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Monday, September 29, 2008

Royal Bangs Visits Raleigh

Royal Bangs is a Knoxville, Tennessee based band of excellent musicians coming to town this Sunday evening! I have been really getting into their album "We Breed Champions" lately. Featuring tight interwoven guitar with great use of effects and electro-noises, keys, and power! power! power! rhythms, this is another contender for my top 10 of 2008. My wife draws comparisons with the Rolling Stones, which I can especially hear on "Broke Calculator". Vocally, I'm also reminded of Modest Mouse.

The album is loaded with hit-worthy material, like the hookadelic "Cat Swallow", and a pair of tracks extolling the virtues of Japanese cars, one of which is titled "Hyundai From Korea". One point of confusion here: with that title, how come we have the lyrical theme "Japanese car keep me safe tonight?" Hmm? I guess we can allow for poetic license here. Read on for the answer to that mystery.

The band is kicking off a tour with The Black Keys, beginning October 3rd in Asheville at The Orange Peel, arriving in Raleigh (by way of Myrtle? go figure!) at Disco Rodeo in Raleigh on October 5th.

I was fortunate to catch up with RB vocalist Ryan for some answers to all my Royal questions!

D: On the song "Hyundai From Korea" why are the lyrics about Japanese cars? Me so confused!!!

R: We recorded the album in kind of a hurry (in like a week, I think) about two years ago before I moved to France for awhile; I wrote the song "Japanese Cars" and then right before we finished it, I recorded the second version of it that comes at the end of the album by myself, just messing around. We were leaving to go on tour a couple of days later, and when I did the artwork I just called it "Hyundai", thinking it was a Japanese car. Clearly, I should have done my research! So when we re-released it I called it "Hyundai From Korea" to clarify.

D: Is there much of an indie scene in Knoxville?

R: Yes! We have an awesome club called the Pilot Light that brings in all kinds of cool bands that other cities our size don't often get visits from, like the Liars, Damo Suzuki, Pere Ubu, Deerhoof, and tons of others. It is a non-profit, musician-run place that is one of a kind. It's my favorite place to play, ever. There are all kinds of great bands that live here, too--Tenderhooks, Diacon Panthers, The Cheat, Double Muslims, Three Man Band, and tons of others. It's a fun place to live.

D: How did you get the band together?

R: Chris and Sam and I went to high school together, fusing together to make one nerdy magnet that has since that time attracted and repelled various other nerds in and out of our band.

D: Paper or plastic?

R: Steel.

D: I always like to ask this question... How do you approach writing new material?

R: We usually work on a bunch of new songs at once--I'll write a little bit of a song, bring it to the other dudes, they will add value to the jam, then I will take that home and maybe add a little more value, and then bring it back to get that slick new jam sheen all over it. We usually have about ten of those going in parallel at any given time. Also, we draw a great deal of inspiration from Little Caesar's incredible $5 hot and ready deal, as well as their criminally under appreciated $1 crazy bread special.

Thanks for all that great info Ryan! I sure hope Little Caesar's gives you free pizza for life after that endorsement. For the record, I'm strictly an independent family-run pizza enthusiast, but that's a topping, er.. topic for another day.

If you are ready for some adventure, check out Royal Bangs' MySpace, and see them rock Raleigh this Sunday, October 5th at Disco Rodeo.

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