Irish Pop Duo ROOUE: ‘Writing Music Really Makes You Question Yourself’

"The music industry is definitely not made for everybody."

Irish electro-pop duo ROOUE are relatively new on the scene, but they are making waves.

Twins Róisin and Lulu are based in Dublin and London, and bring their own unique and fun twist to pop music. Their new EP Juxtaposition is coming out this Friday (May 24), and explores how much they’ve grown and changed over recent years, particularly as a result of their move between the two cities.

We had a chat with them about their journey and what music means to them.

As smaller independent artists, I imagine it can be hard to get attention online when you’re going against these huge artists with labels and big budgets. What have you found to be the most unique or effective ways of promoting your music?

We think the best way is to just put your best foot forward and do what you enjoy. That’s a boring answer, but it’s the truth when it comes to social media. If you’re trying to create your narrative by copying what other people are doing, and you’re not enjoying it, no one else is gonna like watching that kind of content.

We both strive to do whatever makes us happy and to enjoy what we’re putting forward. It’s also helpful to appreciate those big artists as well, and see how they’re working and if anything they’re doing can inspire us, rather than us following in their footsteps.

Your song ‘Serendipity’ is a tribute to the connection you both have with each other. What is it like being able to make music with someone you’re so close with? How does that connection reflect in your music?

We’re both just so lucky, genuinely so lucky. It just comes naturally to us, our music is a form of expression for us and it’s another thing we can do together. We think anyone who has that one really close friend, or a sibling or even a partner, gets to that stage when that person in your life becomes your person.

Everything you do together becomes really easy and laid-back, and you can be completely authentically who you are. We were so lucky that that person for us was someone who we were born up and grew up with. We don’t have to pretend to be someone we’re not while we’re writing, and making music is something that we both thoroughly enjoy and are passionate about.                   

You both moved to London in 2022. Would you say that helped you both ‘find yourselves’ and become more confident?

Absolutely. It felt we were kind of sitting stagnant in our old life, and we needed to grow the hell up. We needed to experience challenges, be uncomfortable and become more independent. Being thrown into the deep end always makes you grow very quickly.

Also, being in that space of trying new things and being challenged, you get to know yourself on a deeper level, and that really helped influence our music. Taking that leap in our lives helped us feel more confident about our music, and about writing about more mature themes.

You were both living in Dublin before that. Would you say that it’s difficult for indie artists to gain recognition or thrive in Ireland, given the size of the music scene?

Interesting question. Ireland is sort of a small music industry, you’ve quite a sweet spot of people who are working with an array of different artists. We think the only thing that’s difficult in Dublin is because it’s a smaller space, the genres are a little bit more niche, so it may be easier if you’re into different types of music.

It’s hard everywhere though, and the music industry is definitely not made for everybody. There are times when we really struggle, but it’s definitely worth the fight, and we don’t think Ireland is much harder than any other place. Dublin is quite special though, you do feel very much part of the music industry when you’re there, whereas being in London, you do kind of feel like a small fish in the big sea.

Your song ‘Bible’ explores your journey to becoming more open and comfortable in your sexuality. How did music affect that process for you, and why do you think it’s an important topic to express through your songs?

What ‘Bible’ was to us was really pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. Writing music really makes you question yourself and discover what your opinions are and how things are. It was a really fun experience to kind of branch out like that.

As soon as you’re in that space where you’re talking about stuff to write down, you’re like ‘oh yeah and then we can say this, and then do this’, because you realise that actually, it’s not as taboo as you think it is. You’re used to listening to it, but it’s the embarrassment on your end when it’s someone you know hearing it. We wrote it with the perspective that no one was going to hear it, and then we were gonna tweak it some more but we were just like ‘you know what, f**k it, it sounds great.’

Your single ‘Overdraft’ focuses on emotional abuse, coming to terms with it and healing. What advice would you give to someone going through this process?

Just lean on your family and your friends, and know that you’re not alone. Stay strong and do what you gotta do to look after yourself. Sometimes people can assume that they’re weak when going through something like that, but just because you’re going through this doesn’t mean you’re weak, it actually makes you strong.

You need to believe in yourself and push yourself into a happier mindset. It’s something that we’ve all been through in different ways, so we need to really stick together. We think it’s so important to lean on loved ones and do what’s right for you.

Finally, what’s next for you guys, any plans for the year?

We’ve got lots of stuff planned. Of course, we have the EP coming out on Friday (May 24th). We have some headline shows coming up in London and Dublin to celebrate the EP. Then we have a bunch of new music coming out after summer.

Images by Izzy Elliot / Words by Aicha Chalouche