Interview: Royal Teeth
Fri, 23 Aug 2013 10:04:22
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"The ideas initially are really well-structured, pop-inspired songs," says Royal Teeth guitarist and vocalist Gary Larsen of the creative process behind his band's new album, Glow. "They're infectious. From there, we elaborate on them and add a lot of the band and electronics. Then, it turns into something more."
Glow definitely is something more. It's the kind of shimmering electronic pop that will have you humming for months on end. Royal Teeth shine brightly and brilliantly around every bend and fashion some of the most intricately irresistible gems you'll hear all year.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Royal Teeth's Gary Larsen talks Glow and so much more.
What's your take on Glow as a whole?
I really enjoy the way the whole thing flows. There's a sense of hope and adventure throughout the whole piece that ties it together. Whether the song might be happy or sad, there's a certain vibe that carries through the album. By the time you start the record until you end it, there's a common thread. A lot of the songs have lyrics about the nighttime or darkness. One thing that's really interesting is people always have said our music is so bright and colorful. That was part of the inspiration to help shine a light in the dark. We wanted the record to be more intimate than the EP was and have more depth to it. That's something which comes across. You're shining a light in the darkness. It was a fun thing to think about when we were writing it. It was a good scene to move with. We wanted that hope and adventure to carry over to the rest of the record as well.
What's the story behind "Hold Me"?
It's one of the last songs we recorded. Everything built itself really easily. It's fun because we thought we had everything done in the studio, but this last minute song came in. Now, it's the first song on the record. It was a fun theme to write too. At the time we wrote it, everybody was posting on Facebook that it was supposed to be the end of the world or something like that. I made a song about that theme. If the world was actually going to end, you meet this person and you have a moment in time. It's all you have. That was the inspiration behind the song itself. It was fun to make a play on the idea itself. The world's ending, so what do we have right now?
Where did "Mais La" come from?
We wanted to go out with a bang and a bigger song. Early on, we knew "Mais La" was really good live. We wanted that to translate, and we thought it would be a great way to close out the record. Our guitar player Stevie came up with the original idea for the song. It was initially a bunch of references to Louisiana and New Orleans. When we got to the studio, we expanded upon it and made it about these two people in the city hitting it off. The term "Mais La" is a Cajun French expression. It has a meaning that's a little hard to explain. It can mean a couple of different things. It's almost like, "Oh well!" It's like if you wake up and go outside and see you have a flat tire, you say, "Mais La". It's a term for that. We wanted the chorus to be unconventional, but we tried to make it as catchy as possible. It's been working really well. It's fun to sing along to and perform live.
What's it about lyrically?
To us, it's about living in the moment in Louisiana. There are a lot of Louisiana references in the lyrics. When we brought it into the studio, we focused it on a similar theme that would carry through the record. You're here in the city and living in the moment. When we went in with the song, it was about living in Louisiana then it tied this story about these two people together. It's definitely a fun one.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
I think it's been developing. It's not initially something I really think about when I'm writing lyrics. I'm open to whatever comes. It gives the songs a little bit more meaning.
If you were to compare Glow to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Oh my God! I don't even know [Laughs]. Nora's right next to me. I'm going to ask her. Do you have any ideas?
It would be a combination of a few things. There's almost like a post-apocalyptic vibe to it, but it's also a love story. Maybe it could be Return of the Jedi?
Oh man! That's amazing. That's not what Nora was thinking [Laughs]. That's great. I think that's true a lot of the message behind the songs is in the moment and capturing that. That carries over to the songs as well. That's a very good answer. It doesn't get more epic than Return of the Jedi.
Have you heard Royal Teeth yet?