Five Questions With… Jesse Roper
The BC-based rock 'n roller has just released a new album, Access To Infinity, and he's touring with Big Wreck. In this interview, he reflects on his artistic growth and looks back on campfire jams.
By Jason Schneider
Jesse Roper’s sound may be rooted in rock and roll’s core elements of blues and soul, but his musical vision is trained squarely on the future. That’s the easiest way to sum up the BC-based singer/songwriter/guitarist’s new album Access To Infinity, released Feb. 2 via Blue Heron Music/Warner Music Canada. As demonstrated by the primal first single and video, “Cherry,” Roper is ready to take on the world (and beyond?) without allowing anything to stand in his way.
Produced by Ian Davenport (July Talk, Band Of Skulls, Supergrass) 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. In all, it’s the sound that preoccupied Roper’s mind for the past two years.
Access To Infinity follows Roper’s celebrated 2015 album Red Bird, which captured a lot of the fire of his dynamic live show. Roper has shared stages with the likes of soul icon Booker T. Jones, blues belter Beth Hart, and Canada’s blues institution, Colin James. He’s also played festival sets at some of the best western Canada has to offer, including headlining appearances at Rifflandia and Rock the Shores.
The stage is where Roper shines, and he is looking forward to developing his fan base internationally with Access to Infinity, while keeping his native land in view. Jesse Roper will tour with Big Wreck in western Canada throughout February and March. For more info, go to jesseroper.ca.
What makes Access To Infinity stand apart from your previous work?
I think it’s a bit more artistic and the influences are less evident than on my previous CDs. For example, the song “Worship the Sun” has all the elements I think I would strive to capture if I were to write one song to be remembered by. I’m really proud of that one.
How would you describe your evolution as a guitar player?
I started playing because I knew I could and now I play because I can’t live without it.
What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?
I think some of the camping trips with my friends I used to go on would rank high. I’d sing and play all night around the fire. I’d write songs on the spot about people and have a good laugh. Sometimes they’d join in with verses of their own. I love that kinda stuff.
The first real show I did, I just remember shaking, and the amount of sweat coming from strange places on my body. It was worse than when I’d try to talk to girls I was attracted to!
What song in your catalogue means the most to you and why?
It depends on how I’m feeling that day, but “Any Time of Night” from my last album Red Bird immediately comes to mind though. I was madly in love writing that song. It makes me feel warm singing it.
What’s been the most significant change in your life over the past year?
I’ve been trying to nail that one down for myself recently. I think I’ve become less satisfied with small things that I used to enjoy. I’ve found contentment to be more fleeting. I have to work harder for satisfaction.