Meet Roseburg, a four-piece band from a small town in Oregon, whose journey to Utah plays an important role in the band’s diverse sound today. Having recently released their new EP, 2 in a Million, we see the band opening up about the challenges they’ve faced over the years and returning to their roots to deliver some of their most authentic and wholesome work to date.
The alt-rock fusion shares a story of getting a second chance in life in the new EP. In contrast to their debut album’s broad themes, 2 in a Million is a more intimate and personal exploration of the band’s journey. Lead singer Zach Knell shares, “It’s a record of our story, as a band, and our little community we’ve built around it. And how we are so grateful that after all of that, we are back together again with the people we love, doing the thing we love.”
We spoke with the band about the release, digging deeper into its origins, as well as their advice for other band’s who may be struggling and their background of meeting as church missionaries.
First off, let’s get to know you a little better. Can you share how you all came together to form Roseburg, and how you ended up in Utah, despite all coming from Oregon?
Thanks so much for taking some time with us! Yes, the band formed in a small town called Roseburg, Oregon, which is how we got our name. At the time we were teenagers assigned to the area as church missionaries. We came back to Utah to record our first record in our singer, Zach’s hometown. That’s where we’ve been ever since.
Your new EP, 2 in a Million, marks a significant chapter in your journey. It stems from an uncertain period where the future of Roseburg wasn’t clear. Despite the troubles you faced, do you believe that if it wasn’t for those darker times, you would have been able to create 2 in a Million?
Yes, exactly. Where our previous record was really tackling big picture themes about life, 2 in a Million is very much a personal story about the band’s path since the pandemic. In early 2020 we had just released our debut album and had crowd funded a national tour, which was all canceled and derailed by COVID. This ultimately led to the band splitting for a couple years. And as painful as it was, we do believe that it was to our benefit in many ways. One of those benefits is our increased gratitude for the band and its 2nd life.
You’ve mentioned how this EP sees Roseburg taking things back to their roots. Would you say this release is some of your most authentic work to date and how would you describe the transition from your previous releases?
We had many conversations going into writing and recording this EP about how we wanted to focus up our sound and make something more like our debut EP, Heaven vs. Hollywood, as we feel that that is truly the classic Roseburg vibe. I think we succeeded in a lot of ways. I’m sure it helped that during COVID we all started solo projects that allowed us to have more individual creative expression, so when we came back together we could focus more on what Roseburg’s sound truly is when it’s us 4 in a room.
“Sun Sick” specifically digs into some of the struggles you faced during your hiatus, including battling writer’s block. Can you tell us more about the story behind this song and also, do you have any tips for anyone else facing writer’s block?
Yeah, ironically, and really true to form, “Sun Sick” was such a battle to write. We had an instrumental and some melodies for a long time and while it was chill and upbeat, it had a kind of melancholy undertone. And where so much of the EP was focusing on themes of hope, it was really cathartic to write one that could be as venty and complainy as we wanted. We actually wrote a lot of the lyrical themes on a writing retreat in the middle of the summer and we legitimately had gotten fried by the sun and were feeling so sick, and so we liked the idea of likening that feeling to that end of summer gloom… once it was the beginning of summer and we had all this life and inspiration, but now we are going into fall and winter and don’t have any juice left.
“See You Never” and “Flowers” touch on relationships within the band. How do you balance working relationships and friendships, especially when it also comes with additional difficulties such as creative differences?
This is a space where stepping away from the band for a time really helped us. We learned to respect each other so much more as individual creators and leave our egos at the door in the creative room. That’s really what it is, we’ve learned to trust each other, not take criticism too personally, and make compromises for the greater good of the band and the art.
“Good Morning” bookends your single “Goodnight Punk” which was from your previous record. Do you feel like your music has come full circle and what direction do you see it going in the future?
We love writing linearly and always have. Because at the end of the day, our story together is really the life and blood of our creativity. It felt right to us after 2 years away to come back picking up where we left off on our last record. And while a lot has changed, in a lot of ways this record really ties our band’s history up with a bow in a way we all love and find really meaningful.
Do you have a favorite track off the EP and if so, what is it and why?
The whole band has kind of landed on “Obliviamos”, the final track of the EP, as a stand out favorite. I think, one, because it’s a catchy track and I think it’s us really firing on all cylinders musically. But mostly because of how it wraps up a really meaningful record to us in such a hopeful way. The idea of the song is talking about how we’re falling into oblivion, together, whether it leads us, we’re in it together, and we believe we’re going to find our way. I think that’s a really beautiful way to wrap a record.
What message do you hope listeners will take away from the EP?
We always hope that whatever our listeners get out of our music, that they’ll feel whatever that familiar power is within themselves that moves them and gives them hope. That’s what Roseburg is all about. Hope and resilience, despite opposition and darkness.
How would you describe the EP in just three words?