Rosellas: ‘We are destined to be’
The Manchester band ready to take the world by storm.
“We are destined to be”, stated frontman Drew Selby. He spoke confidently as he sipped his Manchester Craft Lager at Gullivers, a well-known bar and venue in the Northern Quarter, surrounded by three individuals in a tight green booth who shared his conviction. His manager André Persand-Carter, bandmate Luis Sullivan and me, a music journalist with a gut feeling she was enjoying a pint with one of the biggest groups of the future.
Rosellas are a five-piece indie rock band from Manchester. Since forming in 2019, their anthemic A-sides and brilliant B-sides have proved they have something special.
Selby realised this himself when he and guitarist Euan Mail began bringing their strongest songs to rehearsals in 2020: “Mark being the machine he is on the drums, and Luis; the most musical genius I’ve ever met. When me and Euan brought the songs to them, they’d get pumped full of life. I haven’t mentioned Ollie there, but he is solid. He just doesn’t fuck up. Once we realised that all of those cogs were working together in the machine, it was just about oiling it more and more.”
Over the years, the band have relentlessly made music, self-promoted their gigs — one of which sold 220 tickets at their local hall — and shown industry professionals they are willing to put the work in. So, in 2022, This Feeling Records, who are known for showcasing some of the finest upcoming indie acts, signed Rosellas.
“If the stars align, they could become the next big thing”, said This Feeling promoter, George Holmes.
Since being signed, Rosellas have performed at venues like Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Manchester’s O2 Ritz as support for Starsailor on their ‘Love Is Here’ 20th anniversary tour.
The lads, who have been playing at places like Gullivers since they were 15, saw this as a significant advancement. Sullivan explained: “We are used to this small intimate club sound. The minute you get onto a stage like Shepherd’s Bush, it completely changes. We were apprehensive about whether our sound would carry. But the minute we got on; it was like: ‘This is where our songs are meant to be played’.”
Rosellas are “buzzing” to headline Manchester Academy 3 next March. Selby, who was astounded by day one ticket sales, remarked: “It’s like some statistical justification that we are doing all right.”
Unlike now when Rosellas have sold all 470 tickets for the Academy gig, they thought back to December 2021 when they were preparing for their largest show to date at The Deaf Institute, worried they wouldn’t fill the 240-capacity room. The concert had been postponed due to Covid, which led to sporadic ticket sales.
“It kind of dribbled in and then everyone was like: ‘The gig’s this week, let’s buy one’. Whereas this was very much out of the gates”, the frontman explained.
He proudly mentioned one fan who is travelling from San Francisco to see them. “It’s like: ‘Fucking hell, we might actually have fans here now’. It’s not just mates and mums, and mates of mums.”
This comes as no surprise to me as the band work hard to make their shows seamless and spectacular. “Putting introductions to songs and filling the silence has been a key thing for us always”, the lead singer said. He recalled Mail introducing him to their 2021 single, ‘Before The Storm’: “I heard the guitar riff and instantly I was like: ‘That needs a three-minute solo and big cloudburst esque drums in at the start’. The crowd need to know that there’s something going on here.”
I felt this when I first saw Rosellas at Liverpool Sound City 2022. The moment I heard their infectious melodies, I knew they were going to be huge.
Although I could hear influences from their Manchester predecessors, their sound was unlike anything I’ve heard before. Sullivan explained authenticity has always been a priority: “When Oasis split up, there was a need in Manchester amongst indie bands to be the replacement. We’re going against that. We don’t need to try to be anyone else.”
Pointing at Sullivan, Selby added: “What sets us apart from the rest is you bro. The fact that we’ve got a fucking piano player. None of them bands that I was brought up on that I thought were world class had a piano player and we do, so fuck you all.”
According to Selby, unwavering confidence is essential if you want to succeed. “I think we’re better than anyone else, song writing wise at the moment. I appreciate a lot of other bands out there that have good music, but for me personally, you can’t be a songwriter in a band if you don’t think your own tunes are the best.
“We know that we’re not going to fall through the net because our songs are too good to not be recognised.”
Since 2019, Rosellas have released over 30 songs. “No other band at our level has done that”, the frontman claimed.
“Over lockdown, Euan wrote more than any songwriter I’ve ever met. He was pinging songs at me day after day after day and granted 70% of them were shite so they were dropped, but 30% were fucking brilliant. And just through the sheer volume of him writing, we were bound to have more back logging. And then [Luis] started getting into [his] writing. I was churning them out as well. We’ve got two full demos albums written that no one’s even heard yet.”
There is no denying indie music’s decline in popularity. But recently, musicians like Sam Fender and DMA’S have given Rosellas hope that they can still be successful. Sullivan said: “The beauty of it is it comes back in cycles. It was big in the nineties. It was big in the 2000s. It’s not been big for a while. We want to be the reason it comes back.”
Rosellas have already racked up over 400,000 streams. Selby reflected: “If we were a band in the 90s and we’d sold 400,000 records and people had paid for that tangible with cash, we’d probably be a lot bigger than we are now. We’re under no disillusion to the fact that streaming services mean that the numbers don’t mean as much anymore.
“If we get to the point where we’re selling millions of albums, fantastic. But to us, that’s a bonus. If we can just get to the point where we’re making a living out of it, we’re doing what we love and people are into it, we’re something there. We’re destined to just be something.”
To buy tickets for their UK tour, click here.