Band finds success quickly
Things happened fast for the New Orleans-based pop band Royal Teeth. A six-member group featuring singers and musicians from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the band got noticed in 2011 by the Los Angeles-based Dangerbird Records during a Halloween night show on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. The group had been together just a few months.
Royal Teeth’s first recording, the 2012 EP Act Naturally, featured the characteristically bright, uplifting “Wild.” The song got a career-boosting placement in a Buick commercial, the financial benefits from which helped support Royal Teeth’s touring.
Ahead of the Aug. 13 release of Royal Teeth’s full-length album debut, Glow, the band spent most of this year on the road. The group finished a five-week tour that spanned from Boston to San Diego a few weeks ago.
“It’s nice to get back into the normal swing of things, sleeping in your own bed and going to your local coffee shop,” Gary Larsen, the band’s co-lead vocalist with Nora Patterson, said last week.
Royal Teeth has been a full-time band for little more than a year.
“Anybody who’s in the situation that we were in a year ago, who plays music and wants to do it fulltime, they dream of this,” Larsen said.
While the band’s career took off quickly, it seemed like a natural progression.
“Everything felt great and we have an amazing team helping us,” Larsen said. “But to think that we’ve toured across the U.S. multiple times and we recorded our new album in Toronto, it’s crazy. I feel lucky.”
The band adapted well to its new circumstances as a rising pop act.
“This lifestyle suits us nicely,” Larsen said. “It’s good to be able to dedicate ourselves to the band and not have to share it with part-time jobs. Each of us can really put our full attention into this project and make it as good as it can be.”
Royal Teeth will play an album-release show Aug. 16 at Lafayette music venue The District. While details for more shows are being worked out, the band is booked to make its second Voodoo Experience in November.
Since the release of Royal Teeth’s EP, the group appeared at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, the Austin City Limits Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The band also made its network TV debut on Last Call with Carson Daly.
Playing Voodoo Experience in New Orleans for the first time last year was a special occasion for the band. The group’s members had attended Voodoo over the years but never played it with any of their pre-Royal Teeth bands.
“It’s like a local show but, at the same time, it’s not local because you get so many new people there and it’s such a different environment,” Larsen said. “I guess we made a good impression because they asked us to come back this year. We’re even more excited and want to make it even better.”
Royal Teeth recorded Glow with producer Gaven Brown. Making the album during the Canadian winter, the south Louisiana musicians experienced the coldest weather of their lives.
“It was a complete change for us, but we welcomed it,” Larsen said.
Working in a studio that Brown knows well, the sessions proved, following some pre-production guitar and vocals work by Larsen and Brown in the singer’s New Orleans living room, surprisingly swift and efficient. Most of the instrumental tracks were recorded in a few days.
“So the back half of the recording experience was us getting the vibe and the sound that we wanted, tearing it apart and getting everything we wanted the record to be,” Larsen said.
Glow contains songs that are more personal, more mature than the band’s earlier EP, Royal Teeth’s first venture into a studio.
“When we did the EP, we didn’t even fully understand what kind of a band we were going to become,” Larsen said.
In Glow, the singer added, “there’s a theme of love throughout, but in different ways, whether it’s family or a significant other. When you tie all of it together, there’s really special stuff in this album.”