Back in in 2012, New Orleans band Royal Teeth emerged with a jubilant and bombastic sound that had us all humming along to their single “Wild.” That song and initial EP were followed by a debut album, Glow in 2013, and seemingly endless touring, but it’s been quite a while since we had heard anything new from the band. That changed with the recent release of their latest EP, Amateurs, which proves that they are anything but. I recently had the chance to chat with the quartet, consisting of Nora Patterson (vocals), Gary Larsen (vocals / guitar), Josh Hefner (drums), and Thomas Onebane (guitar) about the new songs, and they played a few of them in a stripped down, almost acoustic arrangement for our latest SubModern Session.
FMQB: It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from you. I saw you at SXSW a couple years ago. You might’ve played a couple of these new songs at that show.
Gary Larsen: I’m sure we did.
Nora Patterson: We probably played “Amateurs.”
GL: Definitely. That might’ve been it at the time, actually. We’ve had “Amateurs” for a while. You said it was two South By’s ago, so that makes sense. The others, probably not actually. I think those are more recent. It’s sorta hard to keep track of it sometimes because we’ve been writing a lot and we’ve had sort of a longer break than we wanted to have. So, we were sitting on a really large pile of unfinished demos and pieces of music. For this EP, the interesting thing about it is that it was more or less like, “What can we do in a couple weeks time?” So we got into the studio and we based the songs that we recorded off which ones were a little more developed and which ones had a nice little vibe together, but we still have enough material to go record an album. So, even though we’re out here very excited promoting it and playing new material, we already have our minds thinking of what songs are going to be on the LP, which we’re hoping to record sooner than later. Probably within the next few months or so we’d like get into the studio and start working on it.
FMQB: I think you answered the question that I was going to ask without me asking it, which is whether this EP is a precursor to the album and most of these songs will also be on the album? I’m guessing from what you said that’s not going to be the case here and this is its own thing?
GL: Probably. We really don’t have a plan for that, which I guess is a bit odd. A lot of bands do tend to get all the heavy lifting done first and then they drop the EP and that leads into the album, but this time around it was more like we were off for a while and we just really wanted to get into the studio and do something, and this is what we made. There’s a chance that one or two might stick around and go to the LP, depending on how long it takes to get it finished, but we have enough material to keep it going. At the same time we’re gonna have this out there, so why not just record ten or twelve more tracks?
FMQB: I’m curious, from talking to you at that SXSW, it seemed like you were confident that something would be coming sooner than ultimately it did. Whatever you don’t want to get into is fine, but were there some obstacles along the way?
JH: Uhhh…. yes. It was mostly just boring business, record label stuff to be honest.
FMQB: It’s always the stuff that no one wants to hear about.
JH: Exactly. Yeah, just a little bit of that and we got a little antsy, but it’s all worked out now and we’re happy with our home and we’re ready to release some music and get back to work.
GL: We like being busy!
FMQB: Well, you’re always busy. You still did a lot of touring during that timespan.
JH: We did. Yeah. It got to the point where we were touring off the same album for so long, we were like, “We’ve gotta get new music out here to the fans who have seen us six times over the last two years.” I think it was just the idea of how in this modern day, you just have to keep feeding music to your fans and we weren’t doing that. So we definitely want to shift our focus and get back to releasing music.
FMQB: Is there an overarching theme of these six songs?
GL: It wasn’t something that we thought going into it, cause we were looking at a long list of ideas. We were trying to trust our gut and go with what was feeling good at the time rather than try too hard to create a masterplan. But I think looking back at it and listening to it, I definitely think it’s a little more aggressive. I think you can sense that we were a little more… I don’t want to say angry, but kind of using our struggle as inspiration.
GL: (Laughs) And I think there’s a sense of moving on and it’s a little more punchy. But at the end of the day, we’re still very hopeful people and we try to keep our heads up, so I think you still get the positive message that the band has always carried. So in a way I think that they tie together really nicely, but at the same time I don’t feel like we’re trying to recreate the same sound over and over. That gets a bit boring for us. We like to try to constantly inspire a new energy and vibe that maybe we didn’t do the last time.
You can hear Royal Teeth’s live SubModern Session performance here. The band will be continuing their perpetual tour as they support Rooney through mid-December. They’ll head right back out with This Wild Life in the first week of 2017, followed by another tour with Safetysuit in February. See when Royal Teeth are coming near you and find out more at RoyalTeethMusic.com or RoundHillMusic.com.
By Josh T. Landow