we get to the interview, let’s discuss the band’s line up. RoadkillSoda is:
Mr. Panda – Guitar
Mischon – Drums
Byst – Vocals
Vava – Bass
Our Conversation With RoadkillSoda
Monster Riff: I have to start by asking about the band name. Where did it come from?
Panda: Being on the road a lot, you are constantly reminded of the hazards. Might as well make a refreshing soda out of it and cool yourself down, as you are in it until the end of it.
Monster Riff: And what about “Sagrada”? Our research shows that it’s Spanish for “sacred.” Are you working with the same definition, or does it mean something different?
Vava: Sagrada’ is probably the most profound RKS album so far. It’s a personal journey we took, both as individuals, as well as a group. We like to think of it as a personal trip through feelings and dreams.
Byst: You can also look at this album from the perspective of a full day in our lives, with all the ups and downs and unknowns that come with it. We are all hoping for an excellent morning coffee and after that for the rest of the day to be smooth. Most of the time, you’ll pass through a lot of feelings before the day ends: good vibes, a great drive, anxiety, fear, rage… It’s how life is, not how it is supposed to be. Like it or hate it.
Monster Riff: Before we jump further into the album, I want to ask: How would you describe your sound? Who are your biggest influences?
Panda: Influence-wise anywhere from Led Zeppelin and Hendrix to Alice in Chains and Queens of the Stone Age. I think it’s cool to play with your musical heritage. Our sound is based on the old school philosophy of big Rock and Roll sound coming from only three instruments, no additional tracks, everything recorded together at the same time in the same place. Then it’s complemented with melodic solos and a powerful, melodic grungy voice.
Byst: I’ll describe the sound of this album and its vibe as Stoned Grunge, sprinkled with some Blues here and there. As far as influences go, I would name just a few: Seether, Chevelle, Silverchair, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Down, Audioslave, and many more.
Monster Riff: Your discography is pretty interesting. Yo No Hablo Ingles has a real Classic Rock feel to it, especially in its production value. Space Echo & Time is heavy on the acoustic side. Mephobia could get pretty heavy. But now we’ve arrived at Sagrada, which seems to be a refinement of the sound you produced in Mephobia. How did you arrive at your sound for this album?
Panda: I guess it was a natural progression. The more you play and record together, the better your understanding of what works and what’s best suited for you. I think Sagrada captures all our influences and our directions. Be them heavy like on “Live in Analog,” or melodic and bluesy, like on “Addictions Blues.” It was also the first time we took our time in the studio to refine the sound, the whole process taking four months, whereas the others were done in less than a month usually.
Monster Riff: Talk to me a little about your songwriting process, especially when it comes to Sagrada.
Byst: The process was new to me, this being my first ever recorded album with a band, so I was extremely anxious about it, not knowing how this kind of thing worked, but since the guys have a couple of albums recorded so far, they helped me a lot. I had to find a voice of my own and I am still searching for it. All of the songs were written by Panda and I received the demos to sing and to put some words together. Easier said than done. Before going into the studio, there were some songs that I did not have any clue what to write or how to sing on them, so at some point, I was recording songs in the morning and in the afternoon. I had to write lyrics for others. The recording sessions were tough but Panda was there to guide me a little bit so we could finish this album and also the owner of the recording studio was a really great guy. It was very challenging and fun and I am happy with the end result.
Monster Riff: Tell me a little about being a band from Romania. I’ll have to admit, I don’t have too much experience listening to music from Romania. I would love to learn more.
Vava: Well, being in a band is pretty much the same everywhere. Touring abroad and playing big fests gave us the opportunity to make friends amongst all sorts of musicians, from all over Europe or the States. So, we realized we have the same hopes and dreams. We believe in our work, we struggle, we party hard, we push on. It’s true that for a Romanian act, playing international fests will be more of a struggle simply because we are totally off the radar for English, American, and German agents, as well as promoters, clubs, managers, and pretty much the entire music industry. So, we have to push twice as hard as our western friends to prove we deserve to be part of big events as we are back home.
Monster Riff: What was the music scene like there before COVID?
Vava: Big and loud. Perfect! For those who were ready to work for it—and be able to still enjoy it—the music scene had a lot to offer. Yes, it was difficult to be heard among thousands of really good bands from all over, but you had a fighting chance worth taking. Audience-wise, Romania still has some room to grow. Should we be more like the Greek audience, it would be great and it would help the entire Romanian scene. It would also really help if Romanian promoters would value Romanian acts at least the same as they do foreign acts. This way, everybody would get a fair chance for decent festival slots.
Monster Riff: And what is the music scene like in the middle of COVID?
Vava: Let’s be honest. There is no music scene now. There are only attempts from various artists to keep the flame alive by launching either new or pre-Covid finished material—online, of course. There are some online gigs, there are some video releases. It’s really not what makes you live as a band and it is really not what the audience needs. Money-wise, for underground bands, it is a bust. No shows means no live fees and hardly any merch sold online.
Monster Riff: You mentioned there aren’t too many Stoner Rock bands in Romania, but you have captured some of the Stoner Rock sound in your music. Where did that influence come from?
Panda: I’ve always been a fan of heavy, psychedelic, repetitive music. What better genre than Stoner Rock? It is all about the inner trip you get to experience and it is a wicked feeling.
Monster Riff: You recommended King Solomon to us, which we loved. Any other bands to recommend?
Byst: There is a pretty big rock music scene in Romania. Some are well known, some are more underground, some are just starting to create music. And I am really happy to see more and more people that are making music and showing it to the public or just playing it as therapy. To name some bands: Coma, Implant Pentru Refuz, Luna Amara, Vita de Vie, Alternosfera, Riot Monk, Purple Caravan, Byron, Firma, and so on. Hats off to all of those that are creating music, play it, or listen to it.
Monster Riff: Anything I didn’t ask about that you’d love people to know?
Byst: Just want to thank all the fans out there that are listening to our music and supporting us, and we hope to get back on the road soon to see you, meet new people, and share our pieces of music. And maybe someday we will come to the U.S. It would be a great experience to combine the U.S. vibe with our Eastern European stoner music. I want that to be on my bucket list.
If you’d like to learn more about RoadkillSoda, check out their Bandcamp page.