(Backstory) Back in my Audio Perv days (RIP), I did an interview with a band I feel is going to be huge in the coming year. When the site ended, it was never posted, so therefore, with permission, I’m taking it here (since I’ve already posted about them a while back) to share with fans and friends alike!
I have had a bit of an infatuation with new to the scene, New Orleans band Royal Teeth since she saw them open for The Kooks in May. I got the chance to talk to lead singer and guitarist Gary Larsen of the band, and our conversation literally covered everything you need to/would ever want to know about the band. From anticipation of a full length, to their energy on stage and those confetti cannons, to Nola and their inspirations, to David Bowie night, to weird quirks and perks and having a birthday on the road. So much information was revealed that Gary even became speechless for a minute over a question.
Catch up with part one of the interview here. Read part two of the in depth scoop about a band you definitely want to get to know! And find out what stumped Gary below!
Ok, going on that line, who are some artists who are some of your influences?
Oh man, I think everybody in the band, we all listen to similar music, but we’re all very influenced by different things more directly. So I think that makes writing with the band more fun. We try to split things up very evenly with the band, like if I come up with a song on acoustic, I’ll kind of keep it really simple on purpose. I’ll make a vocal, and I’ll make a few chords on an acoustic, and I’ll leave it pretty open, and see what the guys can come up with on top of it. It’s fun in that aspect because everyone kind of is influenced by different things, so everyone brings an element into the song that maybe I wouldn’t have thought of and I think that’s what makes a Royal Teeth song very unique.
So at least me personally, I can’t really speak for everybody else, but when I’m approaching Royal Teeth songs, I kind of like to listen to a lot of really old pop music, anything from like, I don’t know, I’ll listen to Motown stuff, or like Sam Cooke, or Ben E. King, or things like that. I don’t know, there’s a vibe when I’m listening that really makes me want to write. And I love just the simple nature of those old pop songs, and how perfect they are. Even lyrically just the way that everything kind of ties together and the vocals are just so catchy and you have to sing along to it. And I really kind of want to carry that over to Royal Teeth. I want the vocals to be a very important part, very catchy vocal lines that you can easily sing along to. It seems like that, and that’s kind of the element that I try to be inspired by and bring to the band. I do come up with very modern pop music, anything from indie to mainstream, and just kind of get a full grip on everything, because I think there’s so much good music out there I definitely don’t want to be very narrow minded about and I want to be very open to anything because you can get inspired by so much.
But we do have some fun playlists, everyone in the band. We have a party playlist, a mixed iPod in the van that has some of the most random music on it, that I think is fun to listen to, so you can get some different inspiration from anything. Stevie has a lot of old country music, he’ll have “Strawberry Wine” on his playlist and he’ll even have Peaches or I think he even has a Justin Bieber song on there, I’m not really sure. But, it’s pretty wide, you got a little bit of everything. (laughs)
That’s kind of awesome.
Yea, it’s pretty crazy.
Where’s one place that you guys would love to play?
I think we’re all really looking forward to the day when we can play outside of the US. I mean, as amazing as it is to tour and everything, if I could go to London and play a show that would be pretty amazing. Just to know that you’re going that far out of your comfort zone or everywhere you’ve been just to play music and people want to see you there. I think me personally, I’d like to go to London. That’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, so if I can have an excuse to go there just for the sake of playing music, that would be pretty fantastic.
I think you and me are alike on the whole London thing.
Yea, I don’t know, I’ve just always been drawn to there for some reason, and I’ve just always wanted to go there. I have a feeling that the only, especially with the band being so busy, the only way I’m going to go in the near future is if the band goes there. So I’m crossing my fingers that we keep getting good show opportunities and one of them might be London. So we’ll see how that goes.
What’s something really weird or crazy that’s happened to you on the road?
Well, let’s see, we’re not too crazy of a band, we’re pretty responsible, so we haven’t had too many really weird moments. I think the main thing that sticks out in our heads is that, at least in my head, you don’t want to have a birthday on the road, because something bad is going to happen to you. That’s just kind of what follows the band. We’ve had two birthdays on the road and both times someone’s been injured by a confetti cannon. When I say those things are powerful, like I’m not joking, those things are powerful.
So the first birthday was Joshua Wells, it was his birthday, we were in, I believe we were in D.C. And so we’re leaving the show, and we thought it would be a funny idea to shoot him with the confetti cannon, like just kind of scare him and cover him with confetti. And we were outside and we just figured it’d be funny. So we’re loading up the trailer, and our drummer is just a little bit too close to him, and shoots it off, and we’re not sure what it is exactly, we don’t know if it’s the pressure, I don’t know, but it basically messed him up pretty bad. It shot him in the face, he fell on the ground screaming, and we all kind of had a freak out moment, and he basically had a black eye, his lip was swollen kind of like Bubba Gump from Forrest Gump, that Bubba Gump Shrimp guy, his lip was just really huge. It was pretty intense. He was ok, he’s ok now, we laughed at it in the future. But that was kind of our first not so good moment.
And then my birthday was actually on the road as well, and our keyboard player thought it would be a good idea to jump down in the crowd and shoot the confetti from the crowd. And he was aiming just a little close to the side of my head, and he kind of hit me in the head too with it. And I didn’t really appreciate how painful it was for Josh until I got hit with it. And it kind of feels like someone punched you really hard in the back of the head, because that’s kind of what happened. So we kind of made a rule now, from now on, don’t even get kind of close to the face with the confetti cannon, because they hurt really bad. But other than that everyone’s been, no injuries have happened, so besides the dangerous confetti cannons, I think everyone’s been ok.
I was at your birthday show too, I didn’t know you got hit.
I did. And the funny thing is, I played it off pretty well, right?
You saw him come down. Well he shot it, and it initially kind of scared me, and then it hurt really bad. But it was right before I was supposed to play the drum, so I either fall down and make a big deal out of it or I just keep playing, so I figured I’d just keep playing. I think I was kind of in shock at the moment, because it hurt pretty bad. Then I went back stage and I rested for a few minutes, and I just had a headache for the rest of the day, but after that I was pretty much ok. But yea, those things are dangerous, so if you ever see anyone else with confetti tell them to not get too close to people, because those things are dangerous.
I can only imagine. On another tangent, Nora paints and makes artwork, has she ever thought of selling it or making album artwork out of it?
Well our EP, she designed the EP artwork, so that CD she made that for us. And actually, I keep telling her she should do that, I don’t think she’s thought too far into it, I think she just enjoys doing it. And she’s very modest about stuff, she doesn’t really think.. she’s like, “Oh people aren’t going to want to buy this,” or whatever, but people will. I think that would be a great idea, actually, I would like to. We’re looking into stuff going into the full length, and I think something fun would be to have some kind of limited edition things that come along with the CD that could be actual art that she paints. I’m not sure what it would be yet, we’re just kind of brainstorming it. But I think that is something we’ll definitely do. I love that she does that, only because I feel like it really makes our product we have more original because it’s strictly from the artist and she’s designing. I definitely agree with you, I think we should definitely have something like that. She recently designed our drummer’s kick drum. She painted the art on the front on the kick drum. I mean, that’s great. And she is very creative with stuff like that. To protect her hand, because she bruises her hand a lot with the tambourine, she wears this weird cloth thing, she tore a bunch of different fabrics and colors of cloth and she tied it all together and made this cool little thing. She’s very creative, and I think we’re really lucky to have her on the team because of that as well, even beyond the singing, because she’s definitely got a great look in terms of helping the band have a good image and things that really stand out. I’m really no good at all of that stuff, so I’m glad we have somebody that is.
I know Hannah Hooper of GROUPLOVE does a lot of paintings for her album stuff, so that’d be really cool.
Oh really? That’s really cool. See I think that’s so cool to have that because it’s, I don’t know, to me at least, it just makes it a little more special knowing that. I mean, there’s a lot of great artists, and we don’t really have an idea of what our new artwork will be like for the album, we’re not really sure, we’re in the brainstorming process, but I think it’s cool that a member from your band designed it because it kind of makes it a little more special, unique, and I guess your own. I think that’s one reason we’re really lucky to have Nora, besides the fact that she has a beautiful voice and she’s good at writing songs, it’s great to have someone in the band that can take direction and really make the band shine in terms of looks and art. We’re going to have something for people to have soon, I’m not real sure what it’ll be yet, but I’ll probably let her choose, because she’s good at that stuff.
It’s also a lot more personal, so getting on that line, you guys like to update everyone through Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites, how important is that band/fan connection to you?
Oh it’s so important. I think it’s one of the most important things we can do, really. I mean, obviously touring is the most important thing for a band to do to make a connection with people, because you’re actually going out of your way to meet them, but what better way to really enhance that connection than to have social media? It really has changed the music world so much, the Internet and everything. And a lot of people will say there are a lot of negatives to it, the fact it’s so easy to get music nowadays and it’s hard for the band to really profit and make money.
But that all being said, we can use the Internet now to specifically post things to certain areas of the world. So, when we’re doing an east coast tour, we’ll strictly go to the east coast states and we can promote our shows. And things like that have really made a difference for us. Our first tour really doing headlining shows, I think if it wasn’t for those social media networks, we wouldn’t have had as many people come out. And also, those connections we did make at those shows, those people are able to talk to us after the show, days after the show, to tell us what they thought or keep in touch with us. We check that all ourselves, we don’t have somebody doing that for us. So when we’re talking to them, I actually have my phone out and I’m actually responding to these people, or somebody else in the band is actually responding to the people. I don’t know, I just feel like in the music world today, we’re definitely not trying to be rock stars or too cool or anything like that. We’re so grateful that people want to take the time out to see us play our music, and I think, what better way to show that support than to really establish a connection with these people? And kind of like our live show, we want it to be more than just seeing a band, so we want these people to feel like they kind of know us a little bit, so we’ll actually try to take the time to try to get to know them if we can, and really just make a connection. I think that goes a long way, in the future, when people actually get to know the band and really connect with them and really form that kind of bond, I think it becomes more than the band, it becomes something special.
Ok, so tell me something about you guys that no one else knows. (Get ready for a speechless Gary!)
I know that’s very vague, but some little random trivia.
Random trivia, something that nobody knows?
Or very few.
Man. I don’t know.. I wish I.. Uh, there could be a few things I could tell you that nobody knows, but I’m trying to think of something that would be like, interesting. We’re definitely not a boring band, but we don’t have all of these crazy secrets that a lot of bands have. And that’s another thing, we keep our lives pretty wide open. Anytime we’re doing anything fun or anything worth talking about, we usually post about it. We’re a very picture heavy band, we like to post a lot of pictures. Umm.. I’m trying to think on the spot here something in particular, but I’m kind of falling short, let’s see. Something that nobody else knows.. that’s a hard question. What is wrong with you?!
Man.. Everything I can think of is just kind of boring stuff that’s not fun to tell people. I’ve already told you that we sing Lady Gaga before we play. Not everyone knew that. We kind of hide when we do that, so that’s definitely out in the open, so we’re going to get judged for that, that’s for sure.
There’s no judgment.
(Laughs). I think.. No I really don’t. I don’t know, there’s nothing really in particular that stands out. I wish I could tell you. If you could point me in a direction I could tell you something random about us, but off the top of my head, nothing really sounds that interesting.
Does anyone have any weird habits on the road? I don’t know..
Weird habits, let’s see. The funny thing is, being on the road, we’re usually on the road with 6 or 7 people, depending on if we have our sound guy, so there’s a lot of weird habits that I think could go around. It’s kind of crazy because you’re basically learning to live with all of these people on a constant basis, you’ve got to deal with. I think the biggest thing is, a ton of the time I feel bad for Nora, because she’s one girl surrounded by 6 guys, and that’s got to be bad, I mean she handles it so well, but that’s got to be pretty difficult. She’s got to deal with all of the smells, all of the jokes. But I think there’s no, there’s no really big, weird thing that really stands out, the only thing I can think of is depending on who we have, if we stop at a gas station, it usually takes about 30 minutes for some reason. I don’t know why, we’re pretty good with time, but our drummer basically tour manages us, so he’ll lie about when we have to be at shows because he’ll know that we’ll probably take like an hour long. We’ll pretty much be late, so as long as he tells us we have to be there an hour early, we usually get there on time.
OH, I’m a little bit of a diva when it comes to getting sick on the road. I’m 100% terrified of getting sick on the road because I have a fear of not being able to perform. So I’ll make 100% sure that Nora and I get to sleep on beds every night if we can. That’s the only time I’m ever mean about it. I’m like, “I can’t catch a cold, I’m sorry, I’ve got to sleep on the bed.”
Oh, and one thing that we do is we sneak into hotel rooms a lot. We’ll only buy one room to save money right now, so we’ll have 7 people in one hotel room at all times. We all go in there at different times and kind of sneak in, and we kind of make a big bed fort on the floor and everyone kind of cuddles together. Well, not me because I’m always sleeping on the bed, because I don’t want to catch a cold. But don’t make that too public because we don’t want the hotel people to get suspicious and we’re trying to build our points to get free rooms.
So I’ll just say “bed forts.”
Big, big, big cuddle forts. That sounds a little inappropriate, but that’s basically what we do. We’ll get a couple people in a bed every night and we bring a ton of blankets and we kind of lay them all on the floor and everyone kind of huddles up. And it creates some moments on the road.
Band bonding, what better?
I think that was one of my last questions, but, what can we expect from you guys in the coming year?
Well I think the main thing that people can expect is a full length album. That’s where our mindset is, we’re pretty focused on that. This year has been the best year of our lives, in terms of the band. I mean, we’ve gotten to do so much. We really think the next piece of the puzzle is really to have an album to give to everybody. I feel like we’ve made a lot of connections and the EP’s done great for us, but it’s time to move on and make an album. So, that’s kind of our goal for the next couple months to get in the studio, get to writing, and our goal is that by around the time of South By, when it comes around, we want to have the album finished. We’ll keep our fingers crossed, and if all goes well, we’ll be at SX promoting our album, and then from there we’ll be touring even more. So we’re hoping as soon as that comes out we’ll be touring constantly. We’d love to come by you again and play a show in the coming year.
Please do! I’ve got the best of both worlds, I’ve got the Providence and Boston markets.
(Banter about my station which I won’t shamelessly include..)
The more we can get our name out there, I think the more we can get up to you to play. One reason Virginia was so great was because they actually play us on two of their radio stations, their major radio stations out there. It was totally random, and we’re lucky that they decided to do that. But the fact that our name got out there so fast, it really made the show pop off. If we can really get that promotion in other areas, it’ll be so much easier to get shows booked over there, and to get over there. We want to play those markets as much as possible, so yea, keep name dropping and we’ll be there before you know it.
(Hear that fans, you really do make a difference!)
Alright, well you were just one of my favorite interviews, you guys are a lot of fun and I expected this to be a lot of fun, so thank you for that.
Hey, thank you, thanks for taking the time. I can’t wait until next time!
Have a good night!
See ya later!
For the audio of the interview, go here!
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