Student Spotlight: Interview with Musician Rohan Sykora

  1. Tell me about your newest release “highway” and the process behind its creation.

I started the creation process of “highway” in late March. I was simply messing around on my guitar, trying to find cool sounding chord progressions, and the one that I ended up using really caught my attention. It sounded complex enough, yet still catchy, and I immediately recorded it on my computer. From there, I just added drums, a ton of background riffs and melodies on the guitar, and vocals. It was around mid April/May at that time and I really wanted to create lyrics that embodied being free and having a good time (especially because of the COVID-19 lockdown), but I didn’t want the lyrics to sound too cheesy. I workshopped the lyrics for about two weeks, and finally came up with some that I felt good about. I then spent a decent amount of time mixing and mastering the track, and I released it on all platforms at the end of June. 

The cover of “highway”
  1. What first got you into music? 

Both my parents had played musical instruments throughout their lives, and so I had this really little violin that I played for around two years before kindergarten. This was my first true introduction to music, but in first grade I had this really energetic and passionate school music teacher, and he was what really got me engaged in music. I started taking private guitar lessons from him, and it’s been a part of my life ever since. 

  1. What and who is the biggest inspiration for your work? 

As a kid, I loved Bruce Springsteen. Something about his performance style and his persona really inspired me. Aside from Bruce, and more recently, my musical inspirations have been a multitude of Indie and Alternative artists/bands, including, but not limited to, Wallows, Alvvays, Boy Pablo, Phoebe Bridgers, and many others. 

  1. What are the challenges of balancing your music and your other commitments?

There are a lot of challenges that come up when trying to juggle music, school, and extracurriculars. For me, I usually can’t make good progress on songs if the time is specifically cut out for music-making. Everything is typically spontaneous, and sometimes I can be sitting at my desk for four or five hours, and make tons of progress, or barely anything at all. It all just really depends on the moment. 

  1. What are your short-term and long-term musical goals? 

As far as short-term goals are concerned, I am almost done with my first album. It has been in the works for around eight months, and I expect to have it out on all platforms in the coming months. Talking long-term, all I know for sure is that I want to keep creating, producing, and releasing music. Before COVID-19, my plan was to play as many shows as possible, and try to enter the Pittsburgh music scene. Unfortunately, that is not entirely possible at the moment, so my current long-term goals are just creating more music, and adapting to new situations. When this all passes, I can’t wait to continue playing live shows.

Thank you Rohan for doing this interview! Check out his Spotify here:

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