- Posted on Feb 25th 2011 5:00PM by Joe Tacopino
How did Royal Bangs get started?
The three of us met in high school and started playing shows around town, and we've been doing it ever since then, more or less touring consistently.
You guys are from Knoxville. What's it like there?
It's an alright place to be. There are more bands than you'd think. It's a pretty small town, but there's a bar there that hosts a lot of experimental bands called Pilot Light. You can see a lot of cool stuff there and we were influenced by that. There's a lot of experimental music that comes from Knoxville.
The Black Keys signed you to their label. I read they found you through MySpace. Is that true?
Yeah, they were looking for some bands for Audio Eagle, and I think it was our drummer, Chris [Rusk], that sent them a message. I don't think he knew that it was Patrick [Carney's] label. But, sure enough, Pat listened to it and liked it, and they ended up putting out two records by us.
You eventually did some touring with the band. Was there a lot of partying involved?
There was not so much of that because [The Black Keys] have a tour bus, they do stay out as late as they want and sleep late or whatever. But we had to drive for so long and we would have to be at the next place at like two in the afternoon, and we'd have a nine-hour drive. So what do you do?
The Black Keys have had some success licensing songs to commercials. Is this something you see yourself doing?
It would have to depend on what it is, I guess. We've done a few things like that. We're kind of picky about what it is. It depends on what the song is and what you're attaching it to. Sometimes I think that's OK.
The band has a pretty eclectic sound. It ranges from dance-y to raunchy beats, and electronic, and guitar rock. Where does all that come from?
You know, I don't know. I'm not sure where any of that comes from. I guess it's a combination of all of the things that we have been listening to the last couple of years playing together.
The new record is quite a bit different than the previous ones. It's a lot less dance-y. It's a little bit heavier and stranger than the other albums. And that comes from, I think, the way we made this -- just the three of us.
We just made a conscious decision to make the new record that way -- a little more naturally, rather than the other stuff being more programmed and kind of everything was synced up. We were playing with a lot of electronics before. After a while, it was more fun to play this way. I think it just works better for us.
What are some of the influence of the band? What did you guys grow up listening to?
When we started the band, we were listening to a lot of Pavement, Sonic Youth, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, things like that. Also a lot of classic rock like the Rolling Stones and stuff, and then some more experimental things here and there, some electronic stuff.
You've been to SXSW before. Are you looking forward to going back?
Yeah, it is hectic, but it's really fun, too. Especially for us touring all the time, we meet lots of bands. Lots of friends are touring, and then all of them come to the same place in March. So you see everyone you ever met virtually, in one kind of weeklong party.
It gets hectic moving your stuff around sometimes, but you know, it's a really fun time. You're also playing a ton of shows, and it's fun to have that experience more than one time a day. You kind of do the whole thing two or three times, which is kind of cool in its own way.
What influenced the song 'My Car Is Haunted'?
That one particularly, it's just kind of stupid. I did actually have a car that I believed to be haunted for a while. It would just do all kinds of crazy things. It had electrical problems, so the windows would just roll themselves down, and the stereo would be blasting when the keys weren't even in the ignition. We really just kind of went with it for a dumb title, as are most of the rest of the ones on the record.
Download Royal Bangs' 'My Car Is Haunted' (MP3) off 'Let It Beep' Free
Catch Royal Bangs' SXSW Sets on Wednesday, March 16 at Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards (201 E 6th St.) 11PM, and Saturday, March 19 at The Windish Agency House @ ND (501 N IH 35) 11PM.
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