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Home / An interview with Robert Schwartzman: Rooney guitarist, member of the Coppola clan
It's hardly surprising that Robert Schwartzman is a workaholic. When the Rooney vocalist-guitarist isn't writing and recording music, he's making movies.
Such is life in the Coppola family. Schwartzman, the son of actress Talia Shire, brother of musician-actor Jason Schwartzman and nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola, grew up in a relentlessly creative family. Schwartzman is coming to Gabe's in Iowa City to perform with Rooney on Saturday (9/15) night.
In a phone interview from New York, he details what's up next for his band, what it was like to grow up Schwartzman and what his family parties are like.
Q: When will there be a new Rooney album?
A: I'm currently writing and releasing singles. I love the LP but things have changed today. I like singles because I'm always listening to random songs. We live in a single-driven era. I think I'll just go with an EP next time I release something.
Q: Are you going to preview new material in Iowa City?
A: We're going to play a lot of new stuff and some songs from 'El Cortez,” the EP I put out last year. We'll also sprinkle in some of the old songs. We've built a catalog of music and we're drawing from it. It's a balanced and impactful evening.
Q: Your mom made such an impact as an actress. What is Talia Shire like?
A: My mom is a magical person. She's all about the arts and being independent. Growing up with her, she was always kind and always had classical music playing in the house. Her dad was a composer.
Q: What did you listen to growing up?
A: My brothers exposed me to the Beach Boys, ELO and Queen. Being a '90s kid, I loved Blur, but I also loved the oldies but goodies station. I loved Motown, Dion, Del Shannon, The Ronettes and the Crystals.
Q: What was your mother's reaction when you decided to pursue music professionally?
A: My mom wasn't crazy about it. She wanted me to become a composer. But it was about rock 'n' roll for me.
Q: How much of an impact did your brother's band, Phantom Planet, have on you?
A: They had a big impact. Jason is older and so he was in the band when I was still young and I would go see them play. I followed in his footsteps. But I have such a passion for songwriting. I had to go this way and my mother learned to appreciate it over time.
Q: But you also act and direct. What was it like acting in your cousin, Sophia Coppola's classic film, 'The Virgin Suicides?”
A: I remember it like it was yesterday. It was 21 years ago. I was on the set all summer long. What I did only took three days. I was 14 years old. I remember being there hanging out with the other actors.
Q: Did you always want to make movies?
A: Yes, I always wanted to make movies. Music was not my first dream. I wasn't trying to become a musician. I remember being on that set wanting to learn how to make movies. I lived at the house Sophia rented. The whole moviemaking process fascinated me.
Q: Your film 'The Unicorn” debuted at South By Southwest in March.
A: I wanted to work with these amazing actors and I did. It was amazing. My mom likes that I produced the movie, as well. I put it all together. I enjoyed directing it. I'll keep doing music, but when I have the chance to make films, I'll do it.
Q: What's it like when the Schwartzmans and Coppolas get together?
A: We don't talk about work. We just hang out and don't talk business.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I work. Work is fun. ... But ...
I like to go and have a good dinner. Having a good meal helps me relax.
WHAT: Rooney, with Mating Ritual and Halflove opening
WHERE: Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St., Iowa City
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Saturday (9/15)
TICKETS: $15, all-ages; Icgabes.com
ARTIST'S WEBSITE: Rooneymusic.com