Tokyo Rose
Tokyo Rose Successful Warped Tour outings, an ever-expanding domestic and international fanbase, sharing bills with amazing artists and a third shot at a full-length album — it sounds like life for the members of New Jersey-based pop-rock act Tokyo Rose is pretty damned great. And as anyone in the band will tell you, for the most part, it is. But as vocalist/guitarist Ryan Dominguez explains, the industry — of which Tokyo Rose has been a part of for several years now — isn't without its faults, namely those who'll offer the world yet fail to deliver on even the most basic of levels. "I feel that all the songs on the record are loosely based around people making promises that they cannot keep," Dominguez says. "We've encountered a fair amount of that. I feel as though that definitely embodied our year, despite all the great things we were able to do." One of the band's most recent achievements is the completion of its latest SideCho full-length, The Promise in Compromise. And though the album's thematic undercurrent is one of deception and false hopes, this is actually one of Tokyo Rose's most upbeat, listener-friendly collections. The intentionally powerful, produced and polished sounds of The Promise in Compromise find the band in a position that's anything but downtrodden and deflective. "The music that we did for this record is definitely going to catch people's ears," says bassist Chris Poulsen. "This time it's going to stay with people more and have a better reaction. We just cut all the excess baggage that we used to have in our songs. All these songs are more straight to the point, catchy and upbeat." Introducing themselves to the world in 2003 via their melodically-injected debut, Reinventing a Lost Art, Tokyo Rose took things a step further in 2005, expanding their musical efforts with their sophomore release, New American Saint. After supporting the album on the road, playing throughout the US, Europe and Japan and touring with a host bands including Taking Back Sunday, Houston Calls, Sherwood and Zebrahead, the group began writing The Promise in Compromise at the end of its touring cycle, adding drummer Jake Margolis in the interim. With their tracks wrapped and ready for tracking in January 2007, Tokyo Rose headed to Los Angeles to commence album sessions with producers Fred Archambault (Avenged Sevenfold) and Mark Renk (Matchbook Romance). "When we looked back on the last two records, we realized that there was plenty that we wanted to change," says Poulsen. "We felt it would be a good idea to get out of the East Coast, and go with completely different producers. What they wanted to do seemed consistent with what we wanted to do with this record, so it seemed like a good choice." The production pair had their individual strengths to offer the members of Tokyo Rose: Renk brought his vocal coaching experience, concentrating on melodies, harmonies and wrangling the best takes out of Dominguez, while Archambault provided his engineering expertise and is largely responsible for the album's massive guitar-charged affair. "I had a splitter to use five or six amps at the same time to create a wall of sound," says Dominguez. "We were looking for more polished sounds, as opposed to the boutique sounds of our last records. We were looking for a wall of sound, coming off as sonically powerful." The resulting effort finds Tokyo Rose's brilliant delivery of melodic, rhythm-driven rock tracks spanning across a variety of themes. The album's first single, "We Can Be Best Friends Tonight But Tomorrow I'll Be…" is a spoof of the touring subculture that finds band members meeting — and subsequently getting intimate — with female showgoers. "From the lyrical concept, it seems it's serious, getting with some girl, and moving on to the next town and doing the same thing," says Poulsen. "But it's really poking fun at it, and saying how silly it is, because it exists on such a widespread scale that I see everyday in my life when I tour. And it just kind of makes me sick. It's not supposed to offend anyone. It's just supposed to make people think about if what they're doing is right, and if what they're getting is what they really want." While the upbeat "A Pound of Silver is Worth Its Weight in Blood" grapples with personal demons, "611 Life Lessons" addresses relationship problems. "It's only natural to cling on to what you have, and try to get it back, but after some point, you realize that what you had is not there anymore and you have to let it go for your own good and someone else's good and just accept it," says Poulsen. The many experiences of being in Tokyo Rose have paid off in making the act a more focused and goal-oriented effort. "We've been really blessed with these opportunities, touring abroad and in the States with large bands, and it's been fantastic, with a lot of achievements," says Dominguez. "As a whole we've tapped into what people want to hear from us and expanded upon it," he adds. "We all know where we want to go with the music, make it more accessible and have more fun with it. If you can't have fun playing music, then why do it at all?"