Non-project and Lifelong Headache
Painted Romans is a long-standing eclectic solo act turned band on several occasions over the years. But paradoxically it wasn’t before late 2020 – that brutal year when the world collapsed – that Painted Romans was given a stage due to unexpected DJ and listener response.
And so an era of total obscurity came to an end.
2021. Jan Ottar, Mats, and Thomas. Photo: P.R. (Right-click, save as)
January 2021 saw THE COLD DELIGHT, which according to Onyx Music Reviews is "dark and morose just like all good goth songs can be and yet full of movement and life at the same time". White Light // White Heat had it as their track of the day.
Prior to that it was the gothic darkwave single FORMATION (lifted off the mini-album HEART) that first caught the interest of many around the world. No doubt this was the tune that hauled Painted Romans before an international "dark" music audience. HEART itself made it onto El Garaje De Frank's best of 2020 list.
Couple those tunes with the rough and tough May ‘21 gothic rocker MEMENTO MORI – "another song that will continually be present in our stereos this summer" (El Garaje De Frank) – and you have a trio of hard-hitting songs that have enjoyed a fair amount of airplay on top international alternative and underground radio shows.
Mats Davidsen has been doing this for well over twenty years beginning with the post-punked, dark-tinged, and notoriously cheeky and unpredictable new wave band Wallpaper Silhouettes in the late 1990s, then moving on to the artsy, introverted, and melancholic "diary entries" that became Painted Romans in 2007.
Despite critical acclaim for both of these acts it wasn’t until 2020 that the stars aligned and Mats, out of touch and unaware of a so called post-punk revival, returned to roots and made a record that helped inject Painted Romans with a much needed reputation. Along came ex-Wallpaper Silhouettes and Painted Romans keybordist/guitarist Jan Ottar Nystad and bass player Thomas Sejnæs, also a former Painted Romans player. This made it possible to perform again, although naturally the pandemic didn’t allow for much of that!
2022. Jan Ottar and Mats. Photo: P.R. (Right-click, save as)
In February 2022 Painted Romans were reduced to a two-piece as Thomas left the band, citing lack of enthusiasm. However, it didn’t lower the spirit of Mats and Jan Ottar who diligently carried on to deliver a well received 45-minute live performance at the Goths for Sanctuaries online festival in April of ‘22. Now, with live rehearsals and fresh music making impressions within the dark alternative scene, the Romans may have lots to look forward to yet, and if you find yourself intrigued by the sound of that you are well advised to follow the band on their endeavours.