Germany’s Marius Lauber, better known as Roosevelt, has been riding strong with his nostalgic, lush synth-pop sound ever since he first started popping up on the scene. From the opulent disco-inspired “Strangers” to the glowing neon melodies of “Sign,” Roosevelt takes listeners on this magnificent journey through his synth-filled world in his newest and third album, Polydans.
“See You Again” is the latest single from Roosevelt’s Polydans, which is out now via City Slang and Greco-Roman Records. The song's soaring melodies and carefree spirit are absolutely contagious. Every time the chorus hits, you just want to let loose and jump around for joy. Roosevelt tends to work in keys that sound cheerier, but his ability to create these anthemic, optimistic songs is masterful. The video is equally as spirited. EARMILK was lucky enough to check in with Marius Lauber and learn more about the latest work from Roosevelt.
EARMILK: How have you been doing during this past year of pandemic?
ROOSEVELT: I've been trying to keep myself busy over this last year with various production projects and working on new demos for a next album. It's been weird that there hasn't been a proper touring cycle after finishing the album, but I'm trying to stay positive about the fact that I can go in the studio every day to make new music.
EM: Your live shows already have amazing energy. What do you think that first live show is going to be like once everyone can get back together?
R: I'm assuming it's going to be an incredible time. I seriously think that when we talk about the virus in 20 years, we will talk a lot about the lockdown but equally as much about how incredible the time was when things re-opened. A lot of people have been experiencing how important a physical connection to other people was before the pandemic.
EM: You seem well-versed in almost every instrument on top of songwriting. Let’s take it back, how’d you get into music?
R: When I was around 15, I started playing instruments in local bands in my hometown. What was so good about that time is that we were all so curious—we all wanted to learn every instrument and tried to impress each other. It was never about playing big shows (or any, frankly), but more about showing your friends a new part of a track that you learned. It started with playing covers, then eventually writing own material. It was not until I moved to Cologne and was living on my own, that I started producing my own tracks.
EM: How did you start Roosevelt and develop that sound?
R: It was a period in around 2011 where I was totally inspired by disco music, both original late-70s productions, but also recent stuff—both LCD Soundsystem and Caribou put out incredible records in 2010. I was also inspired by all the bedroom producers coming up around that time and that showed me that I can sound like a band with a laptop and a pair of headphones—people like Toro Y Moi or Washed Out.
EM: Congratulations, I think 'Polydans' has you sounding solid and super confident in your style. What are you excited for fans to get from this album?
R: Thank you! I think fans are getting a record that was predominantly a lot of fun to make in the studio! I remember 'Young Romance,' my second studio album, being quite a tough nut to crack which is kind of the cliché of a second album. There is definitely pressure that you don't have when doing your debut. However, on this record I was definitely more confident in the style that I'm doing. I mostly remember me sitting on my studio couch and recording the vocals with a handheld mic—it just felt like a very peaceful time where I was at ease with the songs that I'm creating.
EM: Do you have a favorite track on 'Polydans?'
R: Not really, although I must say that "Echoes" will probably be a favorite once we start to play live again.
EM: One track that I personally love and think pushes your sound and songwriting is “Forget.” Are you able to talk about the inspiration and creation of that track at all?
R: I had the idea of doing a track that has this big, enormous drum fill in the middle of the track (a bit of a Phil Collins moment, haha). That was really the only concept I had in mind. I know that I started jamming with this old Casio drum machine and a bass line sequence on my ARP 2600, and pretty quickly started recording vocals over that. From then on I think I just stacked different chord progressions on top of each other. The heavy sounding drums where actually the last thing I recorded.
EM: This is the first album cover you’re not on, is there more to that? Or had you not really thought about it?
R: It felt like the right thing this time. I wanted the visual concept for this album, which is based on old synthesizer advertisements, to be the focus of its presentation.
EM: There’s both a cinematic and vivid storytelling quality to your music, do you think you’d ever do a movie or musical soundtrack?
R: I'd love to! It's definitely on my bucket list to score a movie at some point in my career. I love movies and often have some of my favorites running on mute in the studio while I'm doing music. Also whenever a music video is finished, I love how the music is perceived in a totally different way.
EM: Other than 'Polydans,' what are some albums (or even artists or songs) that we should be listening to? What’s on repeat in your headphones?
R: Let's see, I'm obsessed with Hatchie "Sure" at the moment, and also Bullion 'We Had A Good Time.'
EM: Where do you see Roosevelt going from here? Is it too soon to ask about the next album?
R: Definitely a bit too early, haha! Let's see where it takes me, I honestly don't know. I'm working on a lot of new demos right now—one is a 12-minute percussion jam. Not sure if it's ever gonna see the light of day, but it's fun to try out these things at the moment with that much time on my hands. If there's anything positive about the situation we're in then that you can, as a producer, explore some routes you normally wouldn't have the time to take.
EM: Thank you so much for your time!
Roosevelt's Polydans is out now in full, available to both digitally and physically on CD and vinyl. You can stream or purchase it here. Also, Lauber has announced some UK/European tour dates for this summer so keep an eye out for more news of shows. Roosevelt live is one not to miss!