Amplif[ie]d | Royaljag
By: Marissa Scheerer
You know you have come across defining artists when their work invents its own genre; and Royaljag, in ours and many others' opinions, have done just that. Termed "Soulful melodies accompanied by infectious harmonies swimming in a colorful sea of memorable riffs, doused with dynamic rhythm," by lead vocals and guitarist, Jay, Royaljag is an incredible group of genuine friends and artists that live to relate to the energy in their crowd in order to create something real and unforgettable. We were excited to get the behind the scenes to such an authentic group of people, making magic from their meeting passions, for an IEShineOn interview.
Q. Who is in the Royaljag and what are their roles/instruments?
Royaljag is Jay (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Roland (Bass), David (Keyboards) and Taylor (Drums). But we all participate when it comes to vocals.
Q. How and when did you guys meet?
Jay: Well my brother and I have known each other for a really long time now. We met David in the seventh grade and have been best friends ever since. We met Taylor at a show where he ran sound. We kept in touch since then. When the band was in need of a new drummer, he was the first person that came to mind.
Q. What draws you to each other and keeps your working together?
Roland: I don't think people know how hard it is to be in a band. It's more than finding a group of musicians that want to play a certain style. Because of how long we’ve been friends, the chemistry for us comes naturally. So whenever band business comes up it's honestly a hangout sesh as well. We all have similar taste in music. We like to skate and talk about food.
Q. When did you start playing music together?
David: The Garcias and I have been playing music for about five years. It wasn't until June of this year that we started jamming with Taylor. With this lineup things just felt so natural.
Q. Who are some of your main influences?
David: One of our biggest inspirations is definitely Michael Jackson. We all have our different tastes in music, but what we have in common is that we love a good melody intertwined with harmony. So artists like Local Natives, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Tame Impala, Bad Suns, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Young the Giant really appeal to us.
Q. How would you describe your sound?
Jay: We like to groove, not saying that all of our songs are dance-y, but we like to keep that element present. We don’t want to have a predictable sound so we challenge ourselves to not produce songs too similar to each other. When it comes to melody writing and instrumentation, we just like to mix our favorite genres. We have been told we should be classified under our own genre.
Q. What are some of your most memorable performances? Why?
Roland: I can speak for everyone when I say that our show at the Echo was one for the books. We played an opening set in support of our friends' Maudlin Strangers during the last date of their tour. Being new to the LA scene, we didn't know what to expect from a sold out crowd. They welcomed us with great vibes, and we have never felt such a rewarding experience.
We recently played our very first LA showcase Echo Park Rising. When complications arose we had to think fast and had our buddy Matt fill in for drums. At the end of the day all of our friends and family who made it to the show, made it an unforgettable performance.
Q. What is your favorite part about performing?
David: For me, its the response from the listeners. When they're feeling it I'm feeling it.
Jay: Yeah, its the overall energy that I get from walking onto the stage and the interaction of the crowd. I feel a sense of true happiness performing something that my best friends and I created. Its definitely a feeling unlike any other.
Q. If someone had never heard your music, and they were going to hear a first song—what song would you want to show them and why?
Jay: Well right now our single "Jungle" is the only recorded material that we have out. But it’s a good preview of what’s to come. This song is actually a perfect example of combining different elements from all of our influences.
Q. What do you think makes your music unique or memorable (or something quirky that people may find interesting or fun to know whether about the band, or each member)?
David: We are all a bunch of weirdos. We love to make each other laugh; when we are not playing music we are laughing. If you ever see us trying to be cool, make fun of us because we are hardly ever serious.
Q. What are you working on now? What can we expect to see/hear in the near future?
Roland: We are currently planning to record our debut EP. We are focusing on writing new material, and playing as many shows as we can. We are also working on our acting skills, hit us up on snapchat: @royaljagband. There is definitely a music video in order in the near future.
Q. What are some of your goals for the future?
David: Releasing and touring the EP. Pretty much giving life to it! Once it is complete we are devoting our time to promote it in any way we can.
Q. Anything else? Shout outs?
Shoutouts to the parentals for supporting our dreams. And to our team for always coming to correct. Our very best friends, you guys are the ones who keep us grounded. Love you guys.
As they may suggest, check out Royaljag's first recorded song "Jungle" on Soundcloud or Spotify.
And stay tuned for future info on upcoming shows and releases.