Kingdom of Dale
Roland Wolff has been a pop star before. That was in the noughties, in Asia. A Japanese label, of all things, signed him and his sister Julia from the North Rhine-Westphalian province.
Under the name Riviera they play elegantly, yet casual sunshine pop in the spirit of the Carpenters, close to early Cardigans, in the musical cosmos of Prefab Sprout and Burt Bacharach. With the third album "Mood Bazaar" they make the breakthrough in the Japanese charts, hear their music in commercials of big companies, tour Japan, screaming people, autographs, nice hotel rooms, all the fun.
On his now released second solo album "Kingdom Of Dale" Roland Wolff has now for the first time not thrown pop songs for eternity towards the sun, but waited for the moon. It is the sad things in life for which he has created a melancholic shimmering sound, a journey into the echoes of the past that would also pass as a lost Beach Boys late work.
Most nights, in fact even before Lockdown, Roland Wolff would go into his studio, leave the big lights off, throw patterns on the wall with an oil projector, and crawl musically into another world that revealed itself to him as the Kingdom of Dale. There is a lot of improvisation, loads of first takes. Roland experiments with sounds and patterns, unusual instruments such as baroque recorders, a baby sitar and the Hohner Guitaret are used.
"Kingdom of Dale" is journey into the self in mid-life, searching for a sense of existence.
It's an at times weird trip into the past, where you take your other self by the hand, at a place where you feel old, empty and worn out, dropped at the wayside and forgotten, while the circus of life has moved on.
Roland Wolff/ Riviera
In 1997 Roland Wolff founds his first band with his sister Julia and a few friends from school. 60ies guitar pop gradually turns into Britpop. The band is called Riviera and is discovered by producer René Tinner at a gig in a Cologne club in 1997. He had just taken over the old CAN studio after sound experiments with Lou Reed.
But no German record company wants to release the resulting recordings. When the dream of a pop career seems to remain a dream, the Japanese label Philter Inc. suddenly gets in touch, having recently found Riviera's music on the web.
Suddenly everything goes very fast, a first CD is released in spring 2001. In the course of the next 3 years, Riviera tour Japan for promotion and live shows.
In Germany some tracks are released on compilations by Edel and BMG - but otherwise little happens in their home country. In Asia, now with Korea and the Philippines having their music released as well, the Riviera records sell good.
The songs soundtrack commercials for the companies LG Telekom, Ssang Yong Motors and Bodyshop. In 2005, however, things get more complicated, sister Julia gets married to Probyn Gregory (who plays in the Brian Wilson Band), moves to Los Angeles, the promotion for their latest album does not go smoothly and their career slowly fades out since working together is getting more and more difficutl for the two siblings.
In 2014 Roland Wolff decides to go solo. A first album "Feels So Easy Yeah!" comes out. He continues to compose, arrange and record music with friends such as Bernd Begemann (German Singer/ Songwriter), Timo Blunck (Producer, Ex-Palais Schaumburg) and Frank Schmiechen (Singer/ Songwriter, tour bassist Robert Forster).
All Lead and Backing Vocals, Acoustic and Electric 6/12 String Guitars, Baritone Guitar, Electric Baby Sitar, Lyra, Dulcimer, Harpsicord, Fender Rhodes seventy-three, Bass, fretless Bass, Percussion, Hammond B3, Yamaha Grand Piano, Cp-80 Yamaha Electric Grand, Glockenspiel, Recorders, Harmonica, Melodica, Hohner Guitaret, Melotron
Frank Schmiechen: guitar, piano (4,8)
Probyn Gregory: trumpets, french horn, fx, guitar (1, 4, 7, 9, 10)
Sebastian Bauer: drums (6)
Jörg A. Schneider: drums (8)
Timo Blunck: additional bass (4)
Label: One Sunny Day Recordings
1. Dorm at the Edge of Town
2. Myriads of Stars
4. It Shouldn't Be That Way
5. 4 AM Parking Lot
6. Keep'em Out
7. All the Things You Love
9. Kingdom of Dale
10. Brave Astronaut
Cover Artwork: Gisela Wolff
Writing on Cover: Charlie R. Schwinges
Photograph back cover: Stephan Voelker
written, arranged, performed and produced by Roland Wolff
all songs licensed under marina records publishing
a One Sunny Day Recording
for Mama and Papa