U.S. Royalty | Going Beyond Musical Labels

Washington D.C. has a rich history in music and many alleged and self-imposed music connoisseurs are quick to spout out names like Bad Brains, Henry Rollins, and Fugazi all in one breath. However, D.C. bands strive to cast away the punk rock, emo and post-hardcore genre. U.S. Royalty is one of those bands working hard to prove their worth in the D.C. market, go beyond atypical genre labels and take their brand of blues-tinged, modern-American soul filled rock and roll. U.S. Royalty rolled through Cicero’s last week making new fans at every guitar stroke and drum beat. Here’s what singer John Thornley and drummer Luke Adams had to say prior to the show when I had a chance to catch up with them.
How’d you start the band?

John Thornley – My brother and I started writing songs together and teamed up with Luke and Jacob to start fleshing out the songs as a full band. We were rehearsing in a pink trailer in st marys county MD. Then started traveling to test the songs out on the road. Our first album is a culmination of those first 2 years traveling America and figuring out what we our sound is.

Explain your sound in your own words.

Luke Adams – Sweaty American rock n roll

What types of venues are your favorite to play? After being out on the road so often I’m sure there are favorite cities and/or venues to play, care to share which ones are your favorites and why?

LA – We like venues and crowds we can interact with. The closer they can get to the stage, the better. Shubas in Chicago and Pianos in New York have have always provided us with a good time.
Who are some of your musical influences?  Many people point out that it’s easy to point out that you draw a lot from Fleetwood Mac’s sound, but what is your personal take on it?

JT –  From a production standpoint it was a conscious decision. Leading up to the recording of the album we hadn’t been able to get recordings that captured what we envisioned  our sound to be.  So when recording the album we were taking cues from some of their albums since we listened to them all the time anyway.  Theres a close, warm quality to the sound.  And we wanted to mix that with a sort of sweeping sphagetti western sound.

 You’ve released your first full length album this year in January. How did the recording process come together? Did you learn anything from recording your first full length album? What can you impart to new or up-and-coming bands going through the same thing/recording process?

JT – We didn’t use a producer. We worked with Gus Oberg who is a great engineer. He really helped us hone the sound we were looking for.   We are really starting to enjoy the recording process now that we have more of a handle on it.  I would say for other bands, not to wait for all the right pieces to fall into place. That may never happen. Just write, ,perform, record and out of that keep what makes you happy. That’s all I can say at this early point in our career.

How is the tour with Third Eye Blind going? What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on this tour?

JT – Going really well. The band and crew are great to be around.  The audience has been really responsive, considering alot of these people haven’t  heard us.


Originally published at Cicero’s Blog, May 23, 2011.


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