ROYALS (from l-r): Alex Baker (drums), Will Sherlock (guitar), Lewis Smyth (bass), Luke Smithson (vocals/guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Royals, an up-and-coming four-piece from Southampton, have quickly become popular on their local music scene, and online, in the year since they formed, with a sound that offers a new dimension to the pop-punk genre.
Having brought out a debut EP, ‘Painted Gold‘, last year to a positive response, the band have now followed that up with a new single, ‘Out Of Reach‘, and they chatted to me about their latest release, influences, playing live, and much more.
How did the band first get together?
Luke had just come out of a previous project, and was looking for band members. He found Alex on the internet, basically after stalking him, stole him from another local band, and they started writing music for what would become Royals.
We also found Will online through the website Join My Band, as he was looking for a band to join. Luke and Lewis were previously in a metalcore band called Gone By Tomorrow, which hadn’t long broken up.
We had discussed writing music together, just for fun, but it very quickly turned into writing towards what Luke and Alex had already been working towards, and Royals was born!
How did the name Royals come about?
We were in the studio recording our debut EP, ‘Painted Gold‘, and at that time, we hadn’t settled on a band name, so we decided we wanted to have something by the end of our studio time.
There was a fairly decent shortlist of names, which also included Rivals, Rushmore, and Lights Out, but we decided we wanted to go for a one word band name that indicated being a collective, so we settled on Royals.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
As a band, we have a pretty wide range of influences, from the bigger bands on the pop-punk scene, such as State Champs, All Time Low, and Waterparks, to some poppier stuff like 5 Seconds Of Summer. We all listen to so much different stuff that we try and bring in little bits from all over the place whilst still very much being rooted in pop-punk.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Most of the time, Luke and Alex will work on the music side of things and come up with a bunch of demos over time. As a group, we then decide which ones we like best, and then Lewis and Luke will work on the lyrics together. Will is just there to crack jokes.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Life experiences, the world outside, and everything in between. We tend to write about things that we have a strong feeling towards or emotional connection.
Last year, you brought out ‘Painted Gold’ to an overwhelmingly positive response. How was the reaction to the release, for you all personally?
It was really good, for some of us in the band, it was the first music we had released in four, five years, and for others, the first EP they have released where the band didn’t immediately break up afterwards!
We put the EP out before we had actually played any shows, so it was really great to take it all over the country and show people who we are, and also get us set up for what is coming next.
The band have just unveiled a new single, ‘Out Of Reach’, which was produced by Seb Barlow of Neck Deep. How was it – as an experience – working with him?
Working with Seb on recording our new music was amazing, he is very much a producer that could be the fifth member of our band and help take the songs that extra distance.
We had really challenged ourselves creatively to write better songs both for recording, but also for our live show, and Seb was a big part in helping us shape the finer details. We couldn’t be more happy with how our new music has turned out, and we can’t wait for people to hear it.
Also, how does your latest offering differ stylistically to ‘Painted Gold’?
Bigger choruses, catcher riffs! We wanted to move into a more modern pop-punk sound compared to ‘Painted Gold‘, so we put a lot of time into all of the small things, and brought more production elements to the front. It is still very much Royals, but with an overall more polished sound.
The band have been building up a reputation for live shows that are fun and energetic. How is it – for you all – performing on stage?
We love playing live shows, between us, we are all in either full-time work or education, so when we are away playing shows, it is our time to give 100% focus to our craft, and hopefully, it shows that we are having fun, except for when Luke feels the need to hit everything within a mile radius with his guitar, that’s not so fun.
We are fortunate enough to get a good response most people we go, which only drives us to keep cranking it up every time we play.
In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?
Good question, and not one we think anyone can really know the answer to right now. There have been so many shake-ups of the music industry over the last 15 or so years, due to changing technologies and people’s habits, but the one thing that we know for sure is that people will always want to listen to good music.
The industry may not be perfect right now, but it has survived challenges in the past, and we believe that it is the bands that work with the hand we are dealt most creatively that will be most successful in the long run. It may look a little different from what we are all used to right now, but we all have to be prepared for the challenge ahead.
And lastly, what are your future plans?
More shows, more songs, more everything! Except Alex, he’s just going to watch ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine‘.
‘OUT OF REACH’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM ROYALS – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: