Based out of Milwaukee, Wisconson, The Royal found themselves on the first seven dates of the Vans Warped Tour – all stops on the West Coast – far away from their Midwestern home base. Performing an infectious brand of pop punk, there is little doubt the band gained a good deal of new fans with their dynamic live shows and instantly memorable tunes. With a self-released EP entitled Dreamlife and a series of high profile days on Warped now under their belts, The Royal is more than ready to take their place in the big leagues of pop rock and roll. Highwire Daze caught up with The Royal at Seaside Park in Ventura, just prior to their final performance on this year’s edition of Warped Tour. The band was wonderfully down to earth, and here is the conversation that commenced…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Royal, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD.
Seann: I’m Seann and the most embarrassing song I have on my IPOD is Scatman. And the reason it’s on my IPOD is because I downloaded a Top 250 playlist of the 90’s thing – and I was playing it one day on shuffle, and then that came on at a party of mine – and like three people left. So that’s the most embarrassing thing on my IPOD.
Rob: My name is Rob, I play bass in The Royal. The most embarrassing is probably also the least embarrassing in my opinion – is just the entire Weird Al discography. I have all of his albums on my IPOD – I don’t care what anyone thinks about that – but a lot of people would be embarrassed by it.
Jonny: My name is Jonny and I play a machine in The Royal. And I don’t have an IPOD anymore, because it broke on our last trip – but before that it was probably joke songs that Tim and Steve wrote.
Steven: And I’m Steve – I wrote those joke songs with Tim. But most embarrassing song – I have a lot of the Spice Girls as a whole. I was super into them when I was younger. I don’t think it’s embarrassing, but a lot people will think it would be funny – Eiffel 65 – Europop – the entire album – a lot of people would look down on that, but I love it! Guilty pleasure.
Tim: And my name is Tim – I play guitar in The Royal as well as Steve. And my most embarrassing song on my IPOD would have to be the first Hanson album – that whole CD with MMM Bop – it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, so I love it. I grew up with that stuff – it’s so catchy.
How has Warped Tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
Seann: It’s been the hardest work we’ve ever done and the funnest work we’ve ever done. You wake up at 7:00 every day and you load in, and you find a good spot for your tent. And after that, you do all of your merch and then you hit the lines. Because we’re an up and coming band, we want as many people to hear our sound as possible. And so we’re out there from 8:00 in the morning until we play, just passing out flyers to people saying, “Hey, just give us a chance. Just take a listen.” And then we play our hearts out for 30 minutes on that stage and afterwards we go right back to having people listen to our music – telling people to check us out on ITunes and maybe buying a CD – even just getting headphones on someone who might possibly like what we sound like is the most important and beneficial thing on Warped Tour.
Are you guys on the entire Warped Tour?
Seann: We’re only on seven days – this is actually our last day.
What’s the name of your current EP and is there any story behind the title?
Seann: The name of our current EP is Dreamlife, and it actually came from – a lot of the songs that we’ve written have just been sparks of inspiration that we work and turn into longer songs. I remember one morning, I was going to write with a friend of mine named Chris Sernel – and I woke up with a chorus in my head – and the chorus went, “My life is a dream.” And that ended up turning into one of our biggest songs right now called Dreamlife. So we decided since that’s kind of our goal, in the end of this is to have our dream come true – and we feel like that that’s everyone’s goal in life – to reach what they dream about and live their dream life. So that would be an appropriate title for our first EP.
Select two songs you may play here at Warped Tour and what inspired the lyrics.
Seann: Two songs that we might play today – This Isn’t Love – and what inspired the lyrics for that song is I had recently met back up with a girlfriend that I dated in high school and thought was “the one” for the longest time. We dated for about two and a half years. Back then, you’re just super naïve, but you’re so infatuated that you never let go of that. And we never said goodbye essentially – it was kind of like we just parted ways – there was no closure. And so two years after that, I met back up with her, and I realized about a month into our new relationship that this wasn’t love – there was no hard feelings – it just didn’t feel right – and so we just split ways again, but finally had our closure – and that’s what that song is about.
Another song that we’re going to play today would be Any Questions. And that song is really dear to my heart, because just being a musician – everyone in the world tells me “you can’t.” I’ve heard it from every person ever. They’re just like, “You need to give this up. You need to go to college. This isn’t gonna happen.” And every time, I prove those people wrong. And so, the main line in that song is, “This is who I am. Any questions?” It’s just kind of an in-your-face song about just doing you, and not caring what anyone else thinks.
What could one expect from your live show today?
Rob: Our live show – we just try to bring as much energy non-stop throughout the entire set. At the end of the day, we’re having fun onstage – and we want the kids watching us to have fun out in the crowd. We’re having fun – they’re having fun and vice-versa – and it’s like a give and take of energy. We go as hard as we can throughout the entire set. We walk off very sweaty and just have as much fun as possible.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Tim: I would have to say for a present band Blink 182 – just because I’m a fan boy – but that’s just in a dream world. Or in the past – if I could be as wild as my dreams – The Beatles I suppose – I mean, why not? If you could choose anyone, why not go with the biggest?
Steven: Present right now – it would be a dream come true to open up for All Time Low or Yellowcard – those are some of my favorites. Or Motion City Soundtrack – they’re actually on the tour, so it’s kind of crazy talking with them. As far as the past goes – probably The Beatles – or somebody crazy like Mötley Crüe or KISS – that would be insane!
Jonny: I’d probably go with Tim on this one and say Blink 182 – just because Travis Barker is probably the reason I started playing drums. And for no other reason, I would just like to watch him play from a different perspective other than from the grass seats or whatever on that.
Rob: I think the one artist that would completely blow me away to open for to play a set with would be Michael Jackson. I think I stole Seann’s answer. And why? Because it’s Michael Jackson – I don’t need to go any farther than that.
Seann: And I would have to agree with Rob on this. The one person I would want to open up for is Michael Jackson – and that’s because my family literally raised me on him. The only cassettes I would listen to until I was 7 years old in the car – like literally throw a fit – would be Michael Jackson songs. I mean, I’ve watched countless live videos, and he just has this presence that I’ve never seen in a human being before. He got onstage and women fainted and screamed and cried – he just had this aura about him that I think would be mind-blowing to experience – not even opening up for him – just to see it. I’m really, really sad that he’s gone.
Where are you guys from and what is your music scene like there?
Steven: We are from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our music scene right now is starting to come back. I would say that right now it’s predominately metal – it’s just always been metal in the Midwest for sure – especially in Milwaukee. But it’s starting to come back now – we have a bunch up and coming bands right now kind of like us. But it’s starting to swing around now to more pop and just alternative rock and stuff that’s like more singing. Nothing against metal, but I’m saying with singing and more melodic stuff.
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Steven: It’s actually not my personal favorite donut, but I think like a jelly filled donut – it’s powdery sugary on the outside, but when you get in, there’s a lot of flavor. We have a little bit of sugar on the outside – a little sugar coated – but at the same time, we still have an inside and there’s depth to our music. It’s not just the typical pop stuff – we try to add an element of real stories and not just, “I’m at the club and we’re partying.” It’s us talking about what we’ve been through.
Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check your band out?
Seann: Honestly, the thing that we find most fans really enjoy about us – besides the music – would be that we’re completely do-it-yourself. We don’t have management – we don’t have an agent – we don’t have a label. Everything that we do is 100 percent us – it’s 100 percent dictated by us. No one else tells us what to do – it’s just raw The Royal. Especially for us being in a pop genre where there’s people guiding that music (like management), I think a lot of people love to hear just what “we” are – just “our” voices. And so that’s what a lot of our fans enjoy about The Royal.
Rob: Also, just in line with that, we try and stay as accessible as possible for all of our fans – new and old. We’re the ones tweeting from our twitter account as well as our personal twitter accounts. We run our Facebook – we run our Instragram. We’re all over the social media stuff, and it’s all completely us. So when people try to interact with us, they’re actually interacting with us. We think that’s really cool.
Steven: To elaborate more on what Rob said, we love to talk to anybody and everybody who wants to talk to us – and just get to know them on more of like a personal level – and just talk to them. Cause we’re not anybody crazy – we’re still kids living at home trying to make it out here – and just trying to do what we want to do in lives. But at the same time, we’re still people and we all have lives as well. We all go through the same stuff – just different days and different times. One of the biggest things I wanted to tell anybody is don’t feel shy. Talk to us! We’re here to help you and if our music helps you, that’s awesome! We could go beyond that as well.
The Royal is:
Seann Bowe (vocals)
Steven Pitzl (guitar)
Tim Wolf (guitar)
Rob Carey (bass)
(Interview and Candid Photo by Kenneth Morton – Live photos by Edward Brandon)
The Royal on Facebook