I interviewed Patrick Garrity, who plays rhythm guitar and sings, about his band Round About, their favorite venue to play in the DC area and how they write their music. The band won Honorable Mention in 2012 for “Grateful For A Glance” and were a Finalist in 2015 for “Hit or Miss” in the Pop Category of the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest.
Marlene: How did your band get its name?
Patrick: As much as I wish I had a truly clever or hilarious story to answer this question, “Round About” was in fact the first of many, many ideas thrown out that wasn’t immediately hated by anyone in the band. So, it was a, “Nobody hates it? Done!” kind of situation. I think the guys (6 years and 2 albums later), still maybe wish we could change it.
When did you form your band?
Our bass player Dave and I had been in a previous band together in the early 00’s, and always enjoyed being band mates, and each other’s songs. So back in 2010, after jamming one afternoon, we kind of looked at each other and said, “How about we give it another go?”
How would you describe your music?
Our music is probably best described as melodic pop. Since most of us in the band contribute songs, under that umbrella there’s a decent amount of variety. I tend to do the acoustic pop/singer-songwriter stuff, our bassist Dave writes more riff-based, groovier stuff, and our lead guitarist Aaron typically brings more true harder rock. We also have a bit of twang here, a touch of jazz there, among other styles as well.
Please tell me who is in the band, what they play, and how they joined.
I play rhythm guitar and sing, and Dave Mehring plays bass as previously mentioned. Paul Nicholas was the first guy to try out on drums and he has been with us ever since and is a terrific player. He adds a real edge to the songs and his energy really pushes the upbeat sound we have. Aaron Lowenberger plays lead guitar and sings too; he joined in the summer of 2013. As a player (and a human, too), he’s probably the best fit our music has ever had, and his talent and attitude are the “icing” on the cake that is our band.
What is your favorite venue to play in the DC area?
We probably love playing at IOTA in Arlington the most, but enjoy just about all the venues we play. Outdoor gigs and festivals are especially fun.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Everyone in the band has a very different set of musical tastes, which I think only helps how we play together. I enjoy pop stuff like Fountains of Wayne, as well as more poppy alt-country stuff like The Jayhawks. Aaron and Dave share an appreciation for Led Zeppelin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more; Aaron for instance also likes everything from Miles Davis to Megadeth to Tommy Emmanuel. Paul loves 90’s pop music especially, and has often spoken gleefully about bands like Five Iron Frenzy and Switchfoot.
What inspires your music?
I think we all get inspired by observation and just trying to make sense of what’s happening in our lives. I tend to have a melancholy vibe in many of my lyrics, but it’s a bit hidden by the upbeat nature of the music. If I had to speculate for Dave (as I’ve known him a lot of years), I’d say he often finds a melodic hook or a cool riff, and builds off of that. I’ve told the joke, “They say write what you know….then why are so many of my tunes about girls?” But I think there’s truth to that. The reason a million songs have been written about relationships and they’ll be a million more is because it’s often the most interesting topic: How we relate with each other and what to make of it.
What is your songwriting process?
I usually start with the music first, and in fact often have entire melodies finished before I start working on words. Usually (as cliché as it sounds) a clever first line gets me going, but songwriting has always been very fickle for me. Sitting down to intentionally write something has sadly never worked well for me. In fact, breakups have often been the best catalyst (I know. SO cliché).
What is the highlight of your band’s career?
Besides actually getting asked in a green room if we wanted any specific M&M colors removed from the candy dish, we’ve done a lot that I’m proud of. I’d say our most recent album (The Best Laid Plans, released in 2015) is the best thing we’ve done so far. It exceeded all my expectations in how it sounds and how we played, and is a great reflection right now of who we are as a band.
What are your future plans for the band?
Some guys in the band have kids, and we all have full time jobs, so our expectations remain where they’ve always been, which is simply to write the best songs we can, play the best shows we can, and when we all agree there’s enough new material we like, go back into the studio to record album #3. Music is a great creative outlet for all of us, and I’d venture to say that it’s all the more enjoyable because we’re not dependent on it for either financial or emotional support. We can enjoy it for what it is and have a lot of fun playing together, instead of trying to be rock stars. Outside of that, like most people, we’re intent on world domination.
How can our readers learn more about your music?
Our website always has all the most up to date information about us. From there you can like us on Facebook, follow us on YouTube, Twitter, or find our music on iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby, and all the other digital sites. Sometimes we also have special treats for our fans, like Dave posing for the annual Round About calendar, Aaron’s favorite summer recipes, Paul’s top tips to tuning drums, etc. (that last part may or may not be true, you’ll just have to check the website and see).
What is your upcoming schedule?
Thursday, July 7th at 8 PM at: Villain & Saint-7141 Wisconsin Avenue, in Bethesda, MD 20814
Friday, July 29th at 9:30 PM at Mason Inn-2408 Wisconsin Ave., NW, in Washington, DC 20007.
Saturday, September 10th at 5:00 PM at Westover Market-5863 Washington Boulevard, in Arlington, VA 22205.
Saturday, September 24th at 7:30 PM at 7 Locks Brewing-12227 Wilkins Avenue, in Rockville, MD 20852.
To learn more about Round About check out their website and music online! Catch them at their next show!