Roz Raskin (Photo: Maurisa Mackey, provided by Community Records)

Nova One can be dangerous

The Providence-based indie rock band certainly doesn’t espouse violence, but they’re not afraid to sing about life’s little (and big) conflicts. The band’s new album, create myself, out last week, explores the challenges of intimacy and relationships as deeply as any release in recent memory, with a casual intensity that should garner the band continued national attention.

I learned more about the new release in a recent chat with Nova One founder, Roz Raskin, a well-respected musician and artist who developed the concept for the record during the pandemic.

“Our first album Lovable came out in April, 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. We were all in isolation and within six months, I was already starting to write some new material,” said Raskin. “At the beginning of 2021, I really started to solidify some ideas for the new album which I co-produced with Bradford Krieger and Chaimes Parker, engineers at Big Nice Studio in Lincoln.”

The album can be seen as an evolution of the band’s overall sound. It’s one of the stronger releases in the indie-pop realm in recent memory, with sensitive lyrics, strong arrangements, and a little guitar fuzz to rock out to. Raskin’s badass vulnerability is on full display – with aching, yet commanding vocals, making the album a real contender for airplay on the national indie-pop scene.

“There are some songs that directly address the dread of the pandemic and all of the existential crises that were part of that time and continue to exist,” said Raskin. “Something I’ve come to realize about the writing process was that I was really writing a lot about my younger self or talking to a younger version of myself. Each song has some sort of glimpse of that. It’s not even a particular age, just talking to myself through the years,” added Raskin. 

An artist who isn’t afraid to express political opinions, Raskin sees a natural connection between their art and their social views. So how did these particular songs come together?

“I generally see them as constantly interconnected, it’s the nature of the type of writing that I do. It’s impossible for me to think of the two things not coexisting. I talk a lot about queerness, I talk a lot about identity and sexuality, these are things that are constantly battling in the political space. They are always intertwined and communicating with each other, in ways that can sometimes be not the most overt feeling, if you listen to the lyrics, but it’s all there.”

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Raskin’s lyrics in the indie radio-friendly power pop tune “dangerous” bring these ideas together: “i thought i was lonely with you/but i’m lonely by myself too/ i thought you were dangerous/but i’m dangerous by myself.”

Raskin has been heavily involved RIOT RI, a local non-profit that “uses music creation, critical thinking and collaborative relationships to foster collective empowerment and the development of healthy identities in girls, women, trans, and gender-expansive youth and adults.”

“I was the Co-Chair for a few years,” they explained. “That program is so incredibly valuable, we’re doing a bunch of fundraising right now, because COVID annihilated our fundraising efforts, our live events, and programming, all the in-person stuff that RIOT does just wasn’t able to happen. I just can’t say enough about how awesome the programming is and how much support it needs right now. I love that community so much, it’s really a special community for young folks, and for adults.”

Raskin’s been busy lately, recently starting their own label, Self Luv Records. “I’ve been booking and running shows under the Self Luv name for many years, I’m gonna be hosting some outdoor shows, at Revive the Roots in Smithfield this summer and I put out a couple of tapes for some local bands, Bocheck, Mugs Fogarty, and Greensleeves, a New York/RI musician. I also have a piano and songwriting private practice that I run out of my home.”

Do check out this album, out soon on vinyl from New Orleans-based Community Records and streaming everywhere. Click here to check out Nova One on Bandcamp.

Click here for tickets to Nova One at the Columbus Theatre on April 21. Boyscott and Lady Pills open at 8PM.

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