Christopher Rossi, or better known as raw Hardstyle phenomenon Rooler has undoubtedly experienced a soaring career in 2016. Renowned for his annihilating and savage sound along with an absurd appreciation for Dutch delicacies, Rooler has built up a loyal army of followers that have supported him this season at Ground Zero and Fatality amongst others.
In light of his experimental releases, quirky online persona and obsession with stroopwaffles, we decided to catch up with our Gearbox-signed friend for an exclusive interview!
– Hey Christopher, thanks for the interview! First of all, how’s it going today?
It’s going great, thanks! My career is moving so fast and I’m so happy about how everything is going from the bookings, to releases and support from all of my fans.
– Can you give me a run-down of your summer and share any highlights?
Professional: As an artist I’ve achieved a lot of goals over the summer such as Fatality, Rawstyle Nation and Ground Zero, which was my best performance as a live-act. I’ve enjoyed the past couple of months a lot and I can promise you that next season will be even bigger!
Personal: I recently left my job and have saved a lot of money for something that I will announce in the near future. I’ve felt a strong focus towards my music and gigs; for instance, when I was preparing for Ground Zero during the two weeks leading up to the event I spent up to ten hours in the studio each day. I’ve been feeling so productive lately which is very exciting.
– Let’s get down to it! So before you began your solo alias Rooler, you were actually a part of two duos. Can you tell me a little more about it?
Sure! Around six years ago I actually started my career with Aleandro, who’s now 50% of Malice. We started producing together, however it became really difficult with the ideas and our workflow didn’t quite fit, so I went solo from there. I also had a period where I produced euphoric Hardstyle under another alias and also spent some time DJing in local clubs, however I then decided to get serious and fully focus on raw Hardstyle, which is a style that really interests me.
– What are some of the pros and cons of being in a duo? And do you prefer working as a solo act now?
One of the biggest pros about working in a duo is that you receive so many ideas from one another, but to be honest I prefer to work alone as I’m able to focus better. When I worked with Aleandro, he was always full of ideas; however as a full-time producer I wanted to focus solely on my computer and I needed my own space for that. I feel as though the best kind of duo dynamic is one person producing full-time and the other contributing ideas – it’s so difficult to split the time in front of the PC.
– You’ve risen quite rapidly over the past two years. What (or who) do you owe this fast success to?
I feel as though my success over the past year has a lot to do with raw Hardstyle taking over the scene. Don’t get me wrong, I love euphoric music and don’t want to cause fights, however if you think about the Hardstyle scene nowadays it’s dominated by raw music and artists. In my career I’ve mostly produced raw, so that’s why I think I’ve risen so fast. Another reason behind my success is because of Malice; we’ve produced two tracks together and both of them exploded and we’re also often requested to perform together! Finally, I’m also devoted to my fan-base and set aside time to speak to my fans – I think this is an important factor of being a successful artist.
– You’re a part of fast-growing label Gearbox Records. Can you tell me what it means to be a part of this label?
Before it’s a label, Gearbox is also a great family! Phil, our label boss, is always reachable for us; even late at night if we need something fixed or have a personal problem he’s always there for us. I’m really happy to be a part of Gearbox and now we’re growing and have other Italian artists such as Unresolved, Malice and Kataklism. Gearbox really feels like a family – it’s my second family!
– You recently had the honour to remix Delete’s “Mutants” alongside Malice. What difficulties did you come about when creating this remix?
Well, how do I even begin? To be honest, Delete is my ‘god.’ I’ve always loved his music and since I began speaking to him I also love him as a person – although I sometimes have trouble understanding his Australian accent, haha! His music is perfect because it can be really raw, yet so intelligent. Nowadays if you go on YouTube and type in ‘rawstyle’ you’ll find a lot of garbage, however Delete is such a talented producer and his VIP project is also perfection! Anyway, we had the chance to remix “Mutants” and to be honest I’m still buzzing about it!
As for difficulties, I was scared that I’d ‘destroy’ the original track as it was already perfect. We (Malice) worked really hard on it and we’re so happy that everyone loves it – it even came in at #3 on Hardstyle.com which was huge!
– I see that you have a bit of an obsession with Stroopwaffles and other Dutch delicacies – what’s that all about?
As some of you may already know, I love The Netherlands so much! Ever since my first visit in 2012 I fell in love with the country, the open-minded people and of course, the food. I decided to start off with Stroopwaffles and although I’m not a big fan of sweets I thought they were delicious and that’s why I decided to make a funny track about them. It ended up going viral, so that was pretty cool!
– Do you have any more Dutch tracks coming up?
At the moment no, but I will do something soon because I love making funny tracks that are still bangin’. If you can make people laugh whilst dancing to your beats then that’s extra special.
– Raw Hardstyle is at its absolute peak and the scene is flooded with ‘talents.’ Do you feel as though it’s harder to creative something original in this competitive scene?
YES! It’s SO difficult sometimes because raw Hardstyle is so vast and everybody wants to do something in the scene. Holland is full of young producers and established names who are all trying to do their own thing and yeah, I found my way but it wasn’t easy. As an Italian producer, when I put my tracks online to the Dutch crowd it can be a little intimidating.
– Can you share your most ‘turnt’ party experience?
No, because I never drink! Sometimes this is a shame because a lot of fans offer me a beer, but I have to decline because I don’t like beer, haha!
– You’ve been booked as a ‘live’ act a few times. Can you explain to readers what the meaning of a ‘live-set’ is and how that’s different to a regular DJ set?
Many people think that a live-act isn’t much more than a visual show, but actually it’s not like that, at least it’s not like that for me. When I was told about doing my live-act at Ground Zero, I was a little scared because I knew that I really had to come up with something spectacular. I aimed to create something unique by editing all of my older tracks; of course I played “Aggressive Acts,” “Mutants” and “Extinguish” as originals, but the others were all edited live. As I mentioned earlier, I practiced and prepared a lot before the show so I could use the live machine instead of the CDJ’s and re-create the tracks on the spot.
A lot of people don’t know the struggle you have when preparing a live act; there are so many factors to consider and you have to put on both a musical and visual performance. Luckily for me I noticed that people were enjoying my act at Ground Zero, so I can only be happy!
– The Rooler sound is quite underground and rough. Do you think that this jeopardises your chance to play on mainstages or reach a huge demographic?
At the moment I’d say yes, because the guys who play on mainstages make raw Hardstyle that’s still pretty accessible. I always choose to make something darker and alternative; for example, “Number 23” with Sasha F is Psy-Trance combined with raw Hardstyle and even my most ‘commercial’ track “Aggressive Acts” is still pure raw! I just want to walk my own path and do what I love, but you never know what the future will bring, right?
– You’re quite in touch with your fans not only through your artist page but through your personal social media. Do you like keeping in touch this way or do you prefer to keep your personal life under the radar?
I really love speaking with my fans anytime and anywhere. Back when I was a Hardstyle fan boy I always commented on the artists fan-pages and rarely received any responses back, so I really aim to set aside time for my fans. It’s really difficult to answer everyone because I can receive up to fifty messages per day and sometimes I just want to spend time with my girlfriend or produce music, but I also enjoy speaking to my fans and remaining close with them.
– You have quite a couple of tattoos. Which one is your favourite and why?
I have twenty tattoos and I’d say that my favourite is the one on my ass which reads “fuck off” in Italian, haha! I’m crazy about tattoos; I even have Delete, Vazard, Luminite and Malice printed on my skin.
– And you also have “Extinguish” tattooed on your neck!
Yes, that’s because I really love to print my own music on my body. That way when I get old and lose my memory my music will still be there in my skin. No, haha, but I do really love my music and want to have it on my skin.
– Which artists are your closest friends in the Hardstyle scene?
Of course I’m closest with the Gearbox crew – I always have fun with guys like Rebelion, Ncrypta, Luminite, Malice, Unkind and Unresolved. I also get along well with Outbreak, Delete and Warface. The more I go further into the scene the more I get to know people and it’s nice to speak about life in general and not just music.
– Do you have any plans to relocate from Italy to The Netherlands?
I’m planning something, so stay tuned.
– Before we wrap this interview up, do you have any exclusive news you’d like to share with our readers?
You can expect a lot of new music from me. Now that I’m able to focus on music full-time I’m feeling extra productive and the future is looking awesome!
– One last question – What did you eat for breakfast today?
Haha! Okay, I was expecting this question because I always read your interviews, but because I’m not a breakfast lover I only had an ice-cream. You were expecting pasta, right?
A huge thanks to Rooler for this awesome interview, we hope to catch up with you soon for a stroopwaffle eating contest! We wish him the very best with his upcoming productions and performances. For those who want to stay up to date on all things Rooler, follow him at the social links below!