Lead Singer of Broken Iris, Adam Roth | Teen Ink

Lead Singer of Broken Iris, Adam Roth

October 19, 2011
By TheJust ELITE, Ellenton, Florida
TheJust ELITE, Ellenton, Florida
254 articles 202 photos 945 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I feel that a hero is somebody who will stand up for their values and what they believe in and that can take any form. People that have values and have thought them through rather than those who just do what they’re told."-Skandar Keynes

"When it’

I fell in-love with Broken Iris the moment I first heard their song, “Beautiful Girl.” I began looking up their music on YouTube and found that it was more of what I loved about “Beautiful Girl.” The deep lyrics, the dark melodies; everything was perfect. I was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to interview Broken Iris' lead singer, and the co-writer of their songs, Adam Roth.

Rachel-My first question is just for you to tell us a little about yourself.

Adam Roth-About myself?


AR-That's the question? To tell you a little about myself?

RH- Yes. I know, it's not really a question.

AR-Oh, well, my name is Adam Roth. I am 26 years-old. I have a little son. His name is Isaiah. He's six years-old. He's here for the summer right now. He stays in Indiana during the school year.

I have been playing music since I was in the 8th grade, playing the piano, singing. I started playing the guitar around the 8th grade and then joined the choir in my freshman year of {high} school. So, I loved the choir and the whole performance part of that; the harmonies and everything. I formed a band at the age of 15, and I've just been doing music ever since. And that's it so far.

{In February} I'm going to move to L.A. {I'm} gonna try to meet some people down there, for six months to a year, {to} make some music. So, basically that is, in a nutshell, where I am.

That's a hard question to answer!

RH-Yes. [laughs] What {is} the story behind the song "Beautiful Girl?"

AR-Actually my buddy Tony (he was the second songwriter for Broken Iris), we both wrote {Beautiful Girl}. He came up with the chorus, one day, about his ex-girlfriend. 

How it came about, in the beginning, was he came up with the chorus first and {right away} we were like, "This is an awesome song! We have to do this."

Basically, what I remember, we had all kinds of different meetings. But I remember what stuck and what we really started to go for was that it was about a beautiful girl who really was beautiful on the outside, and she held herself on a pedestal. Everyone else did, too, because she was so beautiful and she was so kind and gentle up-front, but in reality, she was pretty dark on the inside; underneath the skin. Naturally, once you got to know her, she revealed her true colors and {she} wasn't really what everyone thought {she} was. You know, angels aren't really supposed to touch the ground. That kinda sums up what it's about.

A lot of people put meanings on it. That's what's so cool about the song. A lot of people actually get a lot of the lyrics...not necessarily wrong, but {they} interpret {them} in different ways, because they misunderstood them.

It's cool reading all of the posts on YouTube about what the people felt the song meant, and in so many different ways. I think that's why that song {has} made such an impact. A lot of people said they really, really liked that song, so I'm glad to be a part of it; {having written} about fifty percent, basically.

It was just a collaboration of lyrics, things {tossed between} Tony and I, and we knew from the beginning that it was going to be a big song. We were like, "People are gonna like it!" We had a feeling about it.

It was a very emotional song, at the time, I remember.

RH- So, how did you and Tony meet?

AR- It was kinda funny, we grew up together in the same neighborhood, but we never really hung out. We {lived} like right around the corner from each other. Me and Kevin Prince (who was the drummer for the very first band {we had} together) we met each other in middle school. We would always, like, pound on the desks together and talk about music and how we always wanted to be in a band. We were like, "One of these days we'll be in a band!" Kevin and Tony ended up becoming friends and they were jamming {together}. I remember they would do, like, AC-DC cover songs, when we were in like the seventh and eighth grade. 

One day Kevin called me and was like, "Hey, man, I hear you do vocals? You wanna, like, come and jam one day?" I went over there and there was Tony, and I was like, "Dude, I grew up with this kid!" {But} we'd never really become friends. Right after that, like, we hit it off, and became like frickin'{sic} best friends.

Orlando, our bass player, he came into the picture and that's when we started writing music, Tony and I. I would go over to his house, we had a little two-track recorder and we would just write everything, like all kinds of different stuff! He loved Metallica, and I loved Acceptance and Incubus. Both of our styles were really different but they came together really well. We became really, really good friends. We laughed all the time, about everything. We still do!

We met back in the day, {and we've been} writing songs together ever since.

RH- Okay, so I have to know: Where did the name "Broken Iris" come from?

AR- Well, after our first band, Turning Point, broke up, I really wanted to do an acoustic project; Tony didn't really want to do it. He's more of a song writer; he wasn't much of a performer. {I was like} "Let's just go into the recording studio and do an acoustic project." It was beautiful. We had a cello player; we wanted a piano, an acoustiness[sic], do something like that. We were just kind of done with rock at the time.

We were {throwing around} all kinds of different names, back and forth, back and forth. I have an obsession with the flower, the iris, and there's this theory behind this iris. It gets top-heavy. {It} grows from the ground and it blooms, and it becomes top-heavy. Then it breaks in half. {It can be} compared to humankind, how some people can grow to the point, to where their head gets so big that they kill everything around them. I thought that was really weird that something natural did that; a broken iris. 

And at the same time, our sound was very beautiful, but it had really dark overtone to it, so it just fit really well. That was the theme: broken iris; just beautiful and dark. From there, it grabbed a whole different meaning, after we got new band members and made the album, The Eyes of Tomorrow; after it turned from an acoustic project to a full-on cinematic, movie-score project, we created a whole twist to "broken iris." 

It actually ended up becoming about a man named William Amos (there's a book written about him); he made himself into an insane asylum. It's an amazing book that Tony wrote, and he's still writing more books to come about it.

{pause in the interview} ...The ice-cream man is coming by...

RH- {laughs} I was wondering what that was! I thought it was a phone or something.

AR- {laughs} So, yeah, it started off with that personal meaning of mine, and it just had a good ring to it and then we ran with it. It inspired a whole different world, which was really cool.

RH- Wow, that's really interesting! 

You know, I've always been amazed by Broken Iris and your lyrics have such meaning behind them, and today, in music, you really don't find many lyrics with any meaning whatsoever; was that [deep lyrical meaning] that you just decided, or was it something that just came about as you were writing?

AR- You know, I think because of our influences (I'd have to say Tony's especially) with Broken Iris, it was very mature. {Tony} dissected Tool lyrics and he knew the meanings of them at the age of, like, thirteen. {He} was a little ahead of me. What he taught me was (and what I noticed, too, when I was writing myself) just being truthful and honest; not trying to write a good song, just writing what's real and writing what's honest and writing what you feel, what gives you chills and goosebumps. That's what we tried to do. 

What we always stuck to, too, was, no matter what, if I came up with a verse or he came up with a verse, or he came up with a chorus or I came up with a chorus, whatever, and they were completely different, we always said we would force it to fit. If the lyrics weren't exactly cohesive, we would make them cohesive, but still try to keep them the same way.

And, I don't know (I thank you very much for saying that), we didn't know that we were doing that at the time. We were trying to make a timeless record, for sure, the best record we could possibly do. It took a lot of help from everybody to make it cohesive lyrically. But the bottom line is {it's} nothing but truth; just, like, raw emotions. There's no reason to hold anything back and there's no reason to go deep about things; things that people either love or hate, that make them feel comfortable. Those are real things, too.

That's what I love about Broken Iris; {it's} just guts out on the table. Nothing is held back.

RH- What was the inspiration behind the song, "One Track Minded Age?"

AR- Oh, gosh! {It's} just the way the world is today. It's just very one-track minded. Everyone is kind of doing the same thing to get by; expecting the results. It's always been that way; about how money is made, and about faith and religion; how everyone is just following each other. No one kind of thinks for themselves anymore. All these different beliefs and stuff are caused by people moving in one direction and not looking around them. 

Yeah. That's pretty much it.

RH- Tell us how the writing and recording process works.

AR- When we started the first record, it was just acoustic and vocals, and we got the verses and choruses down. Most of the time we never wrote a second verse; we always had a first verse, a chorus and a bridge idea. We started with the main things: guitar and vocals.

So, like, a good song is a good song if it can be played with just the acoustic guitar and vocals, so that's what we tried to focus on.

We went into the studio and I recorded just one take of a rough tempo of the song and then we had our programmer, and Chris, [who] played drums and cello; Alex played cello; and Jake produced it.

So, basically it just started with vocals and acoustic, and from there it was whatever came to ear was layered on top of it. It was basically all a recording project; we never really jammed out anything live; it was all kind of songs written and then turned into produced songs. We tried to create the atmosphere around the vocals so everything was cohesive and everything made sense; so it was like you were watching a movie; that was the whole idea: to make it as cinematic as possible.

RH- So tell us about your latest project, Green Audio.

AR- After Broken Iris stopped playing live shows (there's going to be another Broken Iris record, which is awesome) [but] ever since we stopped playing live...I loved playing live [and] I missed it; I was going crazy. In my head, I was just like, “This is crazy.” I had a lot of emotions kept in: I went through a divorce at that time and started experimenting with a bunch of different things. In doing a bunch of different things, just to find myself, I figured I was just gonna start writing. One day, I didn't know what I was going to do, if I was going to go join a band or whatever. [But] I just wrote this song based on the story about this monster/man/alien thing that reminded me a lot of myself (not to go into detail) but inspired me to write a song called “Bleeding Green.” When I was recording it with all of the vocals and instruments and drums and whatever, I bounced it as Green Audio and the name really clicked. At the time I got chills, just like the Universe was like, “This is the right direction!” So I just kinda went with that.

So far it's turned into a production team [which we've been working on] for the past couple of years and it's going pretty well.

RH- Cool. I am definitely looking forward to some new Broken Iris music. It's exciting to hear about!

AR- Ah, heck yeah, man! Me, too! Tony and I were just talking the other day, “Like, man, we miss writing music together!” It's been a long time. We're gonna make [the record] happen soon.

[Tony's] computer crashed! He had a bunch of songs that we recorded. So we have to do it the old fashioned way, like we did [before], and do acoustic and vocals. Which is cool, so it's meant to be.

RH- Well, maybe that's the way you're supposed to be doing it!

AR- Exactly!

RH- My last question is, What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

AR- It's very hard to become a successful musician, and if you expect the success, the rewards are not as great as you expect them to be. So, what you need to do is play music because you absolutely love it, and [because] it's what makes you breath; and you could compare it to air. It's not a drug, it's not something you need in order to live because you're addicted to it; it's like something you need in order for you to live comfortably, like air.

All I can say is if I were to tell my kid, if my kid became a musician, I would make sure that he had fun the whole entire time; don't take it so serious. You take it serious with your lyrics; express yourself; be whatever color you are; feel free! Do whatever you want! Be who you are. But have fun with it. Don't take the business side so seriously. Just enjoy it, 'cause it's super short when you're just hanging out with your buddies, playing, writing music.

And if any money comes with it, then you should just be stoked! [But] don't expect anything from creating.

RH- Well, thank you! This has been a lot of fun! And I'm definitely looking forward to some more music from you guys!

AR- Awesome! Thank you for listening and for supporting our music!

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