Waiting for a bus in the summer of 2013, Mark Fendrick knew he wanted to make music. After a run in with the legal system in 2011, he was filled with a sense of urgency. "I thought about finishing every song I’d ever started," Fendrick says. He knew he was ready, but he didn’t know he was about to meet his first band member. Fendrick and fellow Oregonian Josh Andrew made a connection on the street that day and their brotherly bond led to late nights strumming on acoustic guitars in Andrew's apartment. “We'd write something and then bask in the affirmation of having created something new,” Fendrick says. They didn’t know it at the time, but they were laying the groundwork for what would become Roman Tick's first songs. Days later, Fendrick found himself discussing music and literature with classically-trained keyboardist Joel Cowen over a bonfire in a mutual friend's backyard. The next day he brought his keyboard over. “Joel’s technical skill and training helped make sense of what we were doing,” Fendrick says. “He made our songs prettier and fuller and more enchanting.” It was only a few weeks before Cowen made a pitch for college friend and local drummer Manning Rothrock. His approach to rhythm and outgoing personality were a perfect fit and he joined the band in late September. Rothrock’s energy “brings Roman Tick together and propels the band forward,” says Fendrick. “He won’t settle on a beat that means nothing.” Finally, in October, Fendrick reconnected with high school acquaintance Patrick O'Driscoll at a local show and made plans to jam later in the week. On bass, O'Driscoll brought his guitar skills and a connection to the music scene he and Fendrick were influenced by in their youth. “He’s humble, yet super talented,” Fendrick says. “It comes down to loving music, I think. Our bond over music is what makes us work together so well.” Determined and hopeful, Roman Tick moved into a garage and started making music as a five piece.
Roman Tick doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. It's fun and it's familiar... in a good way. "Roman Tick is sounding blurred and woozily evocative," friend and fan Gabriela d'Amato says. "Like someone smeared Vaseline all over an early OMD demo tape, then stayed up all night trying to recreate what they heard." Fendrick's lyrics are simple and clean, and mostly about relationships - but it hits the mark. Teetering between heartfelt earnestness and modern cynicism, Roman Tick pulls the listener back to an era filled with emotion and possibility, a chance to return to a forgotten time, with a few twists. Even the most skeptical listeners will find themselves moving to the catchy beat, reluctantly singing along to lines like, “have you ever known lightning to be so inviting/known anyone like me who knows how to let the light be?”
But the real magic is that there’s room for everyone in Roman Tick, band members and listeners alike. Each track offers a taste of variety, from spirited keyboards to jazzy bass lines, without sounding fussy or manufactured. OPB Music’s Arya Imig writes, “With wiry guitar lines and thrusting synth hooks and rhythms, Roman Tick wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack of a classic 80's John Hughes film. Through their lyrics they communicate both confidence and fragility because let's face it, sometimes that's all we have.” The convergence of the band members' diverse backgrounds - classical piano and heavy distortion and cigarette stained vocals - creates much more than a hollow gesture to the past. Instead, with Roman Tick there is a refreshing element of a band making music for the simple pleasure of the journey, and the invitation to join is extended to everyone.
You can look forward the release of their EP later this year.