July 10, 2019 Interview – Rosie Bones & Carmen Vandenberg of BONES UK
While some may tell you it’s a man’s world, judging by history, they would not be wrong. A false assumption that has been programmed into most of us since birth, fortunately there are those ladies who will not play second fiddle to anyone. Refusing to accept they cannot do something as good, if not better than men, bless the lady rockers who give a big middle finger to stereotypes with a smile. That in mind, there are Vocalist/Lyricist Rosie Bones and sleek, guitar-playing Carmen Vandenberg coming together as BONES UK.
A ear-catching style of Rock-n-Roll, with songs such as “Pretty Waste” and “Beautiful Is Boring,” BONES UK take an unapologetic approach to the unhealthy, self-esteem damaging expectations the media set for both women and men.
Now preparing to release their anticipated debut album via Sumerian Records on Friday, July 12th, the sky is the limit for this compelling duo on a mission. Excited for the future, both Rosie Bones and Carmen Vandenberg sat down to chat about their formation, the concept behind their music, the work put into their debut album, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – When we spoke last year, you mentioned relocating to the USA was sort of a fresh start for BONES UK. Now you are set to release your debut full-length album. So, tell us, what has the last year been like for the band?
Rosie Bones – It’s been a lot of touring. We were getting the last bit of the record done and music videos – there’s a fuck ton of music videos. We were on tour with Stone Temple Pilots and Bush, we were getting our songs together so we could release the record. It’s been really exciting.
Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear. As we spoke, you were working with Jeff Beck for awhile and now everything is coming together with the release your debut album. What was it like putting this album together?
Rosie Bones – The thing is we had a lot of songs, but we never put out a record because we weren’t even sure if it was something we wanted to do. Then we met the guys at Sumerian Records and it seemed like the right move at this time; things always happen at the right time for the right reason. We had spoken to so many labels and we thought, “Is a label even the route we want to go down?” When we met with Sumerian they were supportive of the vision we had and what we wanted to do.
It just felt like the right thing to do to put an album out now. Some of the songs have already been out, but we never put a record out. This album is a combination of the stuff that was already put out and a load of new stuff as well. It’s exciting, it gets packed up and now we get to move forward with it coming out.
Cryptic Rock – The record came out excellent and it is wonderful to finally see you put out a full-length album. Rosie, you mentioned you come from a more Rock background, and Carmen is from more of a Blues background. Tell us, how did you two ladies come together as BONES UK?
Carmen Vandenberg – We met in London and I was actually at a Blues bar playing in Camden Town. Rosie came up to me afterwards, we had a couple of drinks, decided to start this band, write songs together, and see what happens.
Cryptic Rock – As a duo you make a very unique sound. Rosie, you mentioned you call the sound of BONES UK Future Rock.
Rosie Bones – Yeah, we want to bring Rock-n-Roll into the future, that is the whole reason BONES started. We don’t want to be paying homage to older Rock bands as some other bands do, and they’re great, but we want to push into a new world. For some people that’s a bit scary, but we’re up for being a bit scary, trying to do things a bit differently, and pushing music into a new place. Future Rock is definitely the way we like to describe that.
Cryptic Rock – It is refreshing. With the album, you have songs people know like “Pretty Waste,” “Beautiful Is Boring,” and David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans.” Were some of the songs re-recorded for the album?
Rosie Bones – Some of the vocals were re-recorded and remixed. We took what we had and wanted to make it more cohesive. Our amazing producer, Filippo Cimatti, remixed and reworked stuff so everything had a cohesive sound to it. There is a new chorus on “Beautiful Is Boring,” because we wanted to give things a revamp to make them the best possible versions of songs people have heard before.
Cryptic Rock – Interesting. The lyrics of BONES UK are very thought-provoking and intriguing. How have you found America to respond to the music and message of BONES UK?
Rosie Bones – Really well. I think the things we’re talking about are universal to America and all of the world; they are things we really believe in. We want our music to empower people: we want for people to feel positive and like they have a voice. It’s amazing the feedback we get from parents and their kids, girls or boys, gay people and straight people, etc. What we are trying to say is pretty universal, so it’s really nice to get the feedback from all different people.
Cryptic Rock – That is a very good thing. You were very busy touring in 2018, and now you have more shows coming up July through August. How excited are you to get back on the road?
Rosie Bones – We can’t wait to be on tour, we really want to be on tour. We love all the other creative, exciting stuff, but when you’re on the road it’s when you really get to lock in and have fun.
Carmen Vandenberg – When we are on tour we are doing our job, but everyday there’s a new place to go and a new show to play. It’s when we’re happy!
Cryptic Rock – It will be great to see you perform live again. Since you two met through music, beyond your working partnership, what is the chemistry between you two?
Rosie Bones – We’re like sisters. We live together and we’re very much alike. We basically spend a lot of time together.
Cryptic Rock – You two also relocated to the USA together. What has it been like to adjusting to American culture?
Rosie Bones – Yes, we moved here a few years ago to L.A. Is the culture different? Yeah. Americans are definitely different to British people as far as their enthusiasm. L.A. has the interpretation to be flooded full of bullshit and we’ve both witnessed that. There is a kind of energy here, though, where people are very supportive. Even though a lot of stuff people say is not going to happen – like when people tell you they are going to introduce you to various people, and you never hear from them again – that’s OK, as long as you have a sense of humor about it. People are generally more enthusiastic in America, which we really enjoy. The weather is also a lot better, and that’s a really good thing. We like being in America, it was a nice change and we needed a change. Touring is also loads more fun because you get to see America; it’s like going on a road trip.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, some people describe touring America like each state is its own little country. With some of the shows you have coming up, will there be some headlining shows as well?
Rosie Bones – Yeah, there are some headlining shows in there as well. There will be our big album launch party in L.A., so we are getting that all together. There will be other support dates as well, there will be a load of other dates coming in.
Cryptic Rock – That will be something to look out for. Seeing you both come from different musical backgrounds, what are some of your personal musical influences?
Rosie Bones – I’m into songwriting, so I’m into lyrics and storytellers. My general musical taste is more about songs; I’m not an album girl, I’m a song girl. I love really good music. I love Prince, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, and people who write really fucking interesting lyrics and brilliant songs.
Carmen Vandenberg – As you mentioned, I’ve always had a big passion for Blues. Also a lot of Rock.
Cryptic Rock – Are there any artists you both universally dig?
Rosie Bones – Yes, Prince and David Bowie.
Cryptic Rock – Speaking of David Bowie, you covered his song “I’m Afraid of Americans.” How did that cover come about?
Carmen Vandenberg – That song we didn’t actually choose ourselves. Howard Stern did a compilation for David Bowie a year after his death. We were lucky enough to be one of the artists to be chosen as one of the artists to be a part of that album. The song he gave us was “I’m Afraid of Americans,” I think we have to thank Howard Stern for that.
Cryptic Rock – It is a good and unique Bowie cut. Last question. Rosie, you mentioned you do love Horror and Sci-Fi films. So, what are some new movies you two have seen that you enjoyed?
Rosie Bones – The last movie I saw was Rocketman. I haven’t seen any new Horror and Sci-Fi movies lately.
Carmen Vandenberg – I can’t think of anything at the moment, I’m so sorry.
Cryptic Rock – And what did you think of Rocketman?
Rosie Bones – I enjoyed it. I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it.
Cryptic Rock – Speaking of Rock biopics, did you see the Mötley Crüe one, The Dirt?
Rosie Bones – My friend Douglas Booth played Nikki Sixx in it. I saw quite a few previews of it before it even came out. Weird enough, it ended up Nikki Sixx was actually a really big BONES UK fan, so there was this really weird synergy because he started commenting on our Instagram – which is ridiculously cool! I really enjoyed the movie. I thought the acting was brilliant, and Machine Gun Kelly was sick in it. It was a fun movie. Obviously they’re very Rock-n-Roll, and there were a few questionable decisions that they made, but they’re great characters. It was portrayed very well.