Monday, 22 June 2009

Rolo Tomassi

In a year where the quality of mainstream music is hitting a low not seen since the 90's boyband craze, its inspiring to see so many young bands turning the status quo on its head, ripping up the rulebook, doing things on their own terms and to hell with the consequences! Rolo Tomassi, a group of Sheffield upstarts with a nigh-on undefineable sound and more energy than a Highlands windfarm are doing just that. Having released their epic prog/post-hardcore/mathcore mash-up album in late 2008, and following a mammoth tour schedule that took them around the UK, Europe and even to the SXSW festival in Texas, things seem set to go stratospheric for Rolo Tomassi very soon.

Eva Spence, the bands diminutive frontwoman with a shriek that could stop hearts, found time in amongst the bands hectic schedule to talk about her personal style secrets, greatest fashion blunders and Night of the Living Thread, the range of accessories she sells at the bands merch stand. Here's what she had to say...

1) Hello there. How’re things, and what’s new in the world of Rolo Tomassi?
Hello! I'm very well thanks, I've just enjoyed two weeks off from Rolo after a hectic few months which included; a headline tour with Grammatics and Pulled Apart By Horses and some support shows with Gallows. Right now we're just getting ready for the festival season, in which we're doing a bunch of mainland Europe shows as well as Sonisphere and Underage festival in the UK.

2) At your shows you sell a selection of homemade accessories. What’s going on there?
I'd been very interested in textiles and fashion from an early age and had always intended on starting up a company at some point even before i joined the band!
When I was at college I studied an Art and Design, the course covered all the kinds of surface design I use in my designs. We firstly experimented with dressmaking but I realised after doing that aspect that I wanted to concentrate on surface pattern and design rather than actually making clothes.
My materials are sourced from various independent fabric shops across the country. Touring with the band has been an advantage for me because I'm able to find different fabric shops in different cities, and even different countries, which then enables me to make a wide variety of pieces which you can't get anywhere else, then to make my deigns is just a matter of picking fabrics, ribbons and buttons which I think would look good together.
I take my items on tour with me which is cool because I can showcase what I can do to people who might not know about the company otherwise, I get a lot of interest from fans of the band, and has been very popular with girls at shows, but also for guys coming to shows and wanting to bring something back for their girlfriends. Aside from this I am setting up a website but right now you can buy from my myspace page which is
At the moment I sell bags, hairclips, headbands, hairbands and badges and offer a custom made service in which I can make any kind of bag/pillow of the customers designs and ideas.
The bags are between £8 and £12, the hairclips are £3 a pair, headbands are £6, hairbands are £4 and badges are £4. The custom items vary in price so generally people get in touch for a quote.

3)How would you describe your style?
When I'm on stage I'm drawn towards dresses and skirts because I am most comfortable in them when we play instead of jeans. Aside from that I dress quite casually and try to lift my outfit with accessories.

4) If you could trade wardrobes with one person, who would it be and why?
Although there are certain celebrities who I think dress well, there's no one who I think I would want to trade with, I like what I've got!
Maybe someone like Karen O or Katy Perry as they have some pretty interesting stage outfits, I'd love for designers to design things for me to wear on stage.

5)Who are your favourite designers?
Clotheswise I love Fred Perry, I'm not sure if that brand classes as designer but they do the best staple wardrobe pieces which are very classic.
I am generally drawn towards things with cute prints and Lazy Oaf, a London based company make the cutest t shirts I know, I wear a lot of their items.
In terms of more mainstream designers I love Vivienne Westwood accessories, Dior jewelry, and Chanel make the most beautiful dresses if I could ever afford anything like that!
On top of this I find a lot of items online at which is an online marketplace for sellers who specialise in handmade products, there are some really talented designers on this website.

6)What items in your wardrobe hold particular sentimental value to you?
I wear a lot of my mums old clothes from when she was younger, most of them have been taken in and adapted to make completely different items from what they once were, but I really love some of those items as they're one of a kind. Other that that my boyfriend bought me some Burberry head scarves for my birthday which I love!

7) What significance do you think fashion holds to today’s youth?
I think fashion is very important today as it is, like music, a way of expressing yourself. It's a positive way of making a statement to who you are and I feel that where once fashion was something with limits, every rule has been broken. It's a very interesting and wonderful way of showing who you are and defining yourself.

8)Whats your biggest ever fashion mistake?!
Haha! I'm sure before skinny jeans were made available everyone had a pair of ridiculously baggy ones! It'd have to be those.

9)What are your three golden style rules?
For me as I wear kind of plain clothes I love to dress things up.
Hair accessories can really bring out an outfit, I have hairclips and headbands to go with every outfit I own!
As well as that I'd have to say jewelry, I have a big necklace collection and I love jewelry which stands out and looks original, I get a lot of compliments about various necklaces which I've collected from from my mum, vintage shops and charity shops. Again, jewelry is something which can drastically change the look of any outfit.
Finally I'd have to say that thrift/charity shops have some incredible finds in them. Again, it's about finding things that no one else has and wearing things that are truly original, since I've been young I've been buying things that are £1 and £2 and customizing them into something completely different. Some of the fabrics I use are from recycled clothes because you can get something completely different to anything anywhere else which are one of a kind vintage prints and they cost you practically nothing!

If you're feeling generous and would like to vote for Rolo Tomassi as Kerrang! Best British Newcomers, simply follow this link and type Rolo Tomassi in block capitals...
© Copyright Betti Hunter 2009

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