Not much is known about the duo known as Routine Involvements. Some would say they are immortal aliens, coming to earth for an extended vacation. Others would say that they are just two sarcastic kids who like any excuse to be at the Bug Jar. We got a chance to meet up with them because immortal or not they play some pretty kick ass garage music.
How did Routine Involvement get started?
Ben: One summer I was writing a bunch of music, because I hated my life. I wanted to start playing it out so I got one of my friends, Andy, to play with me. We were a duo at that time, under the name of Stereophone. Stuff started progressing and Atom asked if he could join.
Atom: We lived together for a year before that. We were in another band together called Noise on Vinyl, we moved in together to make it easier to practice. It didn’t really help with practicing or really anything in general. Noise on Vinyl didn’t last long once we moved in.
Ben: We had a good year off after the band broke up. When I started playing in Sterophone, Atom asked to play bass. I thought that was weird because he had always been a drummer more than anything, but Andy was playing drums so it all worked out.
Once we started playing together again Atom and I started jamming a lot again. It sort of reinvigorated our musical connection. Andy eventually forfeited his drummer spot once he heard Atom on drums. He moved to guitar and we got another friend to play bass for us.
We had this whole band for a while and because of life the band dwindled down to just the two of us.
Atom: We were already jamming a lot as duo a lot in our basement anyway. It was just easier for us to continue to play as a duo.
Ben: Once of the rest of the band left we changed our name to Routine Involvements.
How did you come up with the name Routine Involvement?
Ben: We didn’t really like the name Stereophone, there were a lot of other bands with that name.
Atom: It’s the name of a song or lyrics to a song I can’t remember…
Ben: This record called Spy Thriller had an intro that said ‘The routine involvements of agent 007… something something”. We were running out of ideas and for some reason Routine Involvements stuck.
Do you have any new projects in the works?
Atom: We have been writing a lot recently.
Ben: We have had a lot of songs actually. They just popped out of nowhere.
Atom: We have been trying this thing recently where half of practice we will perform the old stuff or old stuff that he is working on and then we will switch instruments. Ben will play the drums and I will play guitar.
Ben: It’s getting there. We aren’t quite ready to show the world yet. But we are writing songs with both setups. We are also into hip hop. We are working on some other stuff to incorporate into our sound; be something more that a garage band.
Atom: We are trying to find a balance with old and new songs without sounding completely different from one album to another. Some bands have a better idea where their songs are going, they have structure. The way we write is a lot more organic, we work on songs forever.
Ben: We just play and play and play until a song comes out of it. We have had one idea turn to ten ideas once we kept playing and evolving.
What do you think of the Rochester Music scene?
Atom: I like it; I wish it was just a little bit bigger though. It feels pretty comfortable. Mostly I wish it was easier to get people to come to shows. It’s not bad though.
Ben: The music is good. Finally Rochester is stepping back up to bat. Rochester has had its periods of time where it was really doing well musically.
I think now is one of those times where it is really coming back, especially in favor of the genres that we play with. There is a lot of garage rock and punk music out there. It is hard to get exposure here. Everyone you see on the street is in a band now.
I think everyone has gotten to damn bored in this city that everyone has started side projects. Everyone has a creative outlet. It’s becoming more communal too. We are both in multiple bands so our network has really expanded. People are becoming much more supportive and open minded in this city.
Atom: I feel like because so many people are in bands, that people are more concerned about making good music and having a good time. No one is thinking they are going to join a band to get laid and become rich. When you hear someone bragging about being in band your first reaction is “What just one?”
Ben: It feels good let go of that mind set. It seems more about believing in your scene now. People used to talk shit about our local scene. Now if you hear someone talk shit about the scene there are ten people jumping out of the wood work to defend it.