One-on-One with Laura Smith of Rococode

Rococode Photo: Lynol Lui Photography
Rococode
Photo: Lynol Lui Photography

by Michael Thomas

After Vancouver’s Rococode took a fairly rocking turn on Guns, Sex, and Glory, the act reformatted in more ways than one—the quartet became a duo, and their music became more thrilling than ever. Their new-found confidence is evident in their new Panic Attack EP, which is just a taste of what’s to come as they prepare to release a new album in February 2016.

“This EP we’ve gone a lot more synthetic — a lot more synth, more samples, more electronic drums,” the duo’s Laura Smith says over the phone. “I think it’s more what we’re into now.”

While the previous album held some influence from its producer (Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother), the band found new inspiration in the songwriting process by going off the grid.

“You know when you’re at home in the city, your friends are there, maybe you have other jobs,” Smith says. “We just holed up in this cabin, totally secluded. Half an hour drive from anything, we couldn’t walk anywhere. I think it had a really positive influence because it forced us to look a little deeper. ”

The title track was one song to come out of those sessions, The heavy synths announce a new departure for the duo, and the song is catchy as hell, to boot.

“It’s a song about being addicted to something or someone, and knowing that it’s maybe not good for you and trying to get away from it and trying to recover,” Smith says. “Having that moment where you’ve almost recovered and falling back to it. You realize you still need it.”

“Banks,” meanwhile has been around since last year: “I guess you could say it’s almost a political song. I keep saying on stage it’s our protest song in general. Standing up for what you believe in. When you feel the fire, make the most out of it.”

Hints to the meaning of the bouncy, frenetic “The Escape” can be found right in the song title. “I think that’s one about just escaping from your daily struggles,” Smith says, laughing.

The final song on the EP (followed by a Humans remix of “Panic Attack”) is a cover of INXS’s “Never Tears Us Apart.” Smith says the duo’s Andrew Braun chose to cover the song because the band was a big influence on him growing up. It’s also the first song they’ve put out that Braun himself produced.

Rococode has also been one of the many acts involved in the #ImagineOct20th movement—they even played as part of an affiliated show in Brooklyn while there for CMJ. Smith and I spoke on Oct. 19, just a few hours before the Liberals formed a majority government.

While Smith’s hope that a minority government would be elected didn’t come to pass, she did have one suggestion for all the political parties: “I think they need to work together instead of beating each other up so much.”

With the EP release behind them, look for Rococode on tour next month:

Nov 17: Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange (Regina)

Nov 18: Starlite Room (Edmonton)

Nov 19: Broken City (Calgary)

Nov 20: The Slice (Lethbridge)

Nov 21: Spirit Bar (Nelson, BC)

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