Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Royal Bangs

The Royal Bangs draw comparisons to some of the most popular bands today: MGMT, Radiohead, Animal Collective and Passion Pit. There is more to them than meets the ear however. When the guys switch gears from electronic infused dance rock over to a standard drum set like on the songs “Brother” and “War Bells” some funky Tennessee flavor shines through.

Their latest album, Let it Beep was widely praised in United Kingdom publications. Here in the states they have been slow to catch on but some that took notice at Bonnaroo 2008 were impressed nonetheless.

The band’s guitarist Sam Stratton took a second to reflect on his career as a musician so far while taking a small break from touring to return home for the holidays.

Q: What has life as a musician been like compared to how you thought it would be?

A: “I recently got engaged, so all of this time on the road has been more taxing on my relationship than I expected. We’re usually on the road for about a month before we take time off. But I can’t really complain because I get to make music for a living. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I also didn’t really expect such a difference between touring in Europe and the United States. Over there, rock is still #1, so the whole climate and reaction to our music is different.”

Q: Any weird stories from being out on the road?

A: “ Back when we used to book our own shows just starting out, we played a show at some small time record store. The only person there was the single employee the store had. After we were playing for a while, he disappeared in the back and came out with this weird puppet and started dancing with it. So it was just us the band, and this kid dancing with a puppet that looked like a more obscene version of The Count from Sesame Street… it was creepy.”

Q: Wow. What was it like the first time you guys stopped in Detroit?

A: “We played at Corktown Tavern. All I remember is that they had plexi glass at the Little Caesars when we stopped to get a pizza. We had never seen that before. We just wondered what kind of heartless bastard would rob a Little Caesars? 5 dollar pizzas are a really good deal.”

Q: How did you end up on Patrick Carney’s (The Black Keys) label Audio Eagle Records?

A: He just kind of saw us around on one our tour stops on the area and checked out our Myspace. We were the first band he signed that wasn’t from Ohio.

Q: What’s in the future for Royal Bangs?

A: We’re going to finish the scheduled dates of our US tour, maybe play SXSW this year and then tour around Europe for a while before we drop our next album.

Q: How’s that coming? Have you started it?

A: “We’ve been working on some demos on our holiday break. Maybe two songs have been fleshed out but that’s it for now. We plan on recording the whole thing by ourselves like we did with the first album.”

Q: Is there any significance to the name Royal Bangs?

A: No, it just sounded cool. Back when the band first got together in high school, we were called Suburban Urchins for a while.

- Maximus

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