The name Bond Villain evokes a specific track of thought. The moniker is dark and mysterious. Is it dangerous or is it a safe haven? It’s a concept that encourages risks, but also makes you want to run. It has two identities. Inquiry and answers are demanded, but complete understanding is not an option.
Take this idea and hand it to music. It makes an interesting stage name in the least, yet it also creates a concept that is imperative. In the end are villains born or do they acquire their mindset. Do they have two identities? What exactly is Bond Villain?
To understand Bond Villain, we must start with Robert Roche. Rob is a musician located in Connecticut. He’s a pretty friendly guy and generally has a pretty optimistic outlook on life. Boston University is his alma mater, which is where he began to really get involved with music. He began to perform in different grunge and hardcore bands. In Boston, he had many musical projects, eventually scoring music for video games, but one of his biggest musical ventures was being the lead vocalist for the band, Courage and Collapse. He composed a large portion of the band’s material.
Now, Rob’s newest musical venture is Bond Villain. Last year he released three new songs coupled with a collaboration with Kimberley Locke. The first word that popped into my mind while listening was “innovative” (read more here). These songs have that slice of musicianship that a lot of the new music today is missing.
Recently, I had the chance to speak to Rob about the identity of Bond Villain, his current music, and his future plans. First, I needed to clear the air. Who is Bond Villain? What I discovered is that Bond Villain is much more than a stage name; it is a persona and alternative identity. It is two in one.
Bond Villain is the other side of the coin. I do have a very positive outlook. I’m not saying that Bond Villain is a negative outlook, but I allow myself to focus on traversing some of the darker parts of life, that you don’t always bring out in your every day interactions.
Bond Villain is a concept in the form of a musical artist that takes on two identities. These two identities are ones we all possess. Rob went on to explain his vision for Bond Villain’s orchestral arrangements, which include cinematic elements. His songs translate to audio movies that play out with characters we all relate to.
Next, we went into each of his songs in greater detail. We discussed their meaning and purpose. I quickly discovered how the songs represent two identities lyrically. It is an inescapable correlation and one that we had to discuss in more detail. We started off with “Dying Star.”
“Dying Star” has some of my favorite lyrics. You are watching someone you love go through something terrible…If you know someone who is going through an addiction or really difficult relationship, but think they are doing fine, that’s an incredibly powerful emotion…You burn like a dying star, you are burning so bright, everybody can see you, but we all know you are going down.
The song questions your role within these relationships. Although you are conflicted over their happiness and stability, you have to be worried about your own personal health. These two concerns combined for a conflicted reality.
Next, we discussed “Body Like a Knife.” This song takes on a much lighter tone lyrically, but the same musical standards are in place. “Knife” is a prime example of the “cinematic” song we had discussed earlier. This song puts imagery to instinct, yet there are still conscious lines. Again, the song as two identities in one body.
“Body Like a Knife” is meeting someone you know is bad for you, but you just need that person in that moment. This is about a passionate, carnal situation…The words are simple and powerful because a knife is a dangerous object, it can cut you and it can cut other people. It can cut up your life, but just for one night that is something that you need.
Lastly, we went over the final song from his EP, “Let Me Go.” This song is a power ballad of heartache, forgiveness, and self-discovery. On one side the song is about “home” and where you feel most comfortable, yet on the flip side, it shows how you must let go of these conveniences for your own good. This idea travels into toxic relationships that were once flourishing, but have served their time. It’s a concept full of conflict, but one that results in inner peace.
The composition of this song also correlates to this idea. The song’s foundation is a crescendo. As the lyrics escalate in emotion, the song escalates musically. The song ends in a gospel choir style ending, a deep departure from the beginning.
“Let Me Go” is sad in the beginning and at the very end there is a transformation for the beholder of the song, because in the end this request, for the person you love to let you go, is something to be celebrated.
It is astonishing how these emotional highs and lows coupled with such multi-level composition is in a three-song EP. Its content makes this EP nearly a complete album in theory.
So what is the future of Bond Villain? Like everything else about this concept, Rob has planned out exactly what level he would like to see his music at, both long-term and short-term.
The first place I’m aiming for is what you are watching. When you are sitting down for the new Netflix show, the credits come on for the first episode and you hear Bond Villain. That’s the first thing you hear at the beginning of those episodes for their entire season. That is the goal and where we are aiming with this music: television, video games, movies, etc.
But that is not where the aspirations end. This cinematic pop demands the stage. With Rob’s past grunge rock background, he is ready to take to take on some new venues. He explained to me how grunge and hardcore shows are 100% passion and how you leave everything on stage. Rob is planning on bringing this same concept to his new material. Bond Villain is currently booking shows for the upcoming year.
As our conversation wound down, we began to focus on what makes an artist tick. It’s always interesting to see why an artist keeps going. This drive demands creativity, but it seems satisfaction is not the end, nor does it exist. Artistry takes on many identities.
I’m never complete. I’ve never achieved my goal. There are all these roads to success, but to me there is just a road. You never achieve your dream. The dream itself is being able to get up everyday and say today I am going to work on some amazing new things that no one has ever done before.
With this ambition, Rob is already working on new music and he is promising it will equate or even eclipse his previous work.
We have so much amazing music down the pipe…They are the coolest songs I have ever been a part of in terms of songwriting and a new fresh sound. They’re bad ass, they’re dark, they’re fun, a lot of amazing imagery. It’s an all new look and sound for Bond Villain, while keeping the amazing themes we’ve built the image and music off of.
As Rob continues to grow Bond Villain, I only imagine continued emotional discoveries mixed with complex musical architecture, all in two identities.
Which makes me think about how we all have multiple identities. Both sides of the coin are mixed with their own successes, failures, heartaches, and achievements. Sometimes these identities are completely polarized, while at other times they are mixed. Bond Villain joins these two ideas into one piece of music.
The question is…when you sit down to listen to Bond Villain…which side of you is listening?
Christian. Oklahoman. American. Vinyl enthusiast.