“It should be me, not the boys she said” (‘The Boys’, Rosko)
The boys. There would no longer be a purpose if it weren’t for the boys. Friendship is indispensible, because without the chosen family, life is unreasonable. Bruce on vocals, Simon on guitar, Perry on bass and Dean aka the Snake form the dream team or otherwise known as the up and rising band Rosko - true geezers. Photographer Sophie Mayanne records the bromance that is Rosko against ready to bid farewell, but still standing strong buildings of Brick Lane.
Impeccable energy with a sound that is not worth classifying, because they’re the boys and they do what the f**k they want. It’s comfortable to box people in, but these guys fit snuggly into a wide array of genres - a mix of grime, rock, hip-hop and a slight hint of jazz perhaps? It is rather fitting, as we seem to find ourselves in a spot in time where it's not necessary to be singular - we've got all the options, so why not opt for plural? The band gets you up on your feet hoping to be ‘running from police with the boys like’ - let the beat take you on, while the boys get you into some real trouble.
Rosko released their first single ‘The Boys’ previously this year, and are set to release their debut EP this fall around early October. They recently played the ‘This Feeling Jack Rocks’ stage at Reading Festival late August. Stylist Lewis Evans-Martin gives Rosko that kick with old school Fred Perry mixed in with occasional propriety, but broken up again by white tennis socks - this is the stuff that makes for real teenage poetry. It doesn’t quite make sense, but then again, it does. That might just be what Rosko is all about. Forget about trying to make sense of everything and just have fun for god's sake.
Above: Bruce wears Jumper by UMBRO HOUSE OF HOLLAND and his own Jeans, Shoes and Necklace. Simon wears Polo Shirt by UMBRO HOUSE OF HOLLAND and his own Shorts and Necklace. Perry wears Shirt by WEEKDAY and his own Shorts and Sunglasses. Dean wears Shirt by NORSE PROJECTS and his own Jeans and Shoes.
Care to introduce yourselves?
Bruce: Hello, my name is Bruce. Bruce Peter Breakey. My family is originally from Dublin. I was born in Newham General Hospital in Plaistow. Now I live in South End in Essex near Dean actually.
Dean: Hi, my name’s Dean aka Snakes aka lots of other names. Sexy beast and filthy slut bag... What else have I been called? *Undistinguishable boys chatter*
Perry: Hi, my name’s Perry. Yeah… * silence, laughter outbreak * Ehm, I grew up in Devon, because you know that needs to go in here. It’s very hot right now - this weather is too hot.
Simon: Hello, I’m Simondo. I’m a Lithuanian bloke, semi-chippo. That’s it really.
How was it shooting with Sophie today?
Simon: A bit hot… A bit hot.
Sophie: Fucking amazing.
Bruce: It’s definitely not winter is it… She made us lie on the floor, but no, very nice.
Perry: I guess that was my first proper photoshoot thing. Definitely the way to do it.
Dean: You want to know why they call me ‘snake’?
Why do they call you ‘snake’?
Dean: Oh, we don’t want to get into it. And it’s not really that interesting either.
Perry: It’s a long story.
Above: Perry wears Jumper by NANAMICA and his own Shorts. Bruce wears Shirt by MOSS LONDON and his own Jeans. Simon wears Jacket by WOOD WOOD and his own Shorts. Dean wears T-shirt by FILIPPA K and his own Jeans.
Above left: Simon wears his own T-shirt, Shorts and Shoes.
Above right: Same as above.
Well, we have time for long stories…
Dean: Well, it was just a joke. My friends and I were talking about some kid rolling with Hispanic cats.
Perry: It’s not sexual, like you may think.
Simon: He does have a big snake tattoo on his…
Dean: No, I don’t, I don’t have a snake tattoo.
Perry: But you should, maybe we should go do that in a bit?
Do you guys have nicknames for each other, or is it just Dean the Snake?
Perry: I get called Pezza by a lot of people. Simon gets called Cider, Si or Simondo. Bruce just gets Bruce all the time haha.
Bruce: My name’s f***king stupid anyways.
Perry: Did you know that the shark in ‘Jaws’ was called Bruce? And then in ‘Finding Nemo’ they stole it.
Simon: There is a weird animal thread going on right now.
Dean: We are an animalistic band.
Perry: We do like creatures.
Is that going to be the topic of your next EP?
Dean: You know, the next EP is called ‘Size Matters’ haha.
Simon: We don’t know yet what we’re going to call our EP. It’s still in the works. The tracks are done, but we need to do all the work and distribution, so we’re not sure yet.
Dean: ‘White Stilettos’ is probably the most likely.
Simon: Or ‘Pinocchio’, I don’t know.
Above: Dean wears T-shirt by CHAMPION. Perry wears T-shirt by ADIDAS. Simon wears his own T-shirt. Bruce wears Jacket by Fred Perry.
Your song is called ‘The Boys’, so I feel that ‘The Boys’ are really important. How long have you guys known each other?
Perry: Saturdays are for the boys.
Dean: I’ve known them since just before Christmas, so not really that long.
Perry: I’ve known Bruce two years.
Bruce: It’s all very fresh.
Simon: When did we meet, Bruce?
Bruce: 2015 maybe?
Simon: You think so? It’s that long ago? Snake is the newest recruit.
Dean: I’m just some old man that they found.
Simon: It had to be, because we had no other choice.
Perry: Simon and Bruce have been in the band the longest.
Bruce: We first met in Wetherspoons.
Simon: On Charring Cross road, and that’s where it all happened.
You guys saw each other from across the room. How romantic. How did you decide to start a band?
Bruce: Well, we had an old drummer back in the day. I met him a little while before. I was in Spain - this is the origin story of Rosko. I was in Benidorm on a sun bed, I was reading a book and there was a character in the book called Rosko and thought; ‘that sounds like a good name for a band. Maybe I should start a band?’. I knew some blokes who played, not from a band background, so I was like; ‘oh, I’ve met a couple’. So I called our old drummer and he went; ‘Oh, I know a geezer who plays guitar - a bit like Mick Jagger. Let’s meet for a beer.’ Perry and I had also previously met.
Perry: And you just thought I played guitar, didn’t you?
Bruce: Because we didn’t have a bass player for a while.
Perry: I moved to London. I’d kept in contact with Bruce for a bit. Six months after meeting him I was like; ‘oh I’m in London now, how’s the band going? We should grab a beer’. He texted me and said; ‘Oh it’s all right, but we can’t really find a bass player.’ And I was like; ‘you do know I play bass as well?’. Literally within a couple of days, after that conversation, I came over and yeah, put my oar in and upset people, but…
Above left: Bruce wears Shirt by TOMMY HILFIGER and his own Jeans. Simon wears his own T-shirt, Shorts and Shoes. Perry wears T-shirt by ADIDAS and his own Shorts. Dean wears Shirt by TOPMAN and his own Jeans.
Above right: Bruce wears T-shirt by WOOD WOOD, Jumper by UMBRO HOUSE OF HOLLAND and his own Jeans, Shoes and Necklace. Simon wears Polo Shirt by UMBRO HOUSE OF HOLLAND and his own Shorts and Necklace. Perry wears Shirt by WEEKDAY and his own Shorts and Sunglasses. Dean wears Shirt by NORSE PROJECTS and his own Jeans and Shoes.
Haha upset people?
Dean: Opinionated musicians are the worst.
Perry: We all have such different tastes in music. I think that’s why it works.
I can’t quite pin point you guys. How would you define yourselves?
Bruce: Geezer, man. R&Geez. It’s going to be copyrighted. If anyone takes it...
Simon: I’m going to stab.
Perry: We’ll be getting a lot of money from that.
Dean: That might be how we make our millions. Just suing people.
Perry: By inventing a new genre.
Bruce: It’s a new genre.
Simon: Deep Lad, R&Geez.
Dean: Deep Lad, I love that. What more do you need?
Perry: Acid Lad.
What do you guys usually listen to?
Dean: I usually listen to funk music. Religiously. I bust out like Bootsy Collins and stuff. Anytime. All day. Every day.
Perry: I like Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood and Slaves
Simon: We’re a bit more old school, I think, Bruce and I.
Bruce: It’s a bit hard, but if I had to choose it would be Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Hip Hop.
Where do you get your influence from as a band? Since you guys have such different tastes in music, how do you come together and create something?
Perry: In the beginning it was a bit tricky, but now it’s quite easy,
Simon: The thing is - now we know kind of what our sound is, so now it’s a bit easier.
Dean: I think we all accommodate for each other. We all like our own thing. We want to make this work, so I’ll play what fits the music. I won’t just try and do my own thing.
Perry: When I first joined - this is what I said about sticking my oar in - some of the songs, songs that we don’t even play now, when I joined, they started the songs one way, then they ended completely different. They were used to not having a bass player, so they were used to filling the sound. I can come up with a bass line, and the time the boys have gotten a hold on it, it’s completely changed.
Dean: Sometimes they might send me a recording, but then when we get into the studio I might play something completely different over that and we’ll be like; ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’
Perry: That would make me change completely the way I play.
Simon: I don’t know, we sort of pass the ball around… Bounce ideas around. To answer your question about where we get our influence - I don’t really know to be honest.
Perry: Each other, maybe?
Dean: I think we take on what each other’s influences are and then use that.
I feel like you guys have a lot of fun together. Who is the funniest of the bunch?
Simon: I mean…
Perry: Probably Simon.
Dean: Unintentionally? Simon.
Bruce: Intentionally? Snake.
Perry: Simon doesn’t mean to be, but he is hilarious. Snake tries too hard, but you’re still funny. Snake is a very good dancer. When he goes on a night out he snakes his way over to the dance floor. So if you’re reading this interview, see if you can get a hold of us on a night out.
Dean: Try and grab hold of the Snake.
I always find it hard to work with good friends, because it’s difficult to stay concentrated. How do you guys feel about that?
Simon: We’re not really good friends.
Perry: You know that thing I said about ‘love for each other’ – we hate each other.
Simon: I think that’s kind of why it works, because we all met each other not that long ago.
Dean: You’re more likely to argue if it’s someone you’re really close with.
Bruce: If you go with your best mates, you can’t be bothered to do anything. But we are best mates as well.
Dean: I’ve been in bands with really close mates before, and then it wasn’t working quite as well, so we argued a lot. I think because this has got its own direction, there’s no reason to argue so much. We’re not trying to force it – it just works.
Perry: But I’ve also been in bands where you are not good friends and then it’s really shit as well.
Simon: We’re kind of like in that perfect middle bit. We’re not best best mates that knew each other all our lives, but we still kind of like each other and get along.
Dean: Kind of haha? It felt pretty instant when I met you guys.
Perry: Love at first sight.
Do you have any nerves before going on stage?
Dean: It’s more exciting than nervous.
Perry: We just get impatient.
Simon: Obviously a little bit nervous, naturally. The thing I sort of get most nervous about is for technical things to go wrong, because I keep breaking strings at every gig and the gear is not the top of the line. I do get a little bit nervous.
Perry: I think you probably get the most nervous out of all of us.
Simon: When we start playing, it’s sort of gone though.
What kind of sound can we expect from your upcoming EP?
Dean: It’s definitely proper like Geezer/Essex boy type thing.
Bruce: Boys are having a beer, having a good time. We’re having fun - just talking about what we’re doing now.
Dean: A little bit of social commentary in there.
Bruce: It’s a little bit of that in there. But we like to have a laugh; there is nothing too down beat.
Simon: It’s not like we’re there wanting to underline social changes.
Bruce: We’re not going to try and change lives with our music. That’s not going to happen. We just want people to have a good time.
Simon: That’s the thing though - I think when you don’t take yourself to seriously, that’s the stuff that actually has an impact.
Perry: We’re doing it for us; we’re not trying to do it for other people. We’re not trying to force it too much, because when you’re trying to force it - it doesn’t happen.
Simon: We’re just saying what we’re trying to say and create a good vibe. Good energy, and yeah, they’re sick tracks man.
It’s nice with something like that, especially considering the dark times of the moment – politically.
Dean: I thought about this the other day. I was having a conversation with my friend, and I said; ‘do you reckon kids from our children’s generation will look back at us and go ‘How did you get through that time - people being run over on the street, people blowing themselves up?’’. To us right now, it’s not affecting us. I haven’t been blown up.
You don’t say so.
Dean: It’s happening around us. Will it be better for them or is it going to get worse?
Perry: What is happening at the moment - it’s horrendous. If people maybe listen to our music, it might take them away from that for a minute. We know we’re not going to change anyone’s life.
Dean: I think everyone is looking for that - escape.
Simon: Fuck politics; focus on ethics. Do the right thing - what you think is right. Politics will always be politics. Shit will always be shit, but don’t focus on that. Just be good to one another and we’ll be fine.
Perry: Do what makes you happy.
Simon: And don’t take life to seriously. Just have a good time. Come to our gig… And if Brexit happens and I get kicked out, then I’ll just move to Spain.
Bruce: Fuck Brexit.
Perry: We’ll just go do Rosko in Spain.
Simon: El Rosko.
Would you feel lonely without music?
Simon: I can’t imagine not having music.
Perry: Now, I can’t imagine not being in this band. That sounds a bit soppy actually. And I don’t think I could do it with anyone but these three. It just works.
Simon and Bruce: Aww.
Dean: We’re breaking up tomorrow.
Perry: Tomorrow I’ll be like; ‘I’m leaving’.
Fun question, what famous musician would you compare yourself to or find that you can relate to?
Dean: Well, I look like Michael Jackson on the dance floor.
Simon: You can’t pick one man.
Bruce: Easy for me, Liam Gallagher or Mike Skinner. They are my two boys. I’m going to say Mike Skinner, because he comes from the same sort of background as me of doing production in his bedroom and then he puts it all together. He is just a normal geezer - he has lived a normal life and now he has made a massive name for himself. Which is what I hope we can do.
Perry: I would probably say Alex Turner, because he is a little bit rough around the edges - a bit of a scallywag. And in their earlier stuff, they sang about things that we did, what they got up to. Real things - not trying to be pretentious.
Dean: I thought you were going to say Billy Joel haha.
Perry: Oh, I knew you would say that.
Bruce: And you wouldn’t have Alex Turner without Mike Skinner.
Perry: Exactly, so there you go.
Simon: Oh man, it’s too hard of a question.
Dean: Well, I love lots of drummers and such. There are just too many. Drummers aren’t really known for their personality. I wouldn’t really know whom to suggest. I’m too into myself to worry about other people haha. I think I’m the best shit - they look up to me. I’m far too self-indulgent to take note of anyone else. No, I don’t know… Simon, please, answer the question.
Simon: I don’t know really, I could say Iggy Pop maybe, because he is just the biggest moron ever. I like weird shit.
Bruce: What about Moe the comedian?
Simon: I’m just me.
Perry: Simon can’t decide.
Dean: He wants to say himself, that’s what it is.
Fulfill all your Rosko needs here.
UMBRO HOUSE OF HOLLAND
Interview and words by Hedvig Werner.