Nikon and Warner Winners Royal Teeth Keep it Regal at SXSW

[cquote]It’s about feeling young and naive, and how that can feel so amazing at times when things are hard or complicated…I think it’s most relevant…when we think of ourselves making the leap to quit our regular lives and pursue our music.[/cquote]

Royal Teeth's Winning Entry, "Wild."

“Don’t you think it’s time for you and me to make some history?” intone vocalists Gary Larsen and Nora Patterson as colors and darkness sweep around them. Louisiana-based band Royal Teeth sports a substantial roster of instruments and vocals – and from the video they entered in the Warner and Nikon Creative Invite from Talenthouse, it’s clear that they’ve got the wild child chops to make it all come together on stage.

After triumphing in the Invite, the sextuple skills of Gary Larsen (vocals/guitar/percussion), Nora Patterson (vocals), Joshua Wells (bass), Josh Hefner (drums), Stevie Billeaud (guitar) and Andrew Poe (keys/percussion) made their way to the Warner Sound event of South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. Following up on their surprise winner announcement video, we landed a written interview with Royal Teeth as they rolled toward “The Live Music Capital of the World.”

Royal Teeth rock the house as part of Warner Sound at SXSW.

Talenthouse: What lead you to participate in this Creative Invite?
Royal Teeth: A friend of ours sent us a link to the contest. It seemed like a great opportunity so we just went for it! Opportunities like this can really make a difference so we are very grateful to have been chosen for this opportunity. We didn’t think we could be more excited to be showcasing our music at SXSW…until now!

TH: How might you define your music in terms of genres or styles?
RT: We get asked the genre question a lot and it’s always difficult to answer, so we have made up a genre called Afro/Hug-step. Ha! Our music is very upbeat and fun but it’s also very big and has a lot of heart. Royal Teeth equals Afro/Hug-step.

TH: Releasing your first EP with a cover of the The Knife’s “Heartbeats” was an ambitious move. What elements or new perspective do you emphasize in your interpretation?
RT: It was but it didn’t feel like it at the time. We chose Heartbeats to play live. We thought we could do it justice and that it might be something fun at shows. When we started noticing that it was something people were looking forward to live we figured to bring it to the studio. Our producer had never even heard the original song! I think that made the creating process fun and helped make the cover our own. Our version was based off of a live video of the song. When we saw that video it really clicked that we could use those elements and make it huge.

TH: What was the inspiration for your song “Wild,” the video of which (directed by Jared Serigné) won you the Nikon and Warner Creative Invite?
RT: The inspiration for “Wild” was pretty simple. Gary had the chorus melody in his head and from there it was very easy to write as a band. We never really know which song is going to be the one that stands out but from live shows and writing it in the studio we knew there was something special about it. It’s about feeling young and naive, and how that can feel so amazing at times when things are hard or complicated. The lyrics are easy to connect to and I think it’s the most relevant in our lives personally when we think of ourselves making the leap to quit our regular lives and pursue our music.

The band in high spirits on the roads from Louisiana to Texas.

TH: Please list a few reasons why you have named yourselves “Royal Teeth” – with only one of them being true. (And let us know which is reply is authentic at some point.)
A) Every one is the band has AMAZING teeth…so it just made sense.
B) One time Josh and Gary got in a huge fight and Josh punched Gary in the face, knocking one of his teeth out. They later started a band and Royal Teeth was born.
C) If you say Royal Teeth fast it sounds like Royalty…and that’s pretty cool.
D) In reality, Royal Teeth means nothing. Make something up and get the rumors going!

[Editor’s note: The correct answer is D.] It was two words from two different band name ideas and we liked the play on words. It is the perfect example that a name can mean anything to anyone. Everyone tells us different definitions of Royal Teeth and we love it. Ha! It really doesn’t have to mean anything. Now, it simply means us and our music.

Royal Teeth scales new heights at yet another venue.

TH: Any special plans for SXSW – playing old favorites, unleashing new songs, catching some particular bands onstage, or sampling signature Austin cuisine?
RT: We plan on bringing as much energy and fun as we can! We have some new songs that were recently recorded that we can’t wait to show off. We are really hoping to catch Fionna Apple, Kimbra, B.o.B, Fun., Right Away Great Captain!, Santigold, Theophilus London, and many others! The food goes without question. :)

We now have footage provided directly by Royal Teeth, granting us an insider’s view of what they unleashed at SXSW – briefly starting from an edgy sideways POV before hitting a more horizontal vision:

And from this cameraman’s perch, you can observe the band pumping up the crowd in one more fine SXSW venue:

Who knows what doors may have opened up for Royal Teeth during the band’s foray into the SXSW music scene? While in Austin, Royal Teeth was selected for a special feature by CNN Music. Enjoy that performance by clicking here.

Congratulations once more to Royal Teeth. We applaud your drive and look forward to your upcoming exploits onstage, in studio and beyond!