If all music tells a story, then Royal Teeth’s joyous, inspired songs spin an exuberant tale of possibility, each note conveying the youthful excitement of venturing out into the great wide world. The songs on the band’s debut album, Glow, were penned around the idea of exploration and spirited adventures into the unknown, and its 12 tracks lay out a kaleidoscopic narrative of discovery.
The group came together in 2010 with Gary, Josh W, Poe, Josh H and Stevie, friends from all across Louisiana who’d gravitated to one another during their early days playing out in New Orleans. It was with the discovery of Nora, the last piece of the puzzle, that the band began to truly hone in on what would become their sound. The aim was to have fun, with no master plan for the music at the outset. As they began to experiment, it became clear that the synthesizers they’d been playing around with elevated their effusive indie pop songs and best conveyed the buoyance and levity of being young and anxious for the world to open up for you.
“The album is really about finding yourself,” said Nora who, as the visual artist in the group, conveys that cheerful enthusiasm both through the music and the band’s striking artwork and graphics.
“We started playing more folk-driven stuff,” Gary says. “But once we added the electronic sounds, it changed everything. The music evolved from there and as it did, our vision for the songs became clear.”
The group’s 5-song debut, Act Naturally, was recorded in Charleston, S.C. in 2011 and was their first foray into the studio. EP in hand, the band set out to tour outside Louisiana, eventually going all-in, quitting their jobs in May of 2012 and hitting the road. These shows, which included CMJ and SXSW and tours with bands as diverse as Fitz and the Tantrums, 2 Skinnee J’s and Gold Fields, had a tremendous impact in forming the debut album, Glow.
“We take a lot of pride in our live show,” Gary says. “We put everything into it and that’s where we make the strongest connections with people. I think when it came to making the record, knew we wanted it to be more raw and capture that live energy. We had been on the road, testing out these new songs, figuring out what’s working and what’s not working. When you’re trying out new songs every night for people that don’t know you it plays a big role in shaping the band’s vision and our confidence in what makes our music special. That played a huge factor into what we songs we knew we had to put on the record.
The songs on the album, including the single “Wild,” were penned over a two year span, some emerging in a burst of activity and inspiration just before the band headed into the studio in Toronto with producer Gavin Brown in February 2013. Nearly 30 song ideas were eventually culled down to an album’s worth of material, and the studio time was focused and quick, concluding in only a few weeks. The idea was to harness the band’s positive energy into the recordings, ensuring that the vigor the musicians radiate onstage was showcased on the tracks.
“Once we were in the studio, it was a real common energy driving what we wanted,” Gary says. “It really does show in the music. Whether the song’s a little slower or a little darker, I think there’s a common thread in all of them – capturing a moment. I think the music really represents that.”
The resulting album is a shimmering collection of indie pop numbers that revel in that idea of being young and wild. The songs vary in tone and aesthetic, but it all ties back to that overarching theme.
“Vagabonds,” is a soaring, hook-laden tale of escapism, while the prancing “Hold Me” captures that moment before the end of the world. “Wild,” the band’s current single, contrasts with “We Can Glow,” a moody anthem revealing the flipside of the band’s live-in-the-now sensibility.
Royal Teeth, who have been featured on Last Call with Carson Daly and seen several songs placed in various TV spots, are really only embarking on their adventure now, with the release of this debut album. Joining forces with the team at Dangerbird Records has enabled them to more fully realize their vision of touring extensively and broadening their own inspired journey. The first chapters of that story are heard in the music, a soundtrack for exploration and discovery, of bursting into a world teeming with possibilities.
“We’ve learned so much from being on the road,” Gary says. “And I think there’s so much more to learn. We want to deliver every night, no matter what. We’re really just excited for the album to finally come out. We’re very excited to offer more than five songs to all of our fans and see where we can go from here.”