Roosevelt

When it came to making his fourth album, Marius Lauber - perhaps better known as Roosevelt, his artist moniker of over 10 years - wanted to rediscover the magic of why he started the project in the first place. Aiming to recreate the joy of making his first demos (using just a laptop and headphones at home rather than in flashy studios), Marius reconnected with his younger artistic self. 

Going back to basics, was the ethos that Lauber lived by throughout the creation of his new record, Embrace. When he first started working on it, Lauber decided to break away from his studio in Cologne to seek fresh inspiration. Reflecting back on the very start of his career, he recalled the realisation he had as a teenager still finishing school, long before he was Roosevelt. Marius chose to continue pursuing music rather than attending university along with his peers. 
Three albums down the line and now entering his 30s, Roosevelt has established himself as a successful producer, songwriter, live artist and DJ. Yet, in the early stages of crafting Embrace, he started to question his surroundings, and longed to move away from the setting which had formed his earlier work. Some early unsuccessful attempts to get the new album writing process underway confirmed this – it all felt too regime. Less about creating art and more of a day job, and focussing more on minute details than he had before. Having been surrounded by studio engineers and used all the gear available to him, he found that too much equipment and too much of a professional surrounding could be counterproductive. Marius surprised himself by removing himself from any familiarity and breaking away from the studios he’s built his career to date within. 

With his laptop packed alongside him, Marius swapped professional studios for improvised setups in rented Airbnbs all over the world. Working on the album in Barcelona, New York and Los Angeles, he learned that privacy (in the rural Barcelona suburbs, there wasn’t another human near him for three kilometers) was sometimes what helped him write best. Isolation made things click and, most importantly, reignited his creative fire. 

While writing the album’s early demos in 2021, he listened to completely different genres of music, diving into the classic works of Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne – for fear of subconsciously comparing his works in progress to other artists’ new releases. Thinking about the emotion that he wanted to convey through each track also made the process less restrictive for Marius. He then spent the second half of 2022 working on the final production and mixed the record in early 2023 during a week-long stint at a studio in Berlin. 

Embrace finds Roosevelt expanding the sonic world he has created, whilst also showcasing his most personal lyrics to date. Kaleidoscopic opener ‘Ordinary Love’ pops with vibrancy and colour, taking the listener on a dancefloor-ready journey of the earliest exciting days of blossoming romance. The gradually-building synth-led electronic euphoria of ‘Rising’, meanwhile, is equally suited to peak-time club sets as it is to huge outdoor festival stages. The guitar-led funk of ‘Luna’ recalls ‘Passion’, Roosevelt’s 2022 collaboration with Nile Rodgers, before the space-y lasers of ‘Yucca Mesa’ segue into ‘Paralyzed’, conveying further how the depth and texture of the new album has evolved Roosevelt’s soundscape. 

Right in the album’s midpoint, Roosevelt’s first ever ballad, ‘Lake Shore’, interjects, insisting on presenting a deeper, more serious side to his artistry as he sings “I never felt so lost before” over an ambient soundscape of washed-out riffs. The energy picks up again for the singalong ‘Realize’, before the 90s-influenced shoegaze of ‘Fall Right In’. Finally, the reverb-heavy psychedelic haze of ‘Forevermore’, one of his most emotive songs to date, and album closer, ‘Alive’, complete Embrace’s musical journey. 

The title Embrace also relates to the fact that Lauber didn’t force himself to start a whole new chapter of Roosevelt with this album – embracing the essential essence of his project even if the production and sounds are somewhat evolved. “It’s a very Roosevelt record,” he suggests. There are, however, some things on it that he had never done before, like the ballad ‘Lake Shore’. “Even on the last record, I would have insisted ‘No, a Roosevelt song needs drums’,” Marius laughs. With this refreshed artistic perspective, the album pushes the boundaries and expectations of what a Roosevelt record could sound like. 

Having overcome the outdated industry belief that artists should reinvent themselves with each record they release, Lauber now realises how fortunate he is – especially having formed a connection with an ever-growing fanbase. “I'm in a position where I can just do my thing, and it’s great to have found my own sound,” he says. “I’m proud of that, too, because it’s important to realise what's most fun for you.” 

On a deeper level, the album title relates to many themes that run through the record’s escapist lyrics. A reminder to not be hindered by your anxiety, Embrace is an encouragement to fall into something and fully immerse oneself in an emotion – whether it’s good or bad. “I have the feeling sometimes that I haven’t been fully in the moment, but that’s often something you only realise afterward,” he says. 

Personally, Roosevelt sees Embrace as a note to himself to follow his lifelong passion. Contextually, it’s about trying to embrace the present, and the position he’s in already. “Trying to be humble and remind myself that the 18-year-old me would be psyched with where I am right now,” he adds. 

However, this idea is by no means singular. It’s entirely universal – and incredibly fitting considering the world we live in, which can often feel dark and overpowering. Embrace, offers a means of escape from the doom and gloom, enabling listeners to instead immerse in the positivity of the music. This is something that, as Marius has come to realise, holds an incredible amount of value and extends far beyond just entertainment. Over time, he has grown to
understand the impact and importance of his role as an artist: for example, giving his audiences the chance to let loose and express themselves, even if only for the length of a festival set. 

Now, more than anything, he’s just excited to share the album with the world. “It all feels like a fever dream,” Marius says, “because it’s been done for so long. It needs to be out there for it to feel like it actually happened.”
 

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August 10 Sat
Outside Lands Night Show! Another Planet presents
with DJ Aaron Axelsen
Doors: 9:00 pm / Show: 10:00 pm
21 and up