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Rixton's Jake Roche talks debut album, playing arenas, and the band's journey

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AGNES PATAK

British pop-rock four-piece Rixton is releasing its first full-length LP, Let the Road, today (Tuesday), but it’s far from new: The band has been together for three years. EW caught up with lead singer Jake Roche to chat album, origins, and why the band’s moms won’t get off their backs.

Roche and bassist Danny Wilkin wrote “Let the Road,” an a capella song, in a trailer in Danny’s back garden six years ago. “We didn’t think anything of itit literally got thrown into an archive with hundreds and hundreds of songs that will probably never see the light of day,” says Roche.

By the end of 2012, Roche and Wilkin had crossed paths with Charley Bagnall and drummer Lewi Morgan and became the outfit we know now. Their quirky YouTube videos caught the eye of Scooter Braun (super manager of Justin Bieber, Psy and Ariana Grande), who introduced them to producer Benny Blanco.

Blanco heard “Let the Road”—and loved it. “He said he was blown away by the song,” says Roche. “The funny thing was, we only did half of it, so we had to go back and rewrite the second half of it.” Once the track was finished, everyone loved it so much that naming the album after it only seemed appropriate.

In 2013, that album started coming together around the same time the band made its American stage debut, popping up for a guest spot at Justin Bieber’s Brooklyn show. In March of 2014, the band released its first single, “Me and My Broken Heart,” and it took off—Rixton was suddenly No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

With their instant success and Bieber ties, the guys quickly got the boy band label. “I think because we are just, like, normal guys, clean-shaven, kinda young looking, we like to have fun, we don’t take ourselves seriously—we kind of can get branded like that,” says Roche. “But we don’t mind, really. Plus, boy band members get a lot of money and get to date Taylor Swift.” 

Boy band or not (we’re leaning towards “not”), Roche is quick to mention that Rixton’s main influences come from soul, R&B, and melody-driven music, something you’ll hear on the funky “We All Want the Same Thing” and “Wait On Me.”  

So six years after writing their first song and nearly two years after they began writing for the album, we have Let the Road, a delightfully layered, singer-songwriter pop collection akin to Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, and Maroon 5’s catalogs. “It’s petrifying,” says Roche. “I’m not going to lie, it is scary. Our fans have been waiting for so long–we’ve been waiting for so long. Our mothers are just hounding us seeing when they can get physical copies of the CD. We’re very, very excited, but it has been a long process so it’s finally time to let the bird flee the nest.”

Rixton is touring in support of the album, opening on Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran’s massive arena tours—an opportunity for exposure that isn’t lost on the group. “We turn up to these arenas and we’re just looking around going, six years ago – well not even six years ago, like two years ago–we were playing bars and clubs, being booed off stage. And now we’re sound checking in an arena,” says Roche. “It’s just kind of mindblowing and our mothers can’t believe it, either.”

Let the Road is available for purchase on iTunes, a full list of tour dates can be found below. 

On tour with Ariana Grande:

03/03  Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena

03/07  Detroit, MI @ Joe Louis Arena

03/08  Toronto, ON   @ Air Canada Centre

03/10  Pittsburgh, PA @ Petersen Events Center

03/12  Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center

03/14  Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena

03/15  Worcester, MA @ DCU Center

03/20  New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden

03/21  New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden

03/24  Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena

03/26  Orlando, FL @ Amway Center

03/28  Miami, FL @ American Airlines Arena

03/31  San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center

04/01  Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center

04/03  Oklahoma City, OK @ Chesapeake Energy Arena

04/06  Phoenix, AZ @ US Airways Center

04/08  Inglewood, CA @ The Forum

04/10  Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center

04/12  San Jose, CA @ SAP Center at San Jose

04/14  Seattle, WA @ KeyArena

04/16  Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena

On tour with Ed Sheeran:

06/07  Canandaigua, NY @ CMAC

06/09  Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena

06/10  Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Premier Center

06/12  Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Center

06/13  Regina, SK @ Brandt Centre

06/14  Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place

06/16  Saskatoon, SK @ Sasktel Centre

06/17  Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome

06/19  Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena

06/20  Portland, OR @ Moda Center

06/23  San Diego, CA @ Valley View Casino Center

06/24  Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl

06/26  San Francisco, CA @ Greek Theater at UC Berkeley

06/29  Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

07/02  Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Amphitheatre

07/03  Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest

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