Victoria-based singer/songwriter Jesse Roper lets his raw authenticity shine full blast in his latest disc Access to Infinity.
The project – due Feb. 2nd – comes before Roper drops into town opening for Big Wreck on Feb. 20th at Bo’s.
Produced by Ian Davenport at Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios, Access To Infinity’s 11 songs encompass, “The raw riffing on which Roper has built his reputation, combined with a modern take on the psychedelic explorations of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd.”
As demonstrated by the superb first single and video, Cherry, Roper is ready to take on the world without allowing anything to stand in his way. He describes the project as coming from his own heart and soul – minus direct outside influences. “This album is my most ‘un-influenced’ piece of writing. I turned off the radio, put away the albums and only made my own sounds for about a year.
“I wanted something really creative and a little bit more ‘outside of my box’ – I just wanted to be more uninfluenced on this one.
“I love classic rock – I love Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, so I tend to play funky because I listen to those guys. So I turned off all the music and I just kind of pulled from my own brain, and it made for an interesting bunch of songs,” he added. “It’s nothing like the previous record. If you want to be unique, you’ve got to be yourself. That’s kind of the bottom line.”
From the get-go, the album grabs the listener and won’t let go – from the slickly-produced, sophisticated and irresistible groove of the title track to the equally engaging blast of The Mission.
And speaking of the previous set of tunes, Access To Infinity follows Roper’s ground-breaking 2015 disc Red Bird, which indeed captured the essence of this energetic and thoroughly committed artist.
Red Bird still is shoring up the fans – there is something about it that is absolutely gritty, truthful and compelling – elements that Roper weaves into any given project no matter the musical sensibilities of it.
It truly ‘brims’ with the electric notions of who Roper is.
“It’s doing well for me – I’m really happy. I’m proud of it. As an artist, you are always kind of moving on to the next thing, but I’m glad that people are (still) receiving it the way that they are.”
Indeed – Roper holds little to nothing back whether he’s hunkered down in the studio or hitting the stage on any given night. He has shared stages with the likes of soul icon Booker T. Jones, blues belter Beth Hart and Colin James.
He’s also ecstatic about landing the touring gig with Big Wreck.
“My manager phoned me when I was on tour in Ontario and said, ‘Ok Roper, you’ve got to really keep this one under wraps – we probably won’t get it anyways because it’s a long shot. But I’ve got to tell you to clear your calendar, because we might have the Big Wreck tour!’
“I wanted to phone everybody that I knew right away and say I might get this tour! Probably not, but I might. And then I did,” he laughed “I couldn’t believe it.”
Roper had an early introduction to music.
Both his parents played guitar, and his older brother played the banjo as well.
“There was always music around the house. I remember watching my dad and my brother play – and I just knew inside of me that I could do that, too,” he explained. “We actually have a picture of the first time I played guitar. I think I’m holding the neck of it, and my dad is strumming. So I just got into it, and I had a bit of an ear, and I really enjoyed it. And obviously (my folks) gave me a push towards lessons.
“But it wasn’t until I kind of dropped the lessons and just started playing for the enjoyment of it more than anything – forget the scales, man,” he added with a laugh.
It wasn’t long before Roper started writing his own tunes in his mid-teens, and a whole new, blazing creative vista opened up – it opened up an infinite world, he added.
“I decided that I was going to do this all of the time,” he said. “There are those moments onstage and in the writing process where you are just kind of lost in a good way,” he said, adding that there just isn’t anything like when a song clicks or the crowd is cheering you on.
“Nothing brings a bigger smile to my face. I just love doing it – it’s so much fun. You feel like you are skydiving all of the time!”