Sometimes change is the only way to find out where we really are. For producer and multi-instrumentalist Marius Lauber, aka Roosevelt, his first decade making music saw him releasing soulful, synth-pop records from his Cologne studio and remixing artists including Glass Animals and Taylor Swift. It has been a solitary, focused pursuit, but after turning 30 in the pandemic, he decided to make a radical shift. “The room you’re in really informs your music,” Lauber tells Apple Music. “A new place gives a new perspective, so I decided to try a different process and to not let my anxious self take control.” Taking his portable recording setup on the road, Lauber began crafting new tracks for his fourth album from planes, backstage rooms, and makeshift spaces in New York, Barcelona, and LA. The result is the 10 tracks of Embrace, which play as some of Lauber’s most self-assured and experimental work to date. Traversing everything from trance synths on “Rising” to the disco funk of “Luna” and dreamy soundscapes of “Fall Right In,” the album is a message to Lauber himself as much as to his audience. “Embrace is a reminder that music is my expression and that I need to embrace that process,” he says. “It feels more personal than ever.” Read on for Lauber’s in-depth thoughts on the album, track by track. “Ordinary Love” “I love to make specific opening tracks for my albums. There’s something so special about being onstage and playing an intro to your crowd and feeling the cascade of instruments as they each come in. When I came up with the idea for this track, I knew it would open the new live show with these tense, almost discordant sirens playing as we step onstage. I made it in a Japanese-style cabin in LA, which was a magical place surrounded by its own mini forest. All I had was a laptop and synth, which is as minimal as it gets.” “Rising” “It really feels like trance is having a resurgence at the moment and ‘Rising’ was inspired by seeing the Netherlands DJ Job Jobse playing trance tracks in his sets. I wanted the track to feel like it was rising the whole time, like the notes were elevating, as well as having an underlying disco feel. The song makes a punchy statement early on in the record, turning my role into more of an electronic producer.” “Luna” “I often have basslines or guitar lines in my head and I’m never sure if I’ve heard them from somewhere else or if I came up with the ideas myself. ‘Luna’ started with one of these basslines that was on my mind, which had this rough ’80s-New-York-disco feel, and then I built the entire track around it. I used the same bass and Juno synth from my 2013 track ‘Montreal’ and so the track has a nostalgic sense to it. Really, though, the bass is the star of the song and makes up the foundation of the chorus.” “Yucca Mesa” “This track is named after the road in Yucca Valley where I was staying while I made it. It acts as an intro for ‘Paralyzed’ and is inspired by the elegant, effortless French house made by groups like Phoenix and Air. I knew that style of music would really benefit from an instrumental introduction we could get into during the live shows.” “Paralyzed” “When I made ‘Paralyzed,’ I was really connecting with how those French house artists would somehow make their live guitars feel like samples. I decided to come up with a guitar line that sounded like a ’60s blues record and then recorded and looped it like a sample. It took weeks to come up with a guitar sound but, once I had it, the rest of the song came so quickly; it took over and it decided where it wanted to go. I love making tracks like this that have a bittersweet euphoria to them—a sense of blended melancholy and happiness that feels unpredictable.” “Lake Shore” “This is named after [the street] in LA where I came up with this track and ‘Ordinary Love.’ When I recorded the demo, it was just me singing to a solo piano with no click track—it was totally free and a process I’d never tried before. I was listening to a lot of Frank Ocean at the time and so it has lyrics that are far more personal than the metaphorical images I usually come up with. It’s an effort at opening myself up and being vulnerable about a previous relationship. I’m proud to show a different side to my songwriting here.” “Realize” “Sometimes when I’m playing a dance-focused festival or DJing, the pop structure of my songs doesn’t always fit. For ‘Realize.’ I wanted to make a dance-floor arrangement that’s inspired by house music, where rather than going from verse to chorus, we’re instead playing with taking instruments out and then putting them back in. It has a more static feel to it and I’m excited to get it playing while DJing.” “Fall Right In” “While I was recording in a place in Bushwick, New York, I was listening to a lot of Ride, Slowdive, and Cocteau Twins. They’re all bands that use these dreamy synth atmospheres and I wanted to channel a similarly open soundworld, so I recorded a bunch of open chords on the guitar and then stacked loads of keys. It ended up being something like 180 stems and was really challenging to mix but I’m super happy with the final result.” “Forevermore” “The Whitest Boy Alive [is] one of my favorite bands and this track started out as me trying to rip them off. I wanted to make something faster than I’ve done before, while keeping the instruments pretty minimalistic. I ended up hitting 135 BPM and then came up with this synth-pop arrangement that I left pretty stripped down. I’m sure this will become a live favorite of mine because it’s such a fun track with only a single vocal part.” “Alive” “I spent a year fighting with ‘Alive’ and it ended up having so many revisions that I’m stunned it made it onto the record. It’s similar to ‘Fall Right In,’ where I wanted to stack layers of instruments, and it ended up with about 80 different synth tracks. The lyric ‘[And you know that] you keep me alive/Through the heat of it all’ really drives the song and the impact of making that statement made it feel like the perfect, powerful way to end the album. I’m just proud I tamed the beast in this tune.”

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