By Pat Gunther
The atypical New Orleans collective Royal Teeth are no strangers to the common perceptions about what music from the Big Easy is supposed to sound like.
“I definitely understand that our music, doesn’t scream Louisiana at first,” vocalist and front man Gary Larsen said, “But I think in its own way the energy and the vibe of Louisiana, that I don’t think exists in other places, is apparent in our stuff.”
After recording their first and long-awaited full length LP, Glow, in August, the six-piece rock outfit has exploded in popularity. The youthful earnestness and NOLA exuberance that they’ve captured in the studio is something to take note of for the LP rookies. “Well when we record we didn’t really know what to expect, so we went in very open and excited and we knew that it’s different and it feels like the big leagues.” Larsen stated. “There’s some pressure but you just have to find a way to open up and make it seem very honest. You wanna have fun and capture the moments that make things special on a recording.”
It’s not only Royal Teeth’s staggering attention to detail, though, that makes them such a noteworthy up-and-comer.
“We’re a very focused group,” Larsen said. “From the beginning it’s been very do-it-yourself. We signed to an indie label and figured we’d take it from the ground up to hopefully see the band grow and have some longevity.”
The DIY attitude of Royal Teeth, coupled with their steadfast refusal to give up, is what has been paying dividends since their inception.
“I didn’t wanna be back working at the coffee shop, and I think we’ve done a good job of planning and doing it the right way,” Larsen stated. “As long as we continue to do that and be passionate and connect with fans I think we’ll all be happy.”
Though they lack the signature jazzy brass NOLA is known for, Royal Teeth encompasses the wild ride that attracts millions to the city each year. Their up-beat pop energy coupled with legitimate and relatable lyrics blends a unique product that people are finally to recognize in the scheme of today’s indie rock groups. However, Royal Teeth realizes what it takes to be an exhilarating and enthralling live act that escapes many musicians around today.
“You wanna find your own way to make [a show] unique and different every time,” Larsen revealed, “You wanna try to find your way to make it special and involve the audience and feed off of what they give you.”
Larsen’s ability to feed off of and into a crowd is precisely what makes him such an engaging front man for a band that wowed the American Idol audience back in November. Among other things, though, is Nora Patterson’s incredible vocal contribution over the group’s rich and wild instrumentation. Royal Teeth, whose backbone lies within the shredding guitar licks of Steve Billeaud, the rhythmic and pulsating bass lines of Joshua Wells, driving and crisp drum work of Josh Hefner or the scintillating tickle of the keys by Andrew Poe any given night, perfectly encapsulates the group’s admiration and chemistry with one another.
When Royal Teeth takes the Varsity Stage for yet another time, fans can bank on the fact that they will not only enjoy watching, but also have a very heavy hand in the success of the show themselves.
“They can expect a lot of energy and we’re gonna give 100% every night. We just hope that the crowd can feel it and we keep the energy up, cause we are very interactive,” Larsen declared. “Don’t go if you don’t plan on singing or dancing, ‘cause we won’t have it.”