Revi Roza ’08 and The Rozatones have become a staple on the Ithaca music scene, expanding their influence to several cities and regions across the country. The groovy funk band recently won the On Tour With Magic Hat sponsorship competition, an online battle of the bands started by the Magic Hat Brewing Company in South Burlington, Vt. More than 200 bands applied and The Rozatones made the top 10 cut. The finalists’ music was then posted to the Web site for fans to vote on. The Rozatones won 44 percent of the votes, and the company awarded the group $1,000. The Rozatones have not set tour dates yet, but the group plans to use its prize money to fund its next tour. Assistant Accent Editor Aaron Edwards spoke with lead singer Roza about her reaction to the win and the band’s plans for its tour.
Aaron Edwards: Earlier this week you got some pretty big news. What was your reaction after you heard you won the competition?
Revi Roza: My initial reaction was a sigh of relief that the competitive aspect of it was all over. Definitely a lot of gratitude to all the people that voted and put support on our message and just poured in a lot of love into us. We want to pour it all back and just play the best shows we can for our fans because we couldn’t have done anything without them.
AE: How did you find out about the Magic Hat competition?
RR: Chris Wilson, who actually used to be the head at WICB, heard about the competition and signed us up. We were actually the last band to apply for the competition. [The other bands] signed up at least a month before us. We signed up literally on the last day — the deadline of Oct. 31.
AE: Do you know most of the other bands you competed against?
RR: We’ve played with Rumble Bucket Orchestra before, and I’m a big fan of theirs. They’re like an afro-beat kind of indie group. And Roots of Creation is a really great band. Other than that, I haven’t heard of many of the other bands, which was really cool because it just shows that Magic Hat is doing a great thing by giving an opportunity and an outlet for bands that are more local to try and get some exposure nationally.
AE: Was it a surprise to you when you won against these bands you’ve played with and worked with before?
RR: I think everyone kind of knew it was coming down to us and Scythian, and their fans show a lot of support. I congratulate them because it shows how much their fans really care about them. But our fans, friends and family really pulled it out for this one.
AE: Because winning the competition gives you more exposure, will you be focusing on improving anything before you hit the road?
RR: We’re going to come up with a game plan of the order of cities we want to hit and a creative way to promote this tour, so [we’ve been] really brushing up on our marketing and promotional skills.
AE: I know you started in Ithaca and have enjoyed playing here, but are there any major cities you want to hit on the tour?
RR: We will definitely be back in Ithaca. It’s our hometown and we love it. Definitely New York City … it’s a place that we have a large amount of our friends, family and fans. We’re looking at Burlington because that’s where Magic Hat is located and Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., Portland, Maine — just getting a gauge for timing and how we can use this tour to our fullest advantage. In the long run, nationally and internationally would be amazing … put some shows on the west coast and overseas.
AE: What are some challenges you faced during the competition?
RR: The most challenging thing was getting everybody to vote. A lot of people say they’re going to, but it takes that extra push to get people to actually sign up and do it. We can’t be more grateful to everybody that really did that for us because now we have this opportunity that we would have never had.
AE: How did the support from Ithaca College help you guys win this competition?
RR: We use a lot of social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to get the word out, so [since] all five of us are Ithaca College graduates, we had a really strong fan base. The college’s community is unlike most other’s because it’s so music-oriented. We’ve been a part of the Ithaca music scene for the last four years, and it’s really become part of our sound, part of our character. We’re ready to show what Ithaca is made of.