Webster’s dictionary defines the word “Prospect” as: “a position affording a fine view” and the word “Hill” as “a natural elevation of land or a mass of earth rising above the common level.” When you combine the two words into Prospect Hill, it becomes altogether more clear why the Boston, Massachusetts based rock outfit goes by that very name. Prospect Hill is in a position that affords a fine view of what lies ahead and they are on the move rising above the common level of new music currently begging for attention. If you look up Prospect Hill in the Rock Revolt dictionary, the definition is much simpler. It simply states, “Rock Goodness!”
Regardless of your preference in the defining of Prospect Hill, one thing is for certain. The band’s national lead-off single; “Come Alive” is currently making a big splash on Sirrus/XM Octane as well as several other active rock traditional radio outlets and now appears to be the time that Prospect Hill has been waiting on as it starts to turns heads on the big stage.
Furthermore, unlike many bands that are pieced together out of necessity, to fill a needed role or image, Prospect Hill is a band made up of five longtime friends consisting of Mark Roberge (drums), John Roberge (guitar), Derek Rousseau (lead guitar), Adam Fithian (vocals) and Edgar Troncoso (bass); which shows though in the group’s natural bond. The songs that the quintet has created on their new national album entitled Impact has the sound of a well-oiled machine with of the all parts running in perfect synchronization.
We spoke with drummer Mark Roberge as he and the band are tearing up venues all across Midwest in the middle of a dynamically billed tour. Read on as Mark solidifies all the reasons that make Prospect Hill a band worth your attention.
Interview with Mark Roberge:
Rick/RR: Mark, thank you for checking in with RockRevolt™Magazine.
Mark/PH: Awesome, thank you for having me.
Rick/RR: It looks like the holiday season has been getting a bit of a rock flavor this year in part to Prospect Hill and friends as the ’12 Days of XMAS Tour’ rolls through much of the Midwest. The tour started on November 30th and goes through December 19th. How’s it going so far?
Mark/PH: Yeah, yeah. We’ve been having an absolute blast on this one! This group of bands are the BEST and the shows have been insane!
Rick/RR: No doubt that fans of active hard rock are going to get more than their monies worth if they can catch this bad boy. You’re talkin’ Taproot, 12 Stones, Digital Summer, Gone For Days, 3 Pill Morning, DoryDrive and of course Prospect Hill! What a line-up! How did it come about that you guys ended up on this awesome crazy train?
Mark/PH: It just so happened that our tour and booking agent right now in the Midwest solidified a lot of these dates and he was able to get us on. Our management is also very close with Taproot’s management as well. We became close with those guys while we were on the road over the summer with Taproot and 12 Stones. We’ve played some dates with Digital Summer and got close with those guys as well. It’s just a really good show and everyone brings it live which is really good. When you have a tour like this with a lot of bands that are all capable of putting on a crazy, crazy show it brings up the level on everyone as you got to go on hard! It’s been non-stop, exhausting…and amazing so far!
Rick/RR: There is a sense of community with a lot of bands in the scene right now which is very cool to see, but at the end of the day it is a business and every band is trying to move music and units in the same market space.
Mark/PH: Yeah, but it is cool and everything. We can still have a beer or a shot with each other, but when you are on stage it is business. It’s a show and you need to do what you do and do it your best.
Rick/RR: Since we are on the holiday theme. What three gifts would you wish for Prospect Hill in the year 2013 as a band?
Mark/PH: A hit single would be nice! (Laughs) We’d all love to have that. A nice big three month national tour would be a nice gift I think everyone in the group would be happy with. We really enjoy being out on the road so that would be a great gift. As far as a third gift, I think if we got those two we’d be pretty happy. You know, actually we’d like a bus! (Laughs) We are in a van right now so a bus would be awesome!
Rick/RR: This has got to be an exciting time for the band as you also have started to gain momentum on Sirrus / XM Octane with your lead-off single “Come Alive” off your full-length effort entitled Impact.
Mark/PH: Yeah, that is really awesome. They’ve really got behind us with the single and are pushing it a lot daily which again is awesome. We are definitely seeing new fans and press from it so it is cool. We are hoping to carry the momentum into 2013.
Rick/RR: The song has the instant catchy vibe that makes it a natural for active rock radio, but then you added a classic rock orchestration type layer to that. It really makes for a standout sound.
Mark/PH: That was one of the big goals too with our producer – to make it feel really natural yet real huge at the same time, while it is still clear and cut enough for active rock radio. So basically we wanted to do something fresh and original, but something that wasn’t so cookie cutter. That was what we were going for with this record and especially with this single. I feel like we accomplished that and we’ve heard that a lot. The drums you hear are re-edited with an overlay which is a digital drum set. When we did this whole record, there is not one single sample drum. We spent a lot of time of making those drums sound huge without adding any overdub layer.
Rick/RR: Talk about the album Impact as a whole. It is a strong combination of heavy rockers and mid-tempo gems including other standout tracks “Roller Coaster”, “Break Down” and “Super Hero” to name a few.
Mark/PH: The album is different. “Break Down” was officially recorded in 2007 and was one of our first singles. We then went in and recorded “Super Hero” later on for another record when we were still local and starting to go regional. “Super Hero” became a big instant crowd favorite as well as “Roller Coaster” so we ended up carrying all three over to the new record. We felt they had enough of the new feel to be a part of Impact.
Rick/RR: The song “Roller Coaster” to me is just brilliant. It is catchy and really hits home on the ups and downs of life which a lot of people should be able to relate to.
Mark/PH: When we were writing that song I was going through a tough time relationship-wise and that is basically what that is. It sums it up and is a giant metaphor for a relationship like most people have been in at some point, with all the twists and turns and you always end up back at the same place at the end. (Laughs) But at the end of the day we get back on and ride again. It just kind of came out and it fit.
Rick/RR: I don’t normally make it a practice to ask a band about the meaning of their given name, but yours has an interesting story and fans might be interested in finding out about its origin.
Mark/PH: It is an area where I, Derek and Edgar basically grew up. It just kind of fit. We had come up with some different names, but they just didn’t fit or make sense. It is pretty cool also as it seems like there is a Prospect Hill almost everywhere – in every state, whether it is a town or a street name, etc. People can immediately identify with it and it has helped with branding and we get a lot of questions about it all the time.
Mark/PH: Yeah, we usually stop and take a photo. Edgar will usually try to climb up and steal the sign! (Laughs)
Rick/RR: What do you think has been the formula or vision the band has embraced that has allowed you to get to the point where you are right now; where you are beginning to gain national attention and on the cusp of getting to the next level?
Mark/PH: I think our mindset, vision and goal is basically to create original sounding music that is still main stream and every song is different. That was always one of our big things with writing. With our live show it is does not matter what it is every night you just get up there and you put on a big show. That is basically the driving force behind Prospect Hill and the passion we all have. We are very close, like a family. We’ve known each other forever. We are really close knit. That goes a long way.
Rick/RR: Too much of anything can turn into a bad thing at times. Have you ever gotten to that point as a group having been around each other for that long?
Mark/PH: We are pretty good about that. We do take our time off when we get home. Everyone gets along and understands each other so we can easily piss each other off, but most often we keep the peace! We all know what to do in those situations! (Laughs)
Rick/RR: The band lists Jägermeister, Woman and Destruction as three things of interest! If that doesn’t just ooze of rock-n-roll, I’m not sure what would! (Laughs)
Mark/PH: (Laughs)! Well, we are endorsed by Jägermeister so that is a given! Destruction just seems to happen and obviously we are all into women.
Rick/RR: So basically right now you are sponsored by Jagermesiter and are looking for endorsements by women nationwide in the near future? (Laughs)
Mark/PH: Oh yeah, I think everyone in the band would be happy with some female sponsorship!
Rick/RR: Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up? You have a show to do!
Mark/PH: Ha! Yeah, a huge thank you to all of our fans! Please keep pushing the local stations to play “Come Alive.” If you haven’t yet, then please pick up Impact on iTunes or you can get a physical copy through our website at http://prospecthillmusic.com. Stay connected by liking us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and all that good stuff! Hey, I appreciate the interview and hopefully we’ll catch you on the road.
~ Rick Lindner, Journalist – RockRevolt™Magazine
Photographs courtesy of Prospect Hill publicist & band Facebook Page