HomeInterviewsHappy Mondays with Asbury Park's metal/rock outfit, Roulette

Happy Mondays with Asbury Park’s metal/rock outfit, Roulette

Hailing from Asbury Park’s tight-knit hard rock/metal community, Roulette’s music encourages listeners to embrace who they are, be genuine and never change in order to gain someone else’s approval.

Roulette is Jess Bariletti on vocals, Mike Haider on lead guitar, Greg Scarpino on rhythm guitar, Anthony Panduri on bass and Joe Scarpino on drums. From Bariletti’s powerful vocals to the unique combination of heavy bass lines, hard-hitting guitar riffs and double bass drumming, Roulette’s music creates a sense of urgency that gets your heart racing.

The Pop Break interviewed Roulette to find out more about their genre, the philosophy behind their music, their history of creating supernatural/horror-themed music videos and details about their upcoming tour and new music.

Since you guys are based out of Asbury Park, what is the metal/hard rock music scene like there? What’s the best part about it? Asbury Park is a great incubator for musicians of all types. There aren’t too many “hard rock/ metal” bands here so we get to know everyone pretty quickly in that particular “scene.” It’s like our own little tight-knit club of misfits.

From hard rock to metal and punk, what genres or elements stand out the most in your music? We like to play with all those genres of music. We find it really exciting. Our latest album is definitely more on the METAL  side in comparison to our first album, which I think we’d all agree is more in the “punk” area.  There seems to be an organic progression happening with our songwriting in that things are getting heavier.

The influences in music that Jess and  Joe pull from are sometimes drastically different than Mike, Greg, and Anthony. We have a slight age gap in the band. It’s only about five years but, a lot of music comes out in five years, ya know?

We never write a song with a particular genre in mind. We listen without prejudice and bring in those elements as they seem to fit. We’ve covered everything from Lady Gaga to Trivium.

How does the name Roulette reflect who you are as a band? To put it bluntly, it’s because we are all over the place, musically and as people. We approach things in a way that is sporadic, which keeps it all so interesting. We think of our writing process as a game of roulette. We don’t know what we’ll get at the end.

In a previous interview (from 2014), you were talking about how your songs basically poke fun at things in a serious way, and sometimes it’s like you’re complaining about people who complain. To me, it seems that your music is a way of telling people to be more realistic and instead of complaining, they should do something about whatever they’re complaining about. Since that was a couple years back would you be able to expand upon these ideas and explain what your music tends to be about? I don’t think that will go away. We are a group of sarcastic people with a sometimes dark sense of humor. One song off FIRE called “God Complex” takes jabs at the self-obsessed, selfie-culture we seem to have been living in the past few years. You do bring up a good point though. Being realistic is important. Which some people would argue is an ironic statement coming from a group of twenty-somethings trying to make a name in the music industry.

I think where many musicians go wrong is they have expectations or a sense of entitlement. We don’t. No one owes us anything. Most people don’t realize how hard musicians, even ones (like us) on the “local” level, work. You hear your own friends and family sometimes daily, asking “how’s’ that band thing going?” They think it’s some kind of phase. It can be frustrating and disheartening to see how many people don’t actually believe in you. So instead of giving up we just write a song.

The last song on our album “Forlorn” dives into those feelings of frustration. The non-believers motivate us and keep us aiming high.

What message do you want to get across to listeners with your music? Be genuine. Have fun in your own skin. Don’t put on a show for anyone for their approval.

So your last release was in July last year with the Fire EP. Looking back on it, what are you most proud of in terms of this EP? What do you think are the highlights of the EP? Our ever-talented lead guitarist, Mike, recorded the guitars and bass for us. This was the first time we tried doing something like that and it turned out great. Greg, Anthony, and Mike all worked meticulously to get their sound tuned-in just right. I think this is a great achievement as this is only our second EP.

Joe (our drummer) was featured in a playthrough video and write up on Modern Drummer Magazine’s website in large part due to this EP. He’s still psyched about that!

The release party absolutely exceeded our expectations. Thanks in large part to our friends, family, and talented local musicians who helped us put it together. Now we’ll be touring with this EP so we are very happy!

The music video for “Kingdom Here Come” is really cool, I love the supernatural vibes and satanic witch character. What’s the meaning behind the song and the music video? How does the video capture what the song is about? Well, being in a band is kinda like being in your own little cult right? You dress a certain way. You do things that most people don’t do. That was the thought that started the idea for the video. Well that and our affinity for legends and the supernatural.

One day Joe showed up to practice with this drawing of a symbol on paper that resembled a pentagram-esque symbol, he called, “The Kingdom Seal.” He wanted to build this symbol out of a bunch of branches on a large scale for a music video (which we did) and have it a play a pivotal part in our overarching theme for FIRE.

Being that our song “Kingdom Here Come” tells a story of paying your dues to a demonic type character with whom you may have made a deal with out of desperation, it seemed like the perfect fit.

After some brainstorming sessions we came up with the idea of a Witch being our central character to posses the band. In the video we make it appear as if she has taken hold of us. Physically whispering words into Mike and Jess’s ears.

Do you have a favorite music video that you’ve done? If so, what one is it and why does it stand out to you? That’d probably be “BrainDead.” It’s a video from our first album. It was the largest scale video we’ve done. We had a whole make up team that helped us apply zombie effects to nearly 30 people who volunteered to help us. It was really incredible. We got to play like we were fighting our way through the apocalypse. It was a huge effort to make it happen and we are still so grateful to all who helped out to this day.

Do you have new music in the works? If so, what can you tell your fans about it? Yes we do. It’s going to be an entirely self-recorded effort. From top to bottom. We are very eager to finish it but we are not rushing its production. The new music is a little more ambitious. We’ve all had to practice more in order to learn how to execute what we want to do. That is a great thing though, because once you get comfortable, that’s when you get lazy.

So I see that you’re going on tour really soon with THE MÆNSION, which is pretty awesome. What are you looking forward to the most as far as this tour? Yes! We are very excited to be hitting the road. This is our first REAL tour. We are starting in Missouri and heading east for two weeks. We are really looking forward to meeting some new faces and making connections with folks we normally wouldn’t get to meet. Please come say hi!

Along with your upcoming tour, what’s in store for Roulette for the rest of the year? We actually already have some local shows set up for when we get back. Those will run into July. After that I think we are going to focus on recording the rest of our album. We plan on doing some cover releases too. We’ve got one close to done as well. So keep your eyes open for that. It’s unlike anything we’ve done in the past.

Hopefully we find another tour for 2019 too…

If someone has never heard your music before, what song should they hear in order to get an idea of what you’re all about? Actually there’s two. “Forlorn”  It’s heavy. It’s fast. It’s melodic. It’s where we are today. The title track “Fire” would be the other. It shows how we’ve progressed as songwriters. It was a song we never thought we’d finish as it has many intricate pieces that bring it together.


Laura Curry
Laura Curry
Laura Curry is a Rutgers University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Interviewing bands and writing about music is her passion. She is a frequent concert-goer, whether they’re happening in New Brunswick basements, Asbury Park venues, concert halls in NYC and anywhere in between. Alternative rock is her go-to genre (i.e. Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Foals, The Maine and lots more). When she isn’t writing for The Pop Break, she works at the North Brunswick Public Library, which offers plenty of Fantasy/Adventure novels to quench her love of reading. Additionally, she takes on creative projects from dream catchers and scrapbooks to paintings and jewelry making. She’s always happy to talk about her furry Maine Coon cat Austen and his knack for playing fetch and hide and seek. Just try not to ask about her next career move, because trust me, she’s working on it.

Most Recent

Stay Connected