Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 16th 2010 1:40PM by Sarah Vasquez
How did this band get together?
Well Chris [Rusk, drummer], Sam [Stratton, guitarist] and I met in high school and so we've been playing together with different combinations of people. We had a couple of other bass players and guitar players come in and out. Recently, there were two other guys, Brandon Biondo and Henry Gibson, that were playing with us. It felt like playing music with five people had run its course. We've been playing together for seven or eight years in different bands. Both of them are doing their own music now. So we're just doing this with three people. SXSW is kind of interesting because it'll be the first shows that we've played like this. So we've been writing, working like really really hard to write new arrangements and stuff for the songs to kind of cover all the different parts and stuff for the old songs that were written for more people. Then we're going to play some new material, too, so it should be fun.
You recently came down for Fun Fun Fun Fest. What would you say is in your festival survival kit?
I actually don't really like music festivals that much, but it's just nerdy reasons. Usually they're outdoors and there's a lot of grass and dust and stuff, so my allergies bother me. Probably allergy medicine is the first thing.
How did you come up with the band name?
We've been doing interviews long enough that you would think that I would come up with a funny answer for that. I'm not exactly sure when Royal Bangs actually started. It was all the same people doing different stuff, but we wanted a name. I don't even remember who came up with it. We were just putting words together like the way you do with those [refrigerator word magnets]. We were just writing them down as they were being tossed out, and those two words sounded good together. People always have the weirdest interpretations of it or they always put "the" in front of it. I guess thinking that it's The Bangs or something. Like The Royal Bangs. It's weird, but it's just Royal Bangs.
What do people interpret it as?
People a lot of times think it has some kind of sexual connotation, which I don't think that. It's two sort of common words. It's not that outlandish, but that seems to be one. People always think it's having sex with a monarch or something, which I think is pretty stupid. But the joke's on us -- we're the ones that named our band that.
How would you describe your sound in your own words?
We were talking about it to somebody. Oh, it was at the festival. We were talking to the dudes from Neon Indian about preemptively coming up with a title for your music. Sam, our guitar player, decided that we were going to say our music is easy shredded computer jam. Now, I think that's what I'm going with. Easy shred computer jam.
What are your musical influences?
Especially in the newer stuff, there's a lot of electronic stuff going on and especially in the instrumentation. I think there's a lot of electronic percussion and keyboards and synths and stuff like that. But I think probably all of us grew up listening to classic rock, so it gets weirder and noisier. At some point, it probably comes over back around to this Thin Lizzy, Bruce Springsteen. I guess try to keep a healthy balance of weirder, noisier stuff, especially the new material that we're working on. We're starting to work on our next album or at least write the material for it. A lot of that is a little bit weirder than the stuff we've been doing in the past. A little bit noisier, but again, there's probably at least some part of every song that I feel like has that slightly more accessible or at least I hope so.
What would you consider a musical guilty pleasure?
As far as stuff we've been listening to lately, at the last tour, we all got really obsessed with that Soulja Boy song called 'Turn My Swag On.' I think it's really funny to listen to it because to me, it's exactly what probably all hip-hop music sounds like to old people.
What is the craziest thing you've seen or experienced on tour?
We played in these places in the South where we didn't know anybody and be in these little towns out in the middle of nowhere. We would basically count on meeting somebody at the show and just stayed on their living room floor or whatever. It always worked, too. We always found a place to stay, but the weirdest one definitely was we got to a place and it was full of weird, old power tools and letters from prison and stuff. The kicker: After we saw this weird s--- in the house, [the guy] was like, "OK, well, I'll see you later." He didn't even live there. He was just taking us to some house. He was like, "Oh, don't worry about it. The guy who lives here hardly ever comes here." We're just like, "What?" It was really weird. We ended up staying because we didn't have anywhere else to go.
That sounds like the beginning of a horror film.
It felt like the beginning of a horror film, for sure.
Beatles or Stones?
I was always a Stones guy growing up. It was one of my favorite bands. I think came around to the Beatles late. I like both of them now, but if I had to pick one, probably I would pick the Stones. I always heard everybody talking about the Beatles. I was like, I need to check this out, and I got Beatles' 'Anthology,' which is all of the outtakes from the White Album, so it's just scratch tracks of them f---ing up on songs and stuff like that. I did not get it and I thought it was like the Beatles' Greatest Hits. I was like, "Why would anyone listen to this stuff?" I was really against it until I was in high school. I like only listened to the Stones.
That's so funny. That's, like, the worst album to pick up to learn about the Beatles.
Yeah. I had no idea. It was funny. I listened to it once and I was like, "F--- this."
Sarah Vasquez is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.