Rockwell Dela Rosa
1. What instruments do you play? How long have you been playing them?
I’ve played the drums, guitar, and ukulele for 5 years, bass for 4 years and recently got into vocals 2 years ago.
2. What first got you into music? Do you have any specific inspirations?
My dad is the reason I got into music, both as an avid listener and a musician. Whether it was playing guitar and singing at family gatherings or blasting Blink-182, Green Day and Nirvana in the car during long road trips, I had been surrounded by music for a good part of my childhood. With that being said, my biggest inspirations probably have to be these drummers: Travis Barker of Blink-182, Tré Cool of Green Day, and Dave Grohl of Nirvana. I can vividly recall trying to teach myself how to play the drums on my favorite songs by them and from there, my affinity towards music just grew into the other instruments that rock entails, like the guitar and bass.
3. What has your involvement been like so far?
Across all the bands I’ve been in, I usually played the drums, managed the band social media platforms, and networked. Some of the highlights of my experiences include being known as ‘the drummer’ in high school after performing at different events across town, being invited to play at several live music venues where bands I look up to have played, officially releasing music to streaming platforms
, and being recognized by people I have never met before.
4. Who do you play with right now, and how did you first meet them?
Currently, I play drums in a band called “The Broken Vinyls,” with my best friends, first-year information technology major at NJIT Jonathan Arevalo, first-year Essex County College student Bryant Ayala, and graduate student at Institute of Culinary Education Fofo Suira. I first met Jonathan and Bryant in middle school; we shared the same teachers but really had no similar interests besides basketball. It wasn’t until our freshman year that Jonathan and I grew a passion for rock music and decided to start messing around with the drums and guitar to play covers of songs we both liked growing up. We recorded and posted these to Instagram out of boredom, but after gaining popularity among our classmates and teachers, we grew a strong desire to keep playing music together. I met Fofo through Jonathan; they grew up in the same town together and we bonded after meeting at a birthday party, going to see Blink-182 live in New York City and discovering that we had so many similar interests in the realm of rock music. Bryant had been learning guitar while Jonathan and I were playing in a band called “The Preacher’s Club,” and he had attended a couple of our shows to show support. After parting ways with that band, Jonathan and I decided to reach out to Fofo and Bryant to see if they wanted to start a band together.
5. You play guitar outside of Campus Center —
– what made you start doing that? Do you play anything specific?
I started playing guitar outside Campus Center because I had absolutely nothing to do or anyone to talk to in between classes with a 4 hour gap every day, and I found myself constantly missing the feeling of playing music. It’s not exactly practical to bring a drum set everywhere you go, so I instead opted to carry a relatively small classical guitar that my buddy Jonathan gave me. I usually just play songs that represent how I’m feeling at the given moment, whether it’s upbeat pop on a bright, sunny day, or heavy metal after bombing an exam. Surprisingly, most reactions I’ve received by passersby were all positive; people often compliment me with a smile, a nod of approval or just say generally nice things. On rare occasions, people will come up to me and request that I play a certain song or ask to play my guitar, and I always appreciate people taking time out of their days to do that sort of thing. Honestly, I have made more of my friends at NJIT through playing guitar outside rather than the classes I’ve been in.
6. What are some of your favorite parts of doing what you do with music?
As corny as it might sound, my favorite part of doing what I do with music has to be making people happy. While getting to make music is a plus on its own, it’s a bonus to me for someone else to get something positive out of it. Whether it’s just for a second or an entire night, seeing someone smile or enjoy the vibe from my music makes me feel complete inside. Besides that, I love all the creativity and the little details about making music that come together to make something so much more than just random sounds.
7. Do you have any specific goals for yourself in the future?
My one practical goal for myself in the future is to stay true to myself and not let trivial things change who I am as a person. Other than that, I just look forward to the idea of becoming a touring musician with my best friends alongside me.
8. When are your next shows?
My band, “The Broken Vinyls” will be playing at the RedHouse in Boonton on Saturday, April 16
th at 8 p.m. and at the Meatlocker in Montclair on Saturday, May 21 st at 8 p.m. alongside some awesome local bands.