Interview: Now Thats What I Call Rock

Each year we are treated to a compilation of the biggest songs at the time- the Now! That\’s What I Call Music collection. Starting in 1998, Now! has become a staple of the music industry and the organizers of the collection have begun putting together specific genre collections to be released.
It\’s no secret rock and metal music has taken a backseat to other genres in popularity over the last few years but has seen a resurgence lately in popularity. To celebrate the quote-unquote \”return of rock\” music to the mainstream, the fine people behind the Now! collections have put together Now! That\’s What I Call Rock- a collection which includes bands like Shinedown, Breaking Benjamin, Bring Me The Horizon, Red Sun Rising and numerous others.
Organizers Jeff Moskow and Cliff Chenfield recently took time out of their schedules to answer a few questions for The Front Row Report, discussing the recent release and what the future holds for rock music and Now! That\’s What I Call Music. 
FRR: Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions! The compilation is outstanding and it’s great to see rock back in the mainstream eye! When the Now! That’s What I Call Music series started, there was always a rock presence. Somewhere along the way, that filtered out with the exception of bands like Imagine Dragons or AWOLNation, but now it’s back. What was it about 2016 that was the right time to bring it back and why with it’s own album?
Jeff Moskow: As you say, rock has played a role on NOW since its inception. That ranged from Bon Jovi to Everclear to Nickelback to Godsmack to Blink 182 to 3 Doors Down to Three Days Grace…but then pop and crossover hip hop sort of took over in the mainstream.
Recently however, with band like Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors, Coldplay, Elle King, Shinedown, Bring Me The Horizon, Nathaniel Rateliff and more, it seemed that there was more rock in the mainstream, or close to it. When that happens, we have to tell that story.
Cliff Chenfield: Music moves cyclically and in recent years, rock bands were primarily appealing to a core of rock fans without reaching out to a broader audience. Perhaps they were concerned about offending the more purist faction of their fan base but more and more rock artists want to be heard by as many people as possible while still maintaining their rock aesthetic.  This is leading to more accessible bands with greater ambition and the fact that NOW, the leading arbiter of crossover pop music, recognizes this change is a testament to the progress that has been made.
FRR: I guess the question a lot of people in the rock community have wondered is why there was a dip in the rock presence on Now?
Jeff Moskow: The dip of rock on the numerical collections was simply a reflection of the overall market, especially as it relates to the mainstream. We never chose and would never choose one genre over another. If the hits are there, we want them. And now, the rock hits are there.
FRR: While the compilation is stellar and outstanding and- I think really represents where rock is right now- there are also some artists on it who many rock fans aren’t sure about like Elle King, X Ambassadors, Cold War Kids, Walk The Moon, Imagine Dragons, etc. Obviously they are rock and have some elements of the genre, or they wouldn’t be included. What would your response be to those who question those artists or think others should have been included?
Also, what was it about the songs and bands included that stood out apart from the others and how did you narrow it down to which ones were included?
Cliff Chenfield: This is a NOW record and the artists and the songs on the album have to have achieved some critical mass and be accessible to a more mainstream audience.  It is a rock collection for a broader audience and as such, we avoided songs we thought might be too heavy or too mellow.
For many listeners, this will be somewhat of an introduction to what is succeeding in rock in 2016 so we chose the songs that had the best balance of awareness, accessibility and credibility.  Elle king for instance is a bad ass, her music is rooted in great rock and she has a Huge hit, how could we leave her out?  On the other hand, without naming names, there are very big bands in the heavier side of the genre who are fabulous but their music might be a bit inaccessible for this audience and they haven\’t received much exposure outside of a pure rock audience.  We expect That our criteria will evolve as we continue the series.
FRR: There are obviously a lot of bands- especially younger ones- in the rock community who are seeing a lot of popularity and top 10 singles. It’s hard to fit them all on one album so is there a chance we could see another installment of Now! That’s What I Call Rock in the near future?
Jeff Moskow: Hopefully, yes. The big challenge on this album, was mirroring the rock genre back to the audience. If you listen to rock radio, this collection EXACTLY represents those playlists. Its not just hard rock, or alternative…its Rock, and thats a big tent. Its a lot of things to different people, but make no mistake, people are very opinionated as to what rock is, and they will let you know that.
FRR: What does the future of Now! look like? Where do we go from here with rock music and Now?
 Jeff Moskow: I think it will continue to grow. Bands start with one hit, and some evolve and stay around, and some don\’t. For example, Nickelback has become a punchline, but thats not fair. They had hit after hit after hit after hit, and if you ask people in a quiet moment when no one is around, they will say, yeah, I like Nickelback. A rock band today would be lucky to have that same sort of success, and some will, although ideally without the punchline.
Rock always has a home on NOW.
FRR: Thank you very much for your time. The collection is a home run and I hope we can see it continue on in the future! Jeff Moskow: You\’re welcome, anytime!