Romain Axisa - "I find it easy to stay grounded because I see it for what it is. It’s just music. As wonderful & magical as it can be, it’s only music." - Stereo Stickman

Romain Axisa “I find it easy to stay grounded because I see it for what it is. It’s just music. As wonderful & magical as it can be, it’s only music.”

-

To coincide with the release of his stunning new single Goodbye Good Days, we were blessed with the opportunity to interview longtime artist and songwriter Romain Axisa.

Romain has built an impressive following over the years, thanks to his passionate devotion to the artform and his captivating street performances.

For this interview, we talk everything from busking and writing to confidence, ambition, music’s history, its future, and plenty more. Here’s the conversation in full.

* * *

Hi Romain, such a pleasure to chat – thank you for your time today! Just to introduce things, where are you currently, and what have you been busy with this past week?

As I am writing just now I am in Paris for the weekend. I’ll be back in England in a couple of days. I’ve just been finishing off the mastering and music video for my next single.

For those who don’t know, how would you describe your approach to making music?

The way I play and write is mainly based on feelings and instincts. Songs are meant to make you feel something, and most of the time – the simpler the better.

“When I see myself back on a video, I can tell there’s a certain amount of passion, but I have no idea where it’s coming from. I don’t even think I want to know.”

You and the guys from The Big Push have made a name for yourselves largely due to your superb busking sets. What is it about street performance that first appealed to you, and does it bring out something different in you as an artist, when compared to the more traditional venue events?

I suppose there is more space for improvisation in busking, which makes it really fun. A show has to be more structured and sometimes it can take away some of the magic. But I do love the anticipation of a show, I find it exciting.

As a fan, I’d say it’s a fine balance between talent and a hypnotically passionate delivery that makes your performances so alluring. When did you first realise you could lose yourself so authentically to music?

I don’t think I’ve ever realised it or told myself ‘oh yeah I can do that’, it just happened naturally. I don’t even know how it happens, when I see myself back on a video or something, I can tell there is a certain amount of passion there but I have no idea where it’s coming from. I don’t even think I want to know, haha.

“How does an atheist feel about God while facing his own death? I’ve asked myself this a lot. Will I want to start believing in an afterlife when I suddenly come close to the end? Answer is: yes, probably.”

Tell us about the brand new single – how did it come to be, what does it mean to you, and what do you hope people take away from it?

The new single coming is one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written. I produced it in one night, it was a very quick process, it just felt like the song fell on my lap to be honest. The guitar riff comes directly from the sort of technique I was using when I first started playing as a teenager and I love the ‘imperfection’ of it.

I would describe the theme of the song as being: How does an atheist feel about God while facing his own death? I’ve asked myself this a lot. Will I want to start believing in an after-life when I suddenly come close to the end? Answer is: yes, probably.

How do you decide what to write about, and do you always keep things personal to your own journey, or does observational story-telling play a role?

Usually lyrics come quite naturally and I like to wait until the theme sort of imposes itself to me rather than forcing it. It’s usually based on personal feelings but I do like to play around with fictional stories too.

Is there a longer project to follow, or is that not on the agenda?

Yes, absolutely. This single is the first from my debut album, which is now finished.

From Elvis to Ray Charles, Bob Marley and even Nancy Sinatra, you cover the classics with such an organic contemporary twist. What do you think it is about the artists of these past eras that makes their music so timeless?

It’s hard to tell. Maybe there was more of a political/revolutionary need for music back in those days which made it more impactful? Maybe it’s only a matter of time and in sixty years people will think the same way about our current artists that we think about Elvis/Bob Marley etc..

In terms of the current scene, who inspires you lately?

I really got into Tamino lately. Specifically his songs Fascination and Cigar. I haven’t heard anyone else with a similar vibe/sound. You can hear the first few seconds of a song and you instantly know it’s him. I’ve also liked Alice Phoebe Lou for a while now.

On a different note I heard a song on tiktok last night called Complex by Katie Gregson-Macleod and it had some of the best lyrics I’ve read.

Do you drive with any particular ambitions in music, or just go with the flow and enjoy the process?

I always had ambitions in music. But they change, because I change as a person and so what makes me happy becomes different. The music business also changes, nowadays you don’t necessary need to sign a major record deal to have a great career and I think that’s fantastic.

I am more creative when I have a lot of freedom and free time. I write better songs this way. I am a lot more aware of what I want these days and it feels good, ’cause the more I know what I want the more I enjoy the process.

I always had ambitions in music. But they change, because I change as a person & so what makes me happy becomes different.

What was it like being part of The Big Push, and what are your feelings on the back of such a huge, sold-out final show with the band?

It was a fantastic experience to be a part of this band and it will always feel good to think about it.

As your audience has grown, has your manner of writing or performing changed at all, and how do you keep yourself grounded and thoughtful in your creative pursuits?

I don’t think anything has changed, no. I even think I write better songs now that I have more experience. I also find it pretty easy to stay grounded because I see it for what it is. It’s just music. As wonderful and magical as it can be, it’s only music.

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

There are two:

1) Music is what you don’t play

2) If you’re just looking for somebody to say ‘Yes’, you’re never gonna get better.

Both from Alan Granville.

Will you be touring or busking further afield in the coming months?

Yes, absolutely. I produced these songs thinking about a live set-up and I already started putting them together with a band, so live shows are coming very soon.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Let’s drive!

* * *

Massive thanks to Romain for his time & insight. Check out the new single from November 28th, and follow Romain on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter & Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *