(Originally taken from http://nemesis.com.au/clubcow/rollo.htm - but no longer available there).
Copyright 1997 by Lisa Foley and Paul Dowsley
AS HEARD ON CLUB COW, SATURDAYS 6-10PM, 98.1FM, ECB-FM (which has since changed its callsign to EASTERN FM), MELBOURNE
Aired: June 7, 1997
Recorded: May 23, 1997
The interview transcript is broken into eight segments.
Paul: Is that Rollo?
Rollo: Yeah, that it is indeed.
Lisa: Hello how are you?
Rollo: Yeah very well indeed, I’m on a conference call am I?
Paul: Yeah we can both hear you and you can hear both of us.
Rollo: Right, brilliant.
Paul: How you been?
Rollo: Yeah very good thanks very much.
Lisa: Are you in the middle of doing something in the studio at the moment?
Rollo: Yeah we are, as we speak we are just finishing off…I was supposed to be doing a remix but about five days ago I just got dropped by my girlfriend so instead of doing a remix me and a couple of friends just wrote a song about that so we’re just, as we speak, we’re just finishing that off.
Lisa: That sounds very sad.
Rollo: Yeah it is very sad, and the song’s very sad as well so there you go.
Paul: Why did she dump you?
Rollo: I dunno, I think because I didn’t give enough or something like that. I’ve no idea, but there you go, I’ll just have to move on and be strong.
Paul: And are you going to release this song?
Rollo: Yeah definitely, God I can’t wait.
Paul: What’s it called? Get Out Of My Life You Fat Cow or something like that? A bit of revenge never went astray I always thought.
Rollo: (Laughing) Now I’m not going to tell you what it’s called because you’re making a mockery of my love.
Lisa: I’m not. He might be but I’m not. See I’ve got that feminine touch, we understand these things.
Rollo: Good for you.
Lisa: Are you releasing it under your own name?
Rollo: I thought I might because we’ve done a couple of ‘Rollo Goes’ records and I thought I might call this ‘Rollo Goes It Alone’. But then again I might not.
Paul: We’re only a minute into the interview and we’re already crying.
Rollo: I know.
Lisa: Is it a big, epic track like your other ‘Rollo Goes’ tracks?
Rollo: Yeah I think it clocks in at about 11 minutes. So it’s quite a big one.
Paul: Has it got vocals?
Rollo: Yeah it’s got vocals by a singer called Pauline Taylor. We’re producing her album anyway which is a totally different…she does folky soul kinda stuff.
Paul: We’ve heard her on stuff like ‘Let This Be A Prayer’.
Rollo: Yeah, that’s right. Yes it’s very like that kind of thing, sort of a little spiritual ditty.
Lisa: Do you mention her name (girlfriend) in it at all or is it anonymous?
Rollo: Ah no, it’s anonymous because I might meet someone else in the meantime.
Lisa: (Laughing) Oh that’s true.
Rollo: And then I can say to them ‘This is about you.’
Lisa: It’s like tattooing someone’s name on your arm isn’t it? You can’t do that.
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah exactly. I’ll tell you what you can do on a record if you ever have the privilege to be able to make your own record. When you’re cutting the record, you can actually get a little pen knife and you can scratch in any message you want right where the sleeve thing is and every record that’s printed after that will have the same message on it.
Lisa: There you go.
Rollo: And in fact, on some of our early records there are various messages to each other and stuff like that.
Lisa: What are they? Let us in on it.
Rollo: I can’t remember. You can actually read them if you’ve got 12-inch records I imagine they’ll be on them. I can’t remember which ones we did though.
Paul: Yeah we’ve got a couple of them here actually, we’ll just grab…
Rollo: There might be one. Sister Bliss did a song called ‘Bad Man’… no, on ‘Life’s A Bitch’, I think there’s one to this man who then she dropped.
Paul: Oh yes, we actually have got one here. It’s ‘Hold That Sucker Down’ and engraved in the space between the end of the track and the label on the record it says ‘Check X12004…’
Lisa: (Laughing) It’s very cryptic.
Paul: Wait for it, ‘dash A1’.
Rollo: (Laughing) See I told you, we leave loving messages.
Paul: (Laughing) It’s coded. Only aliens can understand it.
Rollo: I’ve been in love with R2-D2 for a long time.
Lisa: You spend so much time in the studio. Do you have much time for anything apart from dance music?
Rollo: Apart from get dropped by girls, no not really. I think that’s probably why I was dropped. I kinda work four days a week in the studio and then I generally have to do one day of business running around. I still get my weekends off like the rest of the world.
Lisa: You’ve had a very hectic schedule with Faithless doing a lot of touring and performing. Has that taken up your time?
Rollo: Yeah that’s been amazing. The bad thing about it is that it keeps me away from making records. The good thing is that in the last four weeks I’ve been to South Africa, New York, L.A., Holland, Germany, back through France to here. It’s all been paid for and all I’ve had to do generally is sit down, answer a few questions, turn up at a gig, get drunk, you know. It’s a brilliant life.
Lisa: What a life, yeah.
Paul: It sounds pretty much like an average Saturday night with this radio show. The drunk bit, at least. Because of the way music works and you have to record a track months and months before it is actually released, you would have to try and stay ahead, of the sound of dance music as it will be six months or a year down the track. What do you the future sounds are in dance?
Rollo: Ah, wow. I think it’s still expanding in the sense that it’s getting less one category and you know you can only make music in one style and stuff like that. To me, definitely what’s exciting is things like tempo changes in records, using live instruments and I think people, in this country anyway, are more educated to dance music now, so you can be a little more subtle.
Lisa: So those tempo changes mean that the DJs have to be more and more clever to beat mix it.
Rollo: Yeah, exactly. To get on the case, yeah.
Paul: So when somebody has a track that they want Rollo to remix, what do they do? They obviously ring up Cheeky, which is your record label there in the UK, and beg.
Rollo: Yeah yeah. They do that, and then they go to the bank and get a big bank loan.
Paul: (Laughing) No, they rob the bank.
Rollo: (Laughing) And then they send the tape over basically. And then we have a listen down this end.
Paul: Do you ever really reveal how much you normally charge for a remix?
Rollo: No, but it is different for different things. If a little label sent in something you really want to work on, then you’ll do it for virtually nothing. If it’s a big major label, then you’re talking lots and lots of thousands (of pounds).
Paul: Take them for all they’re worth.
Lisa: Are you a millionaire these days?
Rollo: I wish I was. I couldn’t tell you how much I have. Not a million, though.
Lisa: You could have been a millionaire and available. That would have been good news for our listeners.
Rollo: Exactly, that would be good. I’ll put an ad in… That’s what I’ll do.
Paul: Broadcast it on this station now if you like.
Rollo: Yeah. Hello Australia!
Paul: How many remixes do you get a month and how many do you have to knock back?
Rollo: I would say we get one a day at least.
Paul: For you personally?
Rollo: Yeah, totally. I once started doing a list just to see what we get sent but I gave up. This week we’ve been sent Tin Tin Out, Apollo 440, a Bjork thing and Moby. That’s this week’s offering so far. And what day is it? Thursday.
Paul: Which track of Moby’s? ‘Oil’?
Rollo: No, he’s done a new one for the new James Bond film, apparently. It’s the title tune for the new James Bond film.
Lisa: Let us in on a secret. What’s Moby’s track like?
Rollo: I’ll tell you the truth. I haven’t listened to the Moby one yet. We’ve been working all day. Generally, when I get up in the morning I just bung on whatever tapes have come around.
Lisa: What percentage of those tracks you receive would you say that you remix?
Rollo: About one in 50 maybe. Maybe less.
Lisa: You’ve worked on dozens of tracks, if you were to rank your favourites, what would be the best?
Rollo: Best I would say are Felix, Gloworm.
Paul: Hang on, Felix’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’?
Rollo: Yeah ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Gloworm. There’s quite a few I like. Give me a best number, do you know what I mean?
Paul: Top three.
Rollo: Okay. Top three would have be Kristine W ‘Feel What You Want’.
Paul: Is there a particular mix of that?
Rollo: The Our Tribe Mix. Ah, ‘Salva Mea’ Faithless, the Epic Mix of that and also I reckon Felix ‘Don’t You Want Me’.
Lisa: Those tracks have the ability to change your mood. They’re almost like taking drugs without taking drugs. How do you do that? How do you do music that makes people feel that way?
Rollo: (Smiling) I don’t know, God. It’s a very nice thing to say though. It is down to the chords a lot of the time and I’d like to think it’s down to trying to be true to myself in the music I make. Without being too serious about it, I’m not one for compromise in any sense. Not in the sense I won’t work with people but if I want this like this then that’s how I want it and I’m not interested if it sells. I want people to like it but it’s most important that I like it a lot. So I would like to think that plays a bit of a part, that at least your music has a sense of honesty and heart about it and people can really feel that. But musically that comes through the chords we choose. I don’t think I’ve ever done a record in a major key, ever. They’re all in minor keys which is always to me the sadder and more meaningful key.
Lisa: And what emotions do you feel when you hear your own tracks?
Rollo: It depends. We just did a gig in Germany in front of 30,000 people and hearing ‘Insomnia’ and just seeing 30,000 people - and they’re not dancing like they dance in a club, they’re doing that sort of rock stadium dancing. You know, just pounding up and down like we we’re Nirvana or something.
Lisa: Not moshing?
Rollo: Yeah, whatever it’s called. Yeah that horrible kinda… That was an amazing experience. That was truly amazing. In the right context, hearing your own music is brilliant, but also I’ve just been to America on what’s called a Promo Tour where you just have to shake people’s hands. So you’re going to all these meetings and everywhere, in these horrible office buildings, in the background your music is playing. There’s nothing to turn you off your own album quicker than hearing it in that context, do you know what I mean?
Paul: Yes, like if you got into a lift and you heard it there.
Rollo: Exactly. All day, every day.
Lisa: (Laughing) It’ll be a real pain when they start doing flute versions and pan pipe versions of ‘Insomnia’.
Rollo: (Laughing) Totally. I’ll be committed by then.
Paul: (Laughing) So will we. Try, if you can, to capture that emotion and describe what your music sounds like. We read one review that said for instance, that Faithless ‘Can’t be categorised and won’t be categorised’.
Rollo: Someone once said to me ‘How can you make records that are both happy and sad at the same time?’ And that is kind of what the core of our music is about. It’s about that mixture of well, sad mood but there’s something uplifting about it or meaningful. And even whatever tempo we’re doing, the slower stuff on the ‘Reverence’ album or doing dance mixes, the thing I’m always going for is a sense of space and the sense that you can get lost in it a bit, in the texture and stuff. The fundamental bottom line of our music is that it has a central core of sadness. And I also think it’s a little bit shabby as well. It’s like a faded carpet that your grandma died on, do you know what I mean?
Lisa: (Laughing) A comfortable pair of slippers?
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah, exactly.
Paul: (Laughing) Hey I’ve just realised you got out earlier of telling us what you though were your less that outstanding remixes.
Rollo: That’s a good one. Okay yeah. ‘Oh What A World’, that Sister Bliss single. I didn’t like that very much. What ones haven’t been successful? I did a Sunscreem one which didn’t really work.
Rollo: Yeah that’s right. I didn’t quite get the mix right on that. And then I did the last Moby one ‘When I Reach For My Revolver’. And I did that, and it’s funny, I didn’t think it was brilliant. I didn’t get it right between the vocals and I didn’t marry them up with the backing track. But now they’ve just offered me this new one so maybe they weren’t so unhappy. Right in the early days, I don’t know if you know, I did a Captain Hollywood record.
Lisa: Oh really?
Paul: No, I didn’t know that.
Rollo: Yeah, ‘Only You’ I think, I did a remix on that. It’s one of the very early ones which I probably shouldn’t have done. When you start out, you’ll remix anything that moves. It’s like cash, you know. And as you get on a bit you get a bit fussier.
Paul: What are your thoughts on so-called ‘cheesy’ dance?
Rollo: I hate dance music that doesn’t seem to have any meaning there where you can tell people are chasing in or they’re just making records for the sake of making records - they’ve got nothing particular to say or anything. And I think generally, to me, that is what cheesy dance music is - when you can just tell it’s as hollow as it sounds. It’s just made, basically, for someone’s money or ego or something like that. I think when people start making music, people who really want to make music, you do want to express yourself, you do have something to say, however silly or banal it would be. So I think that’s how I would define the difference between cheesy house music and sort of normal house music. Obviously what happens with a lot of our stuff because it’s quite euphoric and big, it’s called handbag, which I always find relatively insulting in the sense it sounds like we gave it no thought. Do you know what I mean? Like we just plonked it down. What I find with criticism or defining things or whatever, you just do your own music and you just keep doing it and keep plugging away, and fundamentally, if people like it, you go a bit beyond the definitions of what you are. You’re able to surprise people and stuff.
Paul: See it depends, if it was called handbag in the sense of a glow-mesh handbag, then you could be upset.
Rollo: That’s very different. Now I understand.
Paul: But if it was a leather handbag, that would be more of a compliment. It’s the styles of handbag, I think.
Rollo: (Smiling) Yeah, exactly. And if it’s a Gucci handbag, then you know you’re dealing with class.
Paul: This is right. So your music would be a Gucci handbag.
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah, exactly.
Lisa: Or would it be just a good vinyl handbag.
Rollo: (Smiling) Yeah, exactly.
Lisa: Pardon the pun there.
Paul: Have you got any examples of what you would call the worse cheesy dance? Folk who are just cashing in on that sound?
Rollo: DJ Quicksilver, ‘Bellissima’.
Rollo: Yeah, absolutely. How he made that record was that he got sent the samples to remix ‘Salva Mea’ by the German record company. All our sounds. And then four weeks later, he’d done that record. I think that is cashing in. I mean, I don’t mind… being copied is brilliant. Something like that Sash! record ‘Encore En Fois’, which we’re getting publishing off…
Paul: You getting some royalties for that because it sounds so much like yours?
Rollo: Yeah, it’s in negotiation at the moment with the lawyers from the two publishing companies. But the point I want to make about that record is it is a blatant copy, but when I first heard it I did actually like it. Do you know what I mean? It’s great innovating things and letting other people copy you. What was the original question? It was about cheesy records, wasn’t it? Yeah, it was nothing to do with…
Paul: No, but we’ve got onto something very interesting.
Rollo: There are a huge amount of dance records I hate, in fact. There are far more dance records I hate than like. Just in the sense that they don't move me at all. The ones I remember are the ones I like.
Paul: Are you in a legal battle, if you like, with DJ Quicksilver as well?
Rollo: No, not with him.
Paul: Why wouldn’t you pick that up, when he has used the samples of ‘Salva Mea’?
Rollo: Because you can’t prove it. You know what I mean? He can say ‘I never had the DAT (Digital Audio Tape)’. It’s not worth it after a while. I don’t know if it is illegal to use someone’s samples.
Paul: You can’t tell me that you’ve never done that, can you?
Rollo: No. I bloody can’t. But then on the other hand, when we were asked to remix BBE (‘Seven Days And One Week’), so we get all the sounds for BBE, we don’t the next week go and put all those great sounds from BBE into a new record. We’ve got the sounds and maybe in a couple of years we’ll use them or something. But there’s sort of an etiquette to being a remixer.
Lisa: Yeah, you’ve got to have a bit of integrity about you.
Lisa: There are heaps of rip-offs being done of your tracks at the moment. Are you going to take all of them to court?
Rollo: No, not at all. Only the ones… no, not at all.
Paul: Because then you would be a millionaire.
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah. Maybe I will then.
Lisa: We want to ask you about some identification issues. Rumour has it that you and Sister Bliss are Huff and Puff. Is that true?
Rollo: No, but me and another guy. Me and a guy called Ben.
Paul: Ben is Puff?
Rollo: No, well yeah. No I think he’s become Huff now. Yeah, no I think I’m Puff.
Paul: You’re Puff?
Rollo: Yeah, I can’t remember which one I was, actually. I wanted to be Huff, I think. But I think I’m Puff.
Lisa: (Laughing) Are you a magic dragon?
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah.
Paul: Did you try and keep that under wraps - that that was you?
Rollo: Yeah. Most people in Britain don’t know. They really don’t. And that was what was so satisfying about that record. It’s just getting re-released over here in about three or four weeks. When it got played here, there’s an important dance show - Pete Tong’s mix show every week on Radio One. He has something called the essential new tune which is the record of the week. And so when it got made record of the week on that, and no-one knew it was us at all, so it was just good because we hadn’t had to use our name to still have a big record.
Paul: Even Pete Tong didn’t know it was you?
Rollo: No-one knew for the first month-or-so because we literally did these white labels.
Lisa: It’s been released under a different label than Cheeky altogether.
Rollo: Yeah totally. The whole point was we didn’t want the trail to come back to us. I thought it’s a really moody down-beat record and I love it, you know, it’s one of my favourite things I made last year, so I just thought ‘I wonder if we just let it go out in this world on its own with no remixer’s name, nothing like that. Put it out and see what happens.’
Lisa: You can do that. I mean, you’ve produced stuff under so many different names that people have loved. The OT Quartet, Felix, even Usura. You’ve done so much stuff and it’s all you. It’s amazing.
Rollo: Thank you. (Laughs)
Paul: Continuing with some identification things. Are you one-half of Felix with Red Jerry?
Rollo: No, there’s three of us. It’s me, a guy called Felix and Red Jerry.
Paul: And who is Felix?
Rollo: Felix was then a tax inspector and now he remixes under the name Party Crashers.
Lisa: Yourself and Rob D are widely credited as being Our Tribe and the OT Quartet, but occasionally there appears a name ‘P. Trolloppe’. Who is that?
Rollo: No, that.. see that.. no, no P. Trolloppe doesn’t exist. I can’t even go into that.
Paul: (Laughing) Oh my. Do you understand why people are so confused about things you’ve done?
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah. We just thought it was a funny name. P. Trolloppe. So we put it on there.
Lisa: (Laughing) It’s kind of embarrassing to say it, isn’t it?
Rollo: Who would dare call themselves P. Trolloppe? Paul: So then Our Tribe is just you and Rob D.? Rob Dougan?
Rollo: Yeah. And Collette sung it as well. Rob D. is Australian, you might or might not know.
Rollo: I met Rob in Australia in 1990. We actually got a record deal with a record company over there called Roo Art. We never had anything released or anything. In fact, I took the little money they gave us and got homesick, so I came back to England and then Rob got chucked out of NIDA, if you know what NIDA is…
Paul: The acting academy.
Rollo: Yeah, for overacting or something. So he had nothing better to do, so he came over to the UK and he lived with me and we carried on making music together except this time we got some stuff released and that kind of thing.
Paul: Maybe he should have, with his overacting skills, joined 'Neighbours'.
Rollo: Yeah, exactly. It’s funny you should say that because he is at this very moment producing Kylie Minogue.
Rollo: So there you go.
Paul: Her new album?
Paul: Have you heard any of it?
Rollo: Ah, no. He won’t play it to me. In fact, he was too embarrassed to even tell me he was doing it.
Paul: You’re not serious. Is there still a cringe around Kylie?
Rollo: I think so. I don’t think there’s much around her at all at the moment apart from she’s a little goddess.
Paul: (Smiling) Would you remix Kylie Minogue, a track of hers?
Rollo: No we were asked to write with her and we said no.
Paul: The reason was purely because of time?
Rollo: (Laughing) Ah, yeah, totally. The thing about writing songs is that it’s great to give them to singers who can express them. Do you know what I mean? And we write quite, sort of, impassioned songs. Kylie isn’t great at expressing… (Smiling) I like Kylie, I don’t have a problem with Kylie. Why are you hassling me? (Laughing) I just didn’t want to write a song with her.
Paul: See, for Kylie maybe you’d have to write lyrics like ‘Get up and dance, wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care’.
Rollo: (Smiling) ‘I should be so happy, happy, I should be so happy’.
Paul: We’ve linked you to several tracks of Usura’s, but not ‘Open Your Mind’. Did you actually do any work on their biggest hit, ‘Open Your Mind’?
Rollo: No, I didn’t do ‘Open Your Mind’, which was by far the best one. No. I met them after they’d done that. They asked me to produce and write some of the tracks on an album they did, for which I’ve never actually received a penny of royalties.
Paul: Have you been involved in any other tracks that you’re not credited on like Huff and Puff’s track?
Rollo: There’s one, I might be credited on it though. There’s one by a band called Diss Cuss, called ‘Pissed Apache’ and there’s a track by Hyper Go Go called ‘High’ as well. They were both done in my studio.
Paul: We have tracked down lists on the internet, for instance, that do have you linked to both of those. So someone’s done their investigative work.
Rollo: Bloody Hell. (Laughing)
Paul: No escaping them.
Lisa: Have you not looked at the internet sites about yourself?
Rollo: The only one I saw, ’cause I don’t have a computer like that, but Jamie Catto, he’s one of the members of Faithless, photocopied one off and all it was a track listing of all my records with all the credits. And I thought, ‘what poor sod bothered to sit down and do that’, do you know what I mean? It’s very, sort of, gratifying but you also think (smiling) ‘what a loser, get a life’. It’s brilliant, love my music but, don’t…anyway, what the hell.
Lisa: Now, back to your time spent in Australia, can you tell us where you were living and what your memories are of being here?
Rollo: I arrived in Sydney and I lived in Newtown, Glebe and then finally moved up a bit and ended up in Paddo (Paddington). And I was there for about a year and a half. Two weeks after I’d arrived I was in court up for assault, (Laughing) which was really unfortunate since I generally wouldn’t hurt a fly, so that was quite a beginning.
Paul: So who did you deck?
Rollo: This guy, this horrible guy, and if he’s out there listening, Lindsay, I’m pleased I did it.
Paul: (Laughing) Hang on, you’re not getting out of it that easy, why did you knock him out?
Rollo: ‘Cause he’s a psycho. (Laughing) I don’t even want to go into it.
Paul: (Laughing) Just tell us this, did you do him good?
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah, bloody hell did I do him good.
Paul: (Laughing) Very good. And then, you were saying, after your brush with the law…
Rollo: I worked in the Valhalla cinema up in Glebe. I got sacked from five bars. I came to Melbourne for three days but it rained for all three days, so I thought 'I’m going home'.
Paul: That’s funny. You must have, by terrible coincidence, been here on the three days a year that it does rain. Maybe it’s three days a year that it doesn’t rain. I can’t remember. You were actually in Australia at the end of last year, with Sister Bliss.
Rollo: Yeah, with Sister Bliss. That was quite amazing actually because we did a club called Decadence in Sydney on New Year’s. We did one in Melbourne as well. It was just fun to be the other side of the world for New Year’s Eve, which was really good. And we went to Thailand the week before. It wasn’t quite how I remembered it, Australia. When I was there like five years ago, probably nearly six now, maybe because I was younger I just thought it was all much bigger and cleaner and more amazing. I got there and Sydney was a bit dirtier than I remembered it. ’Cause I was determined that when I went over there I was going to persuade Sister Bliss that when we retired we’d come and live on a little farm in the middle of the outback. ’Cause I had such a brilliant time the first time, you know, when I lived there for a year and a half. Amazing.
Paul: And so when you came back at the end of last year with Sister Bliss did you punch anyone out?
Rollo: Not at all, I had a most peaceful and edifying time, it was really good.
Paul: No one took your fancy?
Rollo: (Laughing) No. You got to see me. If you saw me… I don’t punch anybody out, I’m the first to run.
Lisa: You sound so humble and down to earth. Are you like that and also very confident in a quiet way?
Rollo: Ah no, I’m very loud but not confident. I’m the total opposite of that actually. I’m totally insecure and neurotic and all those kind of horrible things. Which I’ve only just realised actually, since I got dropped five days ago. But then I can have a laugh with the rest of them. But I love being happy. It’s very funny because people say how sad and stuff our music is and then when they meet me I think they kind of want me to be a bit more odd. And then I’m just like…
Lisa: A normal guy.
Rollo: (Laughing) Yeah, I’ve got one head, two legs and I can, you know, crack a joke with the best of them. Yeah, I’m definitely happy but underneath I’m deeply sensitive and insecure and I need some good loving. Lisa: Would you say that you’re good at what you do?
Rollo: Yeah, yeah I’m definitely good at what I do. And I’d like to find out what else I’m good at. I think it’s an accident that I’ve…I don’t know how I’ve managed to find out (that I’m good at making music). And I don’t think that gives me any special benefit over anyone else because being good at making music is something that’s quite instinctive, and I think, you’re not born with, but it’s built into you. There’s no craft you can really learn for it, do you know what I mean? So you can’t really feel arrogant about being good at something that is sort of natural rather than learned.
Lisa: Inherent in you.
Rollo: Yeah. So I’m definitely good at what I do, which is basically putting music together. That is kind of my job.
Lisa: Some people say that you’ve got a touch of brilliance, almost genius. What do you say about that?
Rollo: (Smiling) Do they now?
Lisa: (Smiling) Oh they do.
Rollo: (Smiling) Who exactly are those people?
Lisa: (Smiling) I’m not telling!
Rollo: (Smiling) I shall take them to the mountains!
Paul: (Smiling) And punch them out! (Laughing) No seriously, your music, it sounds like it comes from the great mind of an old composer like Mozart or Beethoven, in that sort of genius way. We’re not joking.
Rollo: (Laughing) That’s wicked.
Paul: Lisa, for instance, has said to me privately that she wouldn’t be surprised - and this is serious, I’m not joking - if you were one of those composers reincarnated.
Rollo: Do you reckon? Yeah, well it’s really funny that because my mum, who’s always been my greatest fan right, when she first heard my music she said, ‘Rollo, you know what, that sounds like classical music to me.’ And she’s really down with her classical music. I definitely like classical music. I definitely think of life in the sense of history, and that’s what’s really important about making music and why I try not to compromise what I do. But I definitely want to, in ten or fifteen years or whenever I stop, have a body of work, like a set of work that develops and hopefully gets better and better, but still sounds like one person has been involved in that.
Lisa: I get a hint from speaking to you and listening to your music that you have a bit of a spiritual edge about you. Would you agree?
Rollo: Yeah I think so. Yeah. It’s very hard ’cause I’m kind of not into, or I haven’t been into recently, wholistic medicine or rebirthing or anything like that. But I definitely believe in a kind of higher force, in that something is looking after me or there is a definite relationship between me and my surroundings which is more than just me being a human and my surroundings being a tree or this or that or the other. We definitely influence each other. I do fundamentally believe in God, without a doubt. (Smiling) And I don’t go to church, and I’m not a virgin.
Paul: (Laughing) Right, well thanks for getting all those things off your chest. So tell us then, what does the lyric in ‘Reverence’, for instance, ‘You don’t need eyes to see, you need vision’ mean?
Rollo: I didn’t write any of the lyrics on any of the rap.
Paul: That was Maxi Jazz?
Rollo: Maxi wrote them himself and that’s why I love Maxi. I just think well that just means a million and one things to me, ‘You don’t need eyes to see, you need vision’. Oh God, that’s why I love his lyrics. I think that whole track ‘Reverence’ is like a little message to the world. It’s not pretentious. It’s not overbearing. It’s just telling you a little bit about how you can live your life. And that’s just one of the many brilliant lines in that rap I think, for me. It was amazing meeting him in the sense that the first time I just gave him the title for a track. I said it was called ‘Scream’ which turned out to be ‘Salva Mea’. I explained to him it was about frustration and that’s what I wanted it to be about. And I played him the backing track and he came back a week and a half later and he just reeled of this rap and it was just superb. When people can say something better than you can, but something you totally understand and you totally appreciate, that’s an amazing gift.
Lisa: We’ve kept the most important question until last. What’s your favorite TV show?
Rollo: TV show. What is my favourite TV show? ‘Fraser’.... ‘Frasier’.
Paul: (Smiling) It must be good. You can’t even remember what it’s called! And is that because it’s set in a radio studio?
Rollo: No it’s just because it’s so funny. Week in week out, it never lets me down - like an old dog.
Paul: (Laughing) What’s your most-used phrase?
Paul: We always thought that was pronounced ‘wickt’.
Rollo: (Laughing) No. That’s ‘Whacked’. Wicked’s the one, man. I say ‘man’ a lot as well, which is really stupid.
Lisa: (Smiling) It’s very black of you. What’s one thing that hardly anybody knows about you? Like I’ll just let a couple of secrets away. I believe that you’re a MENSA member. (Mensa is a club for people with extremely high IQs). Is that true?
Rollo: That’s a lie.
Lisa: Did somebody make that up?
Rollo: Yeah, that’s a lie. Well, I made it up to tell you the truth. (Laughing). I put it in this press release once as a joke. I swear on my life. I didn’t think anyone would believe it. And then it went in. Anyway.
Paul: Because we’ve actually added it to our own biographies now.
Rollo: Right okay. Way to go.
Paul: And we think we might be able to get away with it, although people just won’t believe it I don’t think. Another thing maybe people don’t know about you is that you were expelled from Scouts?
Rollo: Yeah, that is really true.
Lisa: Anyone who is expelled from Scouts has got to be cool.
Rollo: They’re going to have a good life after, yeah.
Paul: Why’d you get expelled? Couldn’t you tie knots properly or something?
Rollo: It’s a really boring story. Basically it’s to do with chocolate biscuits.
Paul: Oh, we don’t want to know. And can you write upside-down or was that a joke as well?
Rollo: No, that’s really true and I’ve been asked to prove that on camera at various times. I can totally do that.
Lisa: How did you learn that?
Rollo: I can speak upside down as well, if you want.
Lisa: (Laughing) Okay.
Rollo: (Laughing) Boom boom.
Paul: Do you hate doing interviews?
Rollo: No, not really. Not when I’m as merry as this. Not at all. I have to say that when I’ve been doing this interview there are five people sitting in the studio waiting for me to come in again.
Lisa: Now Rollo, can you just tell me what is your favorite radio show in the whole world?
Rollo: Well it’s a tough one. There are a lot of good ones, but without a doubt, I dunno whether you’ve heard it, my favorite one is Club Cow. Do you guys know that one at all?
Paul: Well, we’re a little close to that one, yes.
Rollo: Whenever I’m in Melbourne I never miss it. I’ve got my friend in Melbourne who sends me the tape every week and it’s fantastic.
Paul: (Laughing) We’d have to agree.
Rollo: (Laughing) Wicked.
Paul: Rollo, you’re a gentleman, you’re a good man and you’re member of MENSA. Thank you for…
Rollo: (Smiling) No, I’m not. I’ve told you I’m not.
Paul: Thank you for talking to us.
Rollo: Thank you for having me.
Lisa: Can you please thank those people in the other studio who have been so patient as to wait for you.
Rollo: I will. They’re probably finding various ways to amuse themselves. I wouldn’t worry, though.
Paul: And you go in there and punch them out for us.
Rollo: (Laughing) I’ll do that indeed. Thanks a lot then.
Paul: Thank you again.
Rollo: Thanks a lot Paul.
Lisa: Okay, bye.
Rollo: Bye Lisa.