ROLE MODEL interview: In search of peace in perfection

This article was previously published on Audiomack World.

If it hadn’t been for Mac Miller, ROLE MODEL would have given up on music. Pop-born singer-songwriter Tucker Pillsbury first went to the University of Pittsburgh for film before discovering music at the end of his freshman year. From there, he plunged headfirst into the trade to the point of failing his classes. When he released his first EP in 2017, arizona in summerTucker gave himself a month to do it.

“Somewhere in that month Mac Miller management told me that Mac loves ‘stolen cars,’ and we met and the label stuff started happening,” Tucker shares with Audiomack World. “The biggest thing that sold me was that Mac and Q [Quentin Cuff, Mac’s friend and tour manager] believed in me at a crucial moment when I was honestly about to quit. It gave me the confidence to say to myself, ‘Okay, this can work.’ »

Things happened quickly from there – Tucker signed with Interscope, and he released a pair of EPs in 2019 and 2020 that cataloged his life as a bachelor who was more content to lock himself in the studio for a week than anything else. Oh how perfect and our little angel were both polished and roughly hewn. ROLE MODEL as a project was quickly defined as an accessible vulnerability – the moment at the party where the conversation shifts from bullshit to emotion, without being overbearing.

Tucker and his producer Spencer Stewart worked on his debut album Rx, released last month, for two “mentally destructive” years. Obsession and perfectionism made the album process painful but with great success. Originally a lot of love songs, Rx leans more toward an upbeat variety than simple declarations of passion: seeing “forever and more,” “if Jesus saves, she’s my type,” and “neverletyougo.” The album draws from Arizonawith a refined edge.

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The final three songs on the album are a personal crescendo for Tucker, detailing a friendless Los Angeles landscape and the pursuit of staying grounded. “I love ‘can you say the same’, because it was a song I put out there that was more for me,” he says. “That one was for me to have and listen for myself.”

Rx fits perfectly into casual nights out, nights out with your partner or sunrise walks – what Tucker calls me a soldier to take everyday. It’s obviously an in-depth debut album, and one that helped ROLE MODEL find peace in the creative process.

How did you know it was music or a bust?

When I discovered music, it was at the end of my first year in university and I was super passionate about cinema at the time. I went to school for film, and music was not in my plan at all – no music in my family, and no idea that I could do it myself. I discovered music and I fell in love with it, right away, to the point of failing in school.

Besides the new album, what’s your favorite song you’ve released so far?

I would come back the other way, for Arizona. Maybe “stolen car” or “I don’t really like you”. I still really like these songs.

I hear “super model” in “strip club music.”

It’s amazing because these two songs were created around the same time.

So you kept it for five years?

It was a while. The very first version of [“stripclub music”] It was in 2017 or 2018. It was the first release, and then there were three or four more before diving into the album process.

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Are you a demo guy, or are you working on a song forever?

I would say the second. Before, I only did three songs a day. It’s an awesome way to work, to get mediocre work. Now, with my obsession and my producer Spencer Stewart, we’re obsessed with every little bit of every song. It takes a long time now, but I like it that way.

Was there a perfectionism holding you back with the new album, Rx?

The two years of working on the album were miserable. Obviously full of beautiful moments, but the mental destruction that continues is unnecessary pressure. There’s no need to be like, fight every night and cry for shit.

How to get to a peaceful place with?

Spencer helps me understand [peace]. I’m the one putting the pressure on, so having Spencer is good for calming me down. Then as soon as I get home, I try not to think about the music. I try to watch something stupid and go to bed.

What is the most difficult in the role of ROLE MODEL?

I don’t think I have the right to complain about anything yet. It didn’t get too crazy, it’s cool. I have very respectful fans online and in real life. I have no complaints. It’s too early for me to be picky about the career I’ve chosen.

How much Tucker is in ROLE MODEL, and how much ROLE MODEL is in Tucker?

See, I used to say it’s the same person. But my stage presence has changed quite a bit in the past two years since my first tours, where I stood still with my hand in my pocket. If you asked my tour crew, they would be two completely different people. When I’m on stage, I do all my weird shit. As soon as I get on the bus, I shut up and hide in my locker. I don’t talk to anyone.

Now they are two different people, that’s for sure.

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How does Tucker make himself happy?

It’s music. My musical tastes have changed a lot during the pandemic. It’s all the music that comforts me – a lot of stuff my mom used to listen to; Neil Young and shit that helps me breathe a little. I go anywhere by car and I listen to music. I hike in the morning so I’m not just sitting in the studio all day.

It’s good to be alone too.

It’s good to experience things fully and to assimilate them – it’s good to experience things alone. Going alone to concerts, taking walks alone, anything.

Rebecca R. Santistevan