Kendall: I was in a relationship when I came up with the name. Rossi is the mergence of my middle name and my former significant other’s middle name. I wasn’t sure what to do with the name; so, I contemplated using it for my houseplant. I named the houseplant Lord Byron instead; so, it freed up the name to use for our band.
How did you start it?
Thom: We met through a mutual friend, Allison Nellis, who now manages us. Allison affectionately referred to me as the “male version of Kendall”. Kendall and I got along immediately. I had just moved to Nashville and wasn’t feeling comfortable in the new city. Kendall was the first person I met in Nashville with a similar philosophy for creating music.
Who is in the band?
How can you describe your music?
Kendall: Sophisticated. Elegant. Delicate.
Who influenced your style, life, etc?
Kendall: I feel like every person we encounter influences our lives in a large way – whether we realize it or not. As far as musical influences, I discovered Leonard Cohen when I was in high school. Unbeknownst to Mr. Cohen, he has musically and lyrically mentored me ever since. I must also attribute my mother and her Motown/Soul record collection.
Thom: All the great musicians, composers and free thinkers that came before me—Bach, Bob Dylan, Thomas Paine, and Charles Darwin. My father was also a major influence. He wasn’t a musician but had a massive record collection. At a young age I was exposed to Motown, Phil Spector, and classical music.
What is the one lasting impression you want to leave in your music?
Thom: These songs represent our studies of the human condition through our own experiences but also through observations of struggles from around the world. I think it also proves how interconnected we all are. Our external differences are superficial. Internally, we are very much the same and hopefully with our music we can create bonds through exploring the most basic emotions that we all share.
Kendall: We had just finished “Ossetia”, and we were trying to think of a name for the song. Prior to this, I had heard of Ossetia, but I had not delved into its history or struggles. Thom suggested the title because Ossetia’s history coincides with the concept of the song.
When did you find out about a place called Ossetia and its culture?
Thom: I’ve been familiar with South Ossetia but knew little about the region other than its history with Russia. I began paying closer attention after the 2008 South Ossetia war. I was inspired by the struggle for autonomy—which I believe is one of our most primal instincts as people. That struggle, was the metaphor we used in our song, “Ossetia”. It could relate to the struggle for self-governance, but also the attempt to survive any relationship. It could be political, personal or professional. And many times the three are interconnected. With regard to a conflicted relationship, what happens when you find yourself in one with someone you greatly dislike? You may feel powerless or trapped. But you also feel the need to break free from it. That revolutionary spirit is at the heart of human struggle. For songs like “Ossetia” and “War Within”, we found ourselves using war and global conflict as metaphors for non-political struggles within our everyday associations.
Is there any special stuff about Ossetia and Ossetians that attracted you most?
Kendall: I have always been fascinated with European culture, and we both are of European descent. After we decided to title our song ‘Ossetia’, I began researching Ossetia and found some historical photos. I was drawn to the subjects of the photos and the stories that their eyes told.
Would you like to visit Ossetia?
Kendall: Of course!
Thom: We would love to.
Can you give us an insight into a typical day in your life?
Kendall: Fortunately (and sometimes unfortunately) a typical day does not exist in my life.
Thom: I’m a composer and music producer by profession so I spend most of my time in the recording studio creating music. When I’m not working on music, I read and write. I’m a fan of science, history, and literature. If I weren’t a musician I would dedicate my life to science.
See published interview here: