The Rollercoaster Project is one Johnny White from Sheffield, England. Adept early on at piano, drums and guitar, Johnny started recording when he was 8 years old. (He still has (and uses) the same 4-track.) The DIY ethic of hardcore (not to mention the visceral simplicity of the music) made a huge impact on White at around age 12. Years of computer tinkering and tampering led to the first proper Rollercoaster Project material, ambient and distorted with the odd remix, at around age 17. He released the first Rollercoaster Project album, Hatefield (Dreamboat Records), at 21. A spot of bad luck led to White moving into a shed in the garden of an old teacher. It was there that he recorded the track “Christmas Eve,” the opening song on Revenge, the new Rollercoaster Project album and the band’s first widespread release. The rest of the tracks were recorded in another shed (of another old teacher, oddly enough), and in London, where White moved afterwards and still lives and works as a guitar teacher in a primary school.
Revenge was originally inspired by two primary, if conflicting, forces: the actual desire for revenge (on a whole city and, perhaps, on history), and the sadness over this desire. The song "Revenge" by Black Flag has resonated with White since he was a child. The way - in a 59 second song – Chavo (BF’s 2nd singer) manages to scream about how they're "gonna get revenge" while also makes regular reference to how much this is going to ruin his life ("don't tell me about tomorrow" etc.), all whirring and bleating through his cassette player on an old and decaying tape, created a poignant collision for White. You can hear this paradox throughout the album as sounds shift from the chaotic ambience of “Christmas Eve” to the building and frightening “What Happened” to the delicate melancholy of “For To Become” to the robotic love song “Hoods Up.” Tinkling pianos offer reprieve from black metal vocals (all by White himself) and drift into wistful guitars and lush electronics. There aren’t many touchstones for an epic post-genre record like this one (M83 and Fuck Buttons might share some sensibilities), which makes it right at home on Absolutely Kosher.
The use of cassette tape as a recording tool became a part of White’s perspective as well, an attempt to assimilate the influence of the music and media of White’s earliest memories, which, as he got older, he received through decayed cassette tapes and over-watched videos. If you see a video of yourself at age 8 over and over again, do you remember the moment or the recording of the moment? Has technology made us nostalgic voyeurs of our own existence? As that technology decays, what happens to our memory of the actual event? We play out a game of “telephone” with ourselves, overhearing and reinterpreting moments and sounds through the passage of time. The pianos on “Self-Telepathy” are an attempt to replicate the sound of a film soundtrack heard from copied video. As Johnny puts it, “It conveys a necessary sadness about our yearning for childhood, because - as our memories weren't developed enough to properly record anything - it's almost as if we weren't really there ourselves and, as these formative years have such an effect on how we turn out, it sometimes feels like my adult mind is controlled by a dream I had when I was young.”
A three piece live incarnation of The Rollercoaster Project is currently rehearsing to play in support of Revenge’s release.