Building Rome
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Building Rome

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the road to glory in the music industry is a long one. That’s especially true today, when alternative rock bands come and go, and the top slots on the Billboard Hot 100 are currently occupied by hipPop artists and dance tracks. Building Rome is a St. Louis-based band looking to expand their brand on a national level, and their new album Nightmare is a positive step toward ultimate conquest.

Their sound has been compared to My Chemical Romance and Green Day, and I can definitely hear the influence. Here’s another band they remind me of - Blink 182, especially because of the lead vocals. And that’s why I feel a little conflicted when I listen to Nightmare. On one hand, it seems like I’ve heard some variation of their music on the radio at some point in the past 5-10 years. On the other hand, it’s well-done, especially to a casual alternative rock listener like me. Building Rome can seamlessly switch from headbangers to traditional radio singles, then flip the script and move into softer ballads without missing a beat.

Simply put, there isn’t a weak track on this album. You can listen the whole way through, and the ride is smooth and enjoyable. Is it a classic? I’m not going there. Taking risks can elevate an album to unprecedented heights if done right, but can also be downright embarrassing if done wrong. Nightmare takes the middle ground and sounds good doing it.

Overall, I give this album a 4 out of 5. Building Rome is a talented, polished and professional band that’s as good as anything you’ll hear in the mainstream and on the charts. The only question is whether they can make themselves stand out more from the competition. In the end, that’ll be up to them and the changing tastes of a fickle music market.
- thealbumreviewblog.com


In a world filled with contrived lyrics and songs that seem to blend into one another as if in an unremarkable musical parody of Groundhog Day, it is refreshing to find a band that utilizes everything at their disposal to truly create something anyone can and will relate to. Building Rome does this seamlessly, leaving the listener with the raw energy one craves at a live show.

See below for an exclusive interview with Jon (lead singer) detailing the history of Building Rome, what goes into making such a unique album and what being a musician entails.

History:
1.) How did the band form? Were you friends before you embarked on this endeavor together?
I have been doing Building Rome for years now, and I've always had trouble finding the right band members. It's a life-altering commitment, and that's tough for a lot of people to grasp. I've known Tom from the St. Louis music scene for years, while he and Brian were playing in a band called Centerpointe. Tom and I always talked about how passionate we were about making it in the music industry. During the recording of the new album, I asked him if he wanted to sing some backup vocals and he was stoked about it. So he went in and nailed the parts, and we decided to jam and give it a shot. It sounded really good so we decided to join forces. I found out later that they had sent me an e-mail saying that they wanted to jam with me a while back, and I never responded. Come to find out, they sent it to the wrong e-mail address.
2.) Were you always musically inclined growing up?
I always had a certain passion for music. Music that wasn't being played on the radio wasn't as easy to come by when I was a kid, so I'd listen to the same songs over and over and over again. I'd sing along very loudly and imagine myself singing it on stage. I tried to start playing guitar when I was 12, but I didn't really get serious about learning until I was 16. I wouldn't say that it came incredibly natural to me, but I practiced a LOT and studied songwriting for years. I skipped a lot of school to play my guitar. Now things are much easier! :)
3.) Do you have any musical inspirations that influenced you either with how you wrote songs or how you lived your life? Did they ever change throughout the years?
Oh absolutely. I always looked up to the bands I liked. I looked at them as something more than human. I studied how my influences wrote their songs, and learned how to play and sing all of them. I was even in a Weezer tribute band for a while. These days, I seem to look up to people for different reasons.
Nightmare
1.) How does your album cover represent Nightmare?
It's a representation specifically of the 4th song on our album entitled "Sink Like An Anchor". The image is of a worn out ship (symbolizing the main character) in an epic battle of good and evil. The ship is trying to stay afloat in a storm while angels and demons are battling for control and it's heading toward the light at the end of the horizon. All together it represents the war of addiction. I explained the entire album in detail here


Artwork Credit: Dan Seagrave - Nightmare cover
2.) How was the idea for Nightmare born? What work went into the concept to help set your album apart in the music world?
I was going through a really rough time. My band had broken up, and I pretty much sat on my couch for a year being really depressed. The concept for the album started up with a dream that I had, and sort of perpetuated itself into a whole story about love, death, anger, addiction, and war. The first song that I wrote for Nightmare was called "Meet You In My Dreams" and it was supposed to be the first song on the album. It started off sounding very fairytale-ish, and we decided that people may get the wrong first impression. So we decided to start it in the middle of the story where the "Nightmare" starts. I think that story-wise, I was more inspired by books and movies, rather than music. I just wanted to make something real. I can always tell when people write music just to write music. I wanted to write something that I would listen to. Plus, I was tired of writing songs that ended after three minutes. That's not enough time to build a character, and that's what I wanted to do with Nightmare.
3.) You have many sounds in your music that one does not normally hear (i.e. thunder), what inspired you to experiment and create such a unique experience in your songs?
I've come to realize that if you stick to the same old sounds and the same old formula, things start to sound bland, so I did a lot of experimenting with different sounds on this album. I literally went through thousands of different keyboard tones to pick the ones I did. A lot of the weird sounds were added after the initial recording, on my home computer, and then I sent them to Steve to mix. I'm pretty sure that Steve spent a lot of time taking things out, because I was going overboard. hahah.
4.) Tim Convy and Tim Ferrell of Ludo had a hand in Nightmare. What was it like working with members of other bands? Did you feed off of one another’s energy like you do in your own jam sessions or was it a very different approach?
Ludo is one of my favorite bands, so I was honored that they were willing to record on Nightmare. Their music inspired a lot of writing on Nightmare, and I thought it was really cool that they played on songs that were inspired by them. With Tim Convy, I sent him the song "Dr. Doctor" and asked if he wanted to play on it. I had recorded a cheesy synth in my demo and he was really excited about replacing it with moog. He came to the studio one day during recording and we sat in the lobby and went over it a bunch of times. We sort of fed off each other, and spent a little while working on parts. When he came to record, he busted out a lot of cool Ludo-esque tricks that I would never have thought of. Originally the moog was more prominent in the song, but Steve mixed it lower after the first section. As for Tim Ferrell, I went over to his house and went over a few songs with him on guitar. He practiced them, came up with a few parts on his own, and then busted them out in the studio. He accidentally added a chordal change in "What Are We Fighting For?" that I thought was great so we kept it. He also wrote a wicked solo to "Burn" and played on "Sink Like And Anchor" and "Haunting Me". Overall I we all had a good time. I can't wait to hear the new Ludo record.
Shows & Misc
1.) What emotions do you feel on stage? How does the audience affect how you play and do they ever cause you to alter your set list mid-show?
Oh yea. We've pulled audibles on many occasions. Sometimes, depending on the mood of the crowd, we have to play different songs than what we put in the set list. For example, we have this joke song called "Gangster Baby.". In some settings, that song goes over great, and in other settings people are like "what the f*** is that?!" While playing live, I try and put myself back into the writing of the song as much as I can, although it can be tough sometimes. When people are singing along, sometimes I can feel the hairs raise up in the back of my neck. Those are the times you always dream of being a musician. For example, during our last hometown show, right before the bridge of "What Are We Fighting For?" I could feel the audience's anticipation for the next part and I got that chill.
2.) How do you determine who plays what role in your songs in terms of vocals, guitar, etc?
We're pretty diplomatic about how we handle things. So if someone really wants to play a part, it's usually not a big deal. It's all about compromise when you're in a band, and I think we do that really well. In the future, Tom will be singing more of his own secondary lead parts. But we have a LOT of harmonies live.
3.) What are you most looking forward to in the year 2010?
We've got a lot of really good things going for us, and we're going to work as hard as we can to spread the word of Building Rome. This includes playing as many shows as we can, and pursuing every opportunity that materializes. We've got some really good shows lined up that I can't wait to play. We're opening for Story of the Year here in St. Louis on March 4th, and then we're playing SXSW and Red Gorilla Fest later on that month, which I think will be awesome. I think that 2010 will be an amazing and productive year for us.
4.) What is your own guilty pleasure music that people may not expect?
I did a rock cover of "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. I think she's great. Her music is really good, considering it's not usually my taste.

Listening to the complexity of Nightmare unfold, it is easy to see how much heart and work poured its way into the album. From the dreamlike quality emerging from the ashes of an an angry soul, the album tells the story that so many have felt and yet few truly discuss. Though the darkness of the subject matter clenches into the heart of the listener, by the end of the album the weight is ultimately lifted as though the same resolve of the songs character has reprieved those suffering along with him. Ultimately it is a full range of emotions that should leave one feeling drained, but instead pours adrenaline through your veins. Building Rome is indefinitely a band to see live so as to share this very same sort of energy with the crowd pounding to the beat of the band sharing such a personal sound with the world. - Examiner.com


It's a late April afternoon at Sawhorse Recording Studios, the home base of studio engineer Jason McEntire. The local rock act Building Rome has been recording a new album, Nightmare, at the south-side studio with producer Steven Haigler since late March. Nightmare's basic tracks are done, and Haigler, McEntire and Building Rome vocalist/songwriter Jon Heisserer are adding extra flourishes. This part of the recording process is often the most tedious; bands and producers might spend hours tweaking a miniscule section of a song.

At the moment that's exactly what's going on with "What Are We Fighting For?" a dark, emo-punk tune reminiscent of My Chemical Romance. Sleepy-eyed Heisserer, his dyed black hair marked with a faint skunk-streak of blond, defers to the two men as they discuss percussion textures. A surveillance-style video screen (think Blair Witch Project-grainy) above the mixing board is trained on the tracking room, where McEntire can be seen banging on a bass drum. Haigler, sporting a black long-sleeve T-shirt, jeans and Converse high-tops, is attempting to articulate what he wants to hear.

After a bunch of thunderous takes, McEntire returns to the console room and settles in at his computer. The glow from the screen illuminates his faint facial hair as the men play back the same small section of the song, fixing imperceptible off-key pitches and isolating keyboards. Satisfied for now, "Fighting" is put aside, and the men move on to adding a keyboard melody to the AFI-like title track. It's a process that will stretch out over several hours — and include McEntire easing the slightly testy atmosphere by jokingly busting out snippets of "Axel F," the Doogie Howser theme song and Journey's "Separate Ways" on a keyboard.

Haigler is no stranger to recording sessions such as this: The Charlotte, North Carolina, resident mixed the Pixies' Bossanova, Doolittle and Trompe le Monde, and has produced albums by Local H, Brand New, Fuel and Quicksand. He chose to work with Building Rome because he was impressed by Heisserer's "unique way of writing quirky pop songs, guitar-pop." But he was also happy with his Sawhorse experience.

More at http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2009-05-27/music/deep-cuts-jason-mcentire-keeps-world-class-recording-facility-sawhorse-studios-humming/2 - Riverfront Times


In my profile of Jason McEntire, I observed him and producer Steven Haigler working with Building Rome on its new album, Nightmare. The band's been around for many years, but has matured greatly beyond its early work, which was heavily indebted to Jimmy Eat World. I caught up with BR vocalist/songwriter Jon Heisserer to talk about the album, working with Haigler, what he likes about McEntire.

When did you first start working with Jason McEntire -- and how did you hear about him originally?
I had originally asked him to mix our first album back in 2004. That fell through, but we ended up going to Sawhorse to do some demos throughout 2006 and 2007. I was a huge fan of his work with Ludo on Broken Bride, so that definitely influenced my decision to work with him. (Plus he bought us dinner!) During the summer of '07, my band sort of broke up and I was pretty bummed about it, so Jason hooked me up with his friend Ted Bruner, who had recently written with Katy Perry and Plain White T's. Ted and I hit it off and wrote two songs together for Nightmare. For one of the songs, "Streetlights," Jason, Ted and I sat down together and said to ourselves, "Let's write a song that you could hear in a strip club."

What made you decide to bring Steven Haigler to St. Louis to work at Jason's -- as opposed to you going somewhere else to work with him?
I spent the better part of a year talking to different producers for the new Building Rome album, and Jason became involved in the process early on. When I made the final decision to go with Steven, we had to choose between going to VuDu Studios in New York or doing it here in St. Louis. Jason had expressed interest in being involved from the beginning and I already knew that we worked well together, so those factors plus being able to sleep in my own bed made the decision pretty easy. Cost was another factor -- a comparable studio in New York or LA would have cost us twice as much.

As a musician, what have you learned from Jason?
Jason has definitely helped me learn to let go. I'm very compulsive, so I tend to do things, redo them, and then do them again if I don't feel like they're perfect. He's also got a good grasp of music theory, which is helpful with things like harmonies. Also, he played piano on the intro to our album.

What do you think that Sawhorse has to offer your music?
Sawhorse has a pretty wide variety of instruments and recording equipment, so you can get just about whatever sound you want. Jason's very knowledgeable about the equipment and software in his studio, and about instruments in general. He's also pretty well-connected to the music scene in St. Louis, which saved us more than once during this last session. For instance, we went into the studio without a bassist, and he made a few phone calls and had Jeff Gallo, who was awesome, there in a few hours.

What I like about Jason is that he runs Sawhorse with a high degree of professionalism, which is refreshing after being in some other studios. Also, you don't leave the studio feeling like it was done half-assed, which is something I think every musician wants.

Nightmare is based loosely on Jacob's Ladder, correct? Describe the concept of the album more. Why did you choose this to write about?
I actually saw Jacob's Ladder for the first time about halfway through the writing process. A friend suggested it because it was very similar to my album story, so I watched it and I was floored. It described visually what I felt like mentally. I was so inspired by the ending of Jacob's Ladder that I wrote the final song, "Bring Me Home," about it:

(From Jacob's Ladder) "Eckhart saw Hell too; he said: 'the only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you,' he said. 'They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.'"

Nightmare is and has always been a concept album. The story told on Nightmare is actually two-fold, depending on how the listener chooses to interpret it. Back in 2006-07, we as a band were having a lot of interpersonal issues and eventually ended up losing several members. During practices, we were having pointless arguments and not getting much done, and I would come home so stressed out that I couldn't sleep. After one particular stretch where I had been awake for days, I got a prescription for sleeping pills, which took away one set of problems but created another. Pretty quickly, the pills became a real issue. For a long time, I lived in a haze and it became very difficult to distinguish what was a dream and what actually happened.

The flip side of Nightmare is the fictional story. The album was originally based on a song I wrote called "Meet You In My Dreams," which was cut during pre-production. The song relates a dream the lead character has where he's talking to this particular girl - the one that got away. As you listen to more of the album, you realize the character is trying to reunite with this girl in his dreams, which is the only place he can talk to her, and is using sleeping pills to get to the place they meet. Eventually, those become more important to him than anything else, even her.

Nightmare basically tells the story of what I was going through at the time - it's filled with war, anger, sorrow, regret, addiction, and eventually coming to terms and letting it all go. I feel like this album takes the listener through the process of losing something or someone and all of the stages, whether that was my experience with losing people I called friends (my band members), or the fictional character coming to terms with losing the girl of his dreams.

The music seems a lot darker and more sophisticated than your previous efforts. To what do you attribute that?
I think I'm in a different place in my life than with the first two releases, and that has definitely impacted my songwriting. Back when I wrote the first album, I was in high school and all of my songs were about girls (all different girls). For Nightmare, I realized I was tired of writing songs that told a three minute story with a happy ending. So, I went back to my roots and I wrote for me, and not what I thought people would like. My goal for this album was for me to be happy with it. I've realized that if you're truly happy with something that you create, usually other people see what you saw, and they are happy with it as well.

Are you self-releasing it, or looking for a label?
We started our own record label, Election Day Records, and we're planning on releasing it ourselves at the moment. We decided going into this that we would not rely on getting someone else involved to make it work. It would be nice, though, to get some extra tour support and promotion. We're planning to shop it around, but we're not going to sit back and wait. - Riverfront Times


As I first hinted at in an interview earlier this summer, Building Rome's Jon Heisserer has come a long way from being an earnest kid fond of Jimmy Eat World's sweet love songs. His new album, Nightmare -- based loosely on Jacob's Ladder and recorded at Jason McEntire's Sawhorse Studios with producer Steven Haigler -- is quite a diverse (and even somewhat sophisticated) outing

"Streetlights" resembles the askew power-pop of Fountains of Wayne, while the acoustic-guitar-driven "Tired of Waking Up" and string-centric "Bring Me Home" (the latter of which features angelic female vocals as well) are sincerely affecting tunes. Less successful are some of the more rock numbers, which hew very close to Alkaline Trio's dark-punk (specifically, the album Crimson) and come across as too generic. Still, due to the presence of Ludo members here and there, Nightmare never falls too far into the emo abyss -- cheery vocals, layered harmonies and brief Moog lines ensure that. - Riverfront Times


http://www.inkkc.com/node/15523

Building Rome

Nightmare

Election Day Records

St. Louis emo act Building Rome is a band that’s obviously hindered by the limitations of garage and club. Its latest LP, Nightmare, is way too huge, way too explosive to be crammed into a small room. This is big-stage ready, tour-bus traveling, hotel-trashing arena rock.

Much in the same vein as Matchbook Romance and Taking Back Sunday, Building Rome offers the kind of slick perfection we expect from today’s less-aggressive emo. Cue up the strings, synths, acoustics and choirs, this band conducts massive orchestrations only slightly based on the traditional format. With Building Rome, drums and Marshall stacks, though present and necessary, are as stifling as a 200-capacity venue.

The first half of Nightmare is built to get the screaming masses on their feet. Fist-pumpers like opener “What Are We Fighting For?” are designed to prove the rock side of Building Rome. A bombastic and darker number, the song begins quiet and pensive with frontman Jon Heisserer tightly strumming an acoustic and whisper-singing amid well-placed church bells. You can imagine him on a smoky, dark stage. A single violet spotlight piercing the blackness as he strains quietly. Then, the song opens up, the floodlights hit the kids like a thousand suns, and the crowd goes wild.

But this is only the beginning. Nightmare is 12 tracks of shrewdly crafted emo pop that could easily rival any expensive major-label product. The performances are well-played and the whole package produced almost to the brink of ’80s-style excess. Layers of doubled vocals give way to three-part harmonies, which are bowled over by gang chants that dare you not to sing along.

Like true professionals, Building Rome knows how to work the crowd with the upbeat cuts until it’s cool-down time. That’s when the act shows off its inner Mayday Parade. Radio-made slow jams “Sink Like an Anchor,” “Last Time Again” and “Bring Me Home” virtually demand an arena setting. In a small club, you just can’t get that same experience of 12,000 teens waving their iPhones in electronic unison.

And this is where Heisserer gets to show off his pipes. Thankfully, he never resorts to screaming or any of that obligatory forced anger that was once a hallmark of the genre. His voice is too pretty for that nonsense, which is why he sounds so natural on the soft stuff and a little unbelievable when things get feisty. He does his best to spit out phrases like “Screw that” and “I’m gonna tear you apart,” but he still comes off friendly. It’s not his fault. He just has that pop quality.

Building Rome can only benefit from embracing the sweet sensibilities that come so easily to Heisserer. Besides, these guys absolutely need to get big. Light shows and pyrotechnics only look good in an arena.

— steven m. garcia { special to ink } - Ink Magazine


Rome wasn't built in a day: ....but of course, the Romans didn't have any fundraising help from their local up-'n' coming emo-pop band. Lucky for Habitat for Humanity, they do have such support, thanks to the "Building Homes with Building Rome" benefit. The proficient popsters-turned-humanitarians will be performing with the Dead End at Fontbonne University's Dunham Student Activity Center (6800 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-3456) on Friday, January 20, at 8 p.m. Beyond the $2 minimum donation, band and charity merchandise will be sold to benefit the cause. - Riverfront Times - Kristyn Pomranz


Present: How has the band's sound evolved over the past 5-6 years since Building Rome formed?

Jon Heisserer: It started out a bit more on the pop side. I guess you could say that it even had its pop punk roots. Over the years, I became a little more cynical, and my songwriting has taken a darker, more alternative rock turn. I always write according to my mood, and that's given us a pretty diverse sound over the years. For the new album, Nightmare, I started using some weird ambient sounds on the demos and ended up incorporating many of them into the recording.

Present: What's the association between Nightmare and the movie Jacob's Ladder?

Heisserer: When I first saw Jacob's Ladder, I was having a lot of anxiety attacks and trouble sleeping. There were a few days where I was out of my mind. The movie described almost exactly how I felt, to the point where I was a little freaked out. I already had the album concept in mind and partially written before I saw the movie, but it pretty much put everything into perspective for me. I wrote the last song, "Bring Me Home," specifically about the ending scene in Jacob's Ladder. The concept of Heaven and Hell, and how Hell is only what you can't let go of in life, really inspired me.


Present: Who did the artwork for the cover of Nightmare?

Heisserer: I had a specific vision in mind for the artwork, and I spent a long time looking at other bands' album covers to pick an artist. I came across Dan Seagrave, who had done art for a bunch of metal bands, and I thought his stuff was incredible. It's incredibly dark, detailed, and sophisticated. I sent him my vision and some examples, and he painted it for me. The album art is actually a photo of a 5' x 5' painting. He was great to work with...and I never even talked to him on the phone. Definitely check out his website - http://www.danseagrave.com

Present: What about the Lady Gaga song "Poker Face" grabbed you enough to do a cover of it?

Heisserer: I was between recording sessions for the Nightmare album, and I wanted to do something a little different. I actually heard a two-year old singing "pa-pa-pa-poker face" and I thought to myself, "That sounds like a cool song." On a whim, I tried to learn it and ended up spending three days sitting in my basement, drinking coffee, and recording the cover. I actually couldn't get the rhythm down on the "pa-pa-pa-poker face" part at first. It was pretty funny to listen to.

Present: Judging from the plays on songs on MySpace, the band has garnered a sizable audience in St. Louis. What was the first song to really catch on?

Heisserer: I would say that "Miss You More" was the first song to really catch people's attention. I've had bands come up to me over the years and tell me how much that song influenced them back in 2005. I really felt it when I sang it, and I think that really came through on the recording. It's still some people's favorite song by Building Rome. While we do have a large audience in St. Louis, a sizable amount of our fans are actually from out of Missouri and even out of the U.S.

Present: Favorite venue to play in St. Louis? On the road?

Heisserer: The best venue in St. Louis is The Pageant. We played our CD release show there, and it was sweeeeet. It's the biggest non-arena venue in town, and we are super stoked to headline it again this summer. I haven't decided what my favorite venue on the road is. I've had some really great shows, and some really horrible shows. I can't say that I have a favorite out of town venue quite yet. I'm sure I will soon.
Present: What else do you want to share about the new record, the band, or other topics?

Heisserer: You can currently download Nightmare for free at www.noisetrade.com/buildingrome for a limited time. - Present Magazine


ShredNews Album Review
By: Ashley Pagano

Building Rome is a band that has consisted of many different members and changeups of members. This band from Saint Louis, Missouri, is called Building Rome because Rome wasn’t built in one day. However long it took to find the perfect members for the group, it was most definitely worth it, for the band has an unbelievable style and sound that will turn heads and catch anyone’s attention. The band’s most recent album at the moment is Nightmare. It consists of 12 phenomenal tracks, making up an awesome album.

The first track is called “What Are We Fighting For?”. This song has a strange feel to it, but it’s unique sound that contrasts to most bands, is what I enjoy most about it. It’s very chilling, and not only that but it’s got a catchy melody going for it to. It reminds me of just being about to give up on something, and wondering why you tried so hard in the first place. I think a lot of listeners can relate to these songs, and that’s a great trait for a band to have. This same sound continues on in “Nightmare”, my personal favorite. The way it starts out heavy, and mellows out. The change of sound really makes the track stand out. The lyrics are very frank and to the point, which is good, because it’s easy to understand.

The beginning of “Sink Like An Anchor” caught my ear, style, lyrics, sound, everything. It’s a beautiful song. Although I obviously do not know exactly what went through the writer’s mind when writing, it seems like it was written while they were going through a tough time. It’s a great song to help someone get through a rough time, or a motivational song. The vocals made my ears ring. This song is well written and put together, and definitely a masterpiece. Contrasting to that is the song is “Haunting Me”. It has a style much like the first couple tracks. Lyrically, the song is very impressive. The lyrics seem very true and genuine.

The acoustics immediately caught my attention in “Streetlights”. Again, this song has awesome lyrics, and sound. It’s impossible to not bob your head to the song, for it has an awesome melody. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album, though it’s hard to decide, especially with “Tired Of Waking Up” This song is another favorite. It’s a song of reminiscing, and though it’s sad, it has an upbeat and happy feel to it.

This album truly surprised me. It makes me want to show it to everybody! It has so much going for it, and so does this band. Bravo on an album well done.

For Fans Of: Nightmare Of You, The Shins, Owl City

Overall Rating: 10/10

Recommended Tracks: Nightmare, Streetlights, Tired Of Waking Up - ShredNews


>> Building Rome is a great alternative rock group from St. Louis, Missouri. Consisting of 4 talented guys, the band has mastered the art of creating beautiful music full of passion and intensity. Their album, "Nightmare", includes tracks with a variety of sounds and attitudes, some being upbeat with a hidden meaning, and others being fairly dark and ominous. The album is made up of 12 songs thattell a story of addiction, hopelessness, self destruction, remorse, acceptance, and so much more.

>>"What Are We Fighting For" is a great opening track. It sets the perfect tone for the record, hinting at a conflict that will get worse, but hopefully be resolved as the album progresses. It's a dark song that helps the listener paint a mental picture of what's to come. "Nightmare", the title track, sounds like the perfect mix of Capital Lights and Alkaline Trio, two great bands with almost opposite sounds. This track is upbeat, but it also has a dark side to it. "Dr. Doctor" is fairly similar, with a hint of Ludo thrown in as well, with regards to both sound and sense of humor. That track is almost guaranteed to get stuck in your head, but it's certainly not something to complain about. "Sink Like An Anchor" is deceptively soothing; with such a sweet melody it's almost surprising when you listen & realize the lyrics talk about revenge and self destruction. This is also the song that inspired the album artwork. "Take Cover (Burn)" starts out with a fairly ominous tone, and keeps the intensity just as strong as it continues. It's everything you could want in a rock song- it has a dark sound that grabs your attention, and passionate lyrics that are pretty easy to relate to. Here's a sample from the last chorus: "Will we ever learn what it takes to burn? Take cover, run as fast as you can, that little girl's got blood on her hands and dreams of fire.... I have no desire, no desire to burn." The next track, "Haunting Me", helps to show the diversity in Building Rome's music. You can hear the emotion put into it like the other songs, but this track has more of an upbeat, pop-punk tone than some of the others. It sounds like a party song with a chorus reminiscent of "Walking Disaster" by Sum-41. "Last Time Again" is smooth, soft, and full of remorse. This song is truly beautiful; a type of ballad with a dark twist. The intro of "Orange Case" reminds me of that of "Just The Girl"by The Click Five, but longer with a faster tempo. It's funny to compare the two songs seeing as how they're fairly opposite aside from that one similarity. It lures you in with the catchy intro, uses the verse to build anticipation, and transitions nicely into the chorus with a smooth, rock tone that does not disappoint. It's a fairly tame song, no dramatic crescendos or unexpected low-points; this song is stronger in its meaning and representation than anything else. "Streetlights" starts out with soft, eerie vocals that just draw you into the hard-rock chorus. The song is almost 3 minutes long, but it seems shorter- the track might start out slowly, but it certainly doesn't drag. This is a track whose tone seemingly corresponds with its meaning, representing someone being overtaken by the negative in their life and, essentially, turning over to the 'dark side.' I love "Tired Of Waking Up", and not just the song, but it's place in the track-listing as well. It's a fairly hopeful song, both with its upbeat sound and message of acceptance. It's about reflecting on , letting go of, and accepting what life has brought, and making an attempt to move on with one's life. "I was so happy by myself, I never needed any help. There were dreams of fun & fame, but now I know life is just a game, and I lost my turn on you... I'm gonna take your pictures down, and kick myself back off the ground, forget your face, and let you go." This is one of my favorite lines in the song. It shows acknowledgment of the past, and motivation towards the future. "Bring Me Home" is a beautifully sad, yet sweet acoustic song. The violins featured on this track only add to the emotion personified by the lyrics, as seen here in the closing line: "Close your eyes & I'll kiss you one last time before I miss you, but this time I'll be okay. Here's goodbye my love, goodnight." This is a song that almost anyone can relate to in some way, it's about letting go- something we have all experienced at one time in our lives. The final track, "If This Is Where It Ends", is only about a minute long and asks one question. "If this is where it ends, where do we begin? Where do I begin?" It's the perfect end for this record- fairly open-ended, and ominous. It hints at the fact that everything repeats itself, and that life is almost cyclical until it ends.

Overall, this is an incredible album. Taken simply for the music, each song is different from the last, but their common factor is the emotion that went into writing them. Once you listen to each song and hear the lyrics, get a taste for the meaning, one can truly see how talented the members of Building Rome are.

I would think myself lucky to see them perform live, if one can feel this much intensity recorded onto a CD, I could only imagine what it would be like in person. Building Rome has some shows coming up in Texas, Missouri, and Illinois. Check their MySpace for dates, and do your best make it out to a show.

When I was referring to what the songs meant, or what they were written about- That wasn't just my view on it, it's a fact. I got the information here, when Jon posted a blog 'explaining Nightmare.' Check it out for an even better look into the mind of a talented lyricist, and story-teller.
- TheMusicObsession.com


Discography

Nightmare – Produced by platinum-selling producer Steven Haigler (Brand New, Pixies, Fuel), released September 15, 2009
We’re All So Bored – iTunes-only compilation of demos from '06-'08, released 2008
Second Chance For Worst Impressions (EP) – Co-produced and engineered by Marc McClusky, released November 11, 2006
Something Left Of Nothing – Debut album, released August 25, 2005

Photos

Bio

Recent Achievements:
• Listed as one of the "Kings of A&R Picks" on Kings of A&R (http://www.kingsofar.com/building-rome/) - October 12, 2010
• "What Are We Fighting For?" music video featured on MUZU.TV - June 24, 2010
• Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands Winner for a spot on St. Louis Vans Warped Tour 2010 - June 16, 2010
• Winner, Best Modern Rock Band, 2010 RFT Music Awards - June 22, 2010
• Featured in AP&R section of Alternative Press magazine #263 - May 2010
• Hard Rock Calling Battle of the Bands St. Louis Winner - May 2010
• InsideSTL.com Band of the Week - May 23, 2010
• OurStage.com Number 1 Alternative Song: Nightmare - May 18, 2010
• Ourstage.com top 10 alternative rock single: Haunting Me
• Maximum Threshold Song of the Week - Dec. 19-26, 2009
• Upcoming Fm102x Song of the Day - Feb 8, 2010
• Nightmare was chosen over hundreds of other songs to be featured at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, CA.

"St. Louis emo act Building Rome is a band that’s obviously hindered by the limitations of garage and club. Its latest LP, Nightmare, is way too huge, way too explosive to be crammed into a small room. This is big-stage ready, tour-bus traveling, hotel-trashing arena rock."
-- Ink Magazine, Kansas City, MO

"Building Rome has been a staple of the local emo/pop-punk scene for years. Last year's Alkaline Trio-influenced Nightmare, however, clearly shows a band shooting for the next level. The concept album, which is based loosely on Jacob's Ladder, was recorded locally at Sawhorse Recording Studios and produced by Steven Haigler, who's best known for his work with the Pixies. The result is a big-sounding, tastefully executed record — and hopefully another stepping stone in its ever-burgeoning career. (SM)"
-- Riverfront Times, Saint Louis, MO (June 3, 2010)

They say Rome wasn't built in a day, and Jon Heisserer would probably agree. As the vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of St. Louis-based Building Rome, Heisserer has been working to promote his brand of bipolar, verge-of-insanity pop rock since the band was formed in 2003. After six years of writing, recording, playing shows, and promoting relentlessly, they have amassed some amazing results. Building Rome has recorded three albums and an EP, developed a mailing list of over 7,200 fans, played sold out shows at 1,000+ capacity venues, opened for Fall Out Boy on their “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” tour, and have statistics on MySpace.com and Myxer.com that rival some major label acts.

For Building Rome's latest album, Nightmare, Heisserer's "unique way of writing quirky pop songs" (Riverfront Times) caught the ear of Steven Haigler (Fuel, Brand New, Pixies), who signed up to produce and mix the album during April of 2009. Several local and nationally-recognized artists appear on the album, including Tim Convy and Tim Ferrell from Ludo (Island/Def Jam). In addition, two of the songs that appear on the album were co-written with Ted Bruner (Katy Perry, Bowling for Soup, Plain White T's).

Along the way, Heisserer has found a group of solid musicians to complete the band. Tom Butler (bass), and Brian Porter (drums) bring a new perspective to the music and live show. "Brian is the most solid drummer I've ever played with and Tom's backup vocals are amazing. It’s really great to find people who are just as dedicated as I am to making it in the music business," notes Heisserer. “It’s been a long road, but we know that only good things can come in the future, no matter what it takes or how long.”

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Interesting facts and career statistics:

Nightmare
- Produced and mixed by Steven Haigler (Brand New, Pixies, Fuel)
- Album release date: September 15, 2009
- CD release party at The Pageant in St. Louis: September 18, 2009
- Tim Ferrell and Tim Convy from Ludo (Island/Def Jam) played on Nightmare
- Two songs on Nightmare were written with Ted Bruner (Katy Perry, Plain White T's, Bowling For Soup)
- As part of the marketing effort for Nightmare, fans entered their names and e-mail addresses to receive a personal thank you on the album, which increased the band’s mailing list from 1,200 to over 7,200 fans

Performance Highlights
- Story of the Year CD Release Show for The Constant – March 4, 2010
- Headlined The Pageant in St. Louis, MO for Nightmare CD release party (Attendance: over 800) – September 18, 2009
- A Very Ludo Xmas 2008 with Ludo (Island/Def Jam) and Family Force Five (Tooth and Nail) – December 28, 2008
- iFest at The Family Arena (St. Louis) to over 1800 people – August 16, 2008
- Won the "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" contest to open for Fall Out Boy and +44 on the Honda Civic tour in St. Louis – May 18, 2007
- A Very Ludo Xmas 2006 with Ludo (Island/Def Jam) – December 9, 2006

Myspace
- Over 1.7 million plays
- Consistently in the Top 10 on the MySpace Music charts for U.S. unsigned rock artists

Myxer.