Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spotlight & Interview with composer, Louis Romanos {Louis Romanos Quartet}

Composer and jazz musician Louis Romanos is gearing up with his bandmates (Daniel Sumner, Dr. Alex Noppe, and Dr. Luca Lombardi) to embark on a Southeastern tour pumping up music lovers for their upcoming album release, Serenity.

Who is Louis Romanos?

As a composer, Louis writes for live bands, dance, TV, video games, indie movies and commercials.   His band, Permagrin, released three albums co-written with Dan Sumner.  Permagrin performed in SXSW music conference, the NOW music festival, the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Indy Jazz Fest, the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco, and were nominated for best electronica band in New Orleans in 2005 Big Easy Awards.  Permagrin licensed Classical to the documentary movie, Plane Spotting.   Louis’ commissioned works include 5 works for the Confederacy of Dances performance in New Orleans at the Contemporary Arts Center, Take Me There, the University of Monroe guitar ensemble, and a piece for Mirari Brass Quintet.   Louis wrote Light Waves for visual artist and Chicago producer, Nancy Bechtol, and together they have a work on Culture T.V.  Louis also composed about a dozen pieces for C-E-N-T-E-R, a collaborative project between visual artists and composers, in Los Angeles, California.   Additionally, his composition, Tyco at the Gates, was licensed to the major motion picture, Cool It.

Recent credits include a dystopian futuristic score for the short movie, Odessa, an action score for Fira’s Game, and an uplifting score for feature documentary, Pink and Blue: The Colors of Hereditary Cancer.  Louis has also scored live theater (The Bakkhai), video games (The Dark Ages of Titan, Corpse Wagon), the modern ballet (Interior Borders by choreographer, Joan Buttram, at University of Georgia) and recording drums on the new theme song for the Squidbillies on Cartoon network.

Currently, Mr. Romanos leads and writes for his own quartet, The Louis Romanos Quartet (, which released its debut album, Take Me There, in 2015.  His quartet performs concerts and clinics in the mainland USA and in Hawaii. Mr. Romanos recently developed a workshop for Brenau University’s Dance Department, teaching dancers basic music and communications skills needed for cross discipline collaboration. Mr. Romanos is currently scoring the full length feature film, Above the Fruited Plains. Website:

{Louis was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions I had for him!}

Can you tell me about The Louis Romanos Quartet? 

The quartet serves as a creative outlet that allows me to compose and perform music that is close to my heart that would otherwise sit dormant on my hard drive. The quartet started in New Orleans then put on hold as I focused on my other band, Permagrin. I restarted LRQ in Germany years later after I evacuated New Orleans because of the massive flooding. I had free time because I had no work or home and so I was traveling a lot. I met some wonderful musicians in Leipzig, Germany and we started gigging around Germany with this music. I then started an American version of the group but instead of piano and alto sax we use trumpet and guitar. This particular line up of the quartet has been together for three years. 

How did you all come up with the title of your upcoming release, Serenity? 

There is a song on the cd called Serenity in Dissolution. It means that when everything is falling apart around you there is still a quiet space of utter silence and peace that will guide you through it if you let. This song represents that space; it's a beautiful space, like the peaceful eye in a storm system. But that song title was much too long for an album title so I just chose the word, Serenity, which aptly describes the music on this album. It also combines perfectly with the concept of infinity and time, which is what the clock sculpture (by artist, John Power in Berlin) on the cover represents. That quiet space is infinity. As a percussionist, I am always playing with the concept of time. Sort that out in your head.

Please share something memorable from one of your recording sessions of Serenity. 

They were intense. We recorded the album in the same manner we perform live; straight through each tune. We recorded the same tunes on different days and at different times of the day so that I would be able to choose takes that had just the right energy. People feel differently on different days and at different times during the day and the takes represent that. I can remember Alex was almost dying because his lips were exhausted from playing all day (horn). He may even have been a bit pissed at me but it worked. We got beautiful takes of the songs. 

Do you have a favorite track on your new album?

No. There are many things I like about each take—that's why they were chosen. There is not one song on that album that shouldn't be there, that is not as strong as the others. 

What is your favorite part about touring? 

Touring can be exhausting, and sitting for long periods of time is not my thing. But this is mitigated by the fact that we get to play in front of audiences that listen and love what we do. That is very validating and makes it all worthwhile. The other great thing is that we get to play music with people we respect; everyone in this band has dedicated their life to music. After every tour, there will have been wonderful moments sandwiched between stressful hard times and we as a band will have learned more about each other as we journey though these moments; that only makes the music stronger. The other part of touring I enjoy is seeing different parts of our country or traveling to different countries and living, if only for a short while, an alternate life; any one of us could have been born in a different country or state and had a completely different life filled with different people and places. Touring gives me a taste of how my life could have been or could still be different. 

Follow The Louis Romanos Quartet  online:

Visit their website to preorder a copy of Serenity, listen to some tracks, and check out the plethora of music video and photos of them in action!

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