Louisiana’s latest rock export, Royal Teeth, set to make waves

(Photo courtesy of Royal Teeth) (Photo courtesy of Royal Teeth)

Fresh-faced doesn’t even begin to cover it for Royal Teeth. The Louisiana-based indie-pop band is gaining attention quickly with a new single, a recently completed album and an opening slot for A Silent Film on its spring tour, but Royal Teeth vocalist Gary Larsen isn’t taking anything for granted.

“If you had asked me a year ago where I thought we’d be now, I never thought we’d be in this position,” he said in a phone interview.

The interview came just hours after the band crossed back over the U.S. border from Canada, where it had been putting the final touches on its first full-length LP with Toronto-based producer Gavin Brown.

Brown has worked with acts like Boys Like Girls, Hoobastank and Barenaked Ladies.

Larsen said that Royal Teeth went into the studio with six to eight songs already written. Brown helped the band work these songs into workable tracks, a fact that Larsen said was helped by the band’s intensive work ethic.

Each of the six band members had a hand in the songwriting process. Larsen said he often would put together a simple melody and some lyrics together on the guitar, and the rest of the group would fill in and round out the ideas until they were happy with the final product.

“We wanted (the album) to have the same energy and feeling as our live show,” Larsen said.

Royal Teeth’s first single, “Wild,” is listeners’ first taste of the band’s particular brand of infectious synth-rock. It’s rhythmic and fast-paced, reminiscent of groups like Atlas Genius and WALK THE MOON.

“(‘Wild’) was one of the first times we all really connected to a song,” Larsen said. “It was one of the first times we all really wrote a song together. It’s always been an important song.”

Royal Teeth will share “Wild” and the rest of their music with audiences at SXSW and Festival International de Louisiane, in Austin and Lafayette respectively, later this spring.

“Last year was our first year playing SXSW,” Larsen said. “It was fantastic. They were incredible shows, and we’re excited to do it again.”

But it’s not all work and no play for Royal Teeth. In keeping with the dance-pop elements in its music, it brings confetti canons to shoot into the audience during its shows. During a concert that occurred on bass player Joshua Wells’s birthday, his bandmates turned the canons on him.

The result? A swollen lip and a black eye.

“We didn’t realize that those things have some serious power,” Larsen said. But, despite Wells’s experience, this didn’t stop the band from turning the canon on Larsen himself, who was shot in the back of his head on his own birthday.

“So now we say, ‘Don’t ever hang out with us on your birthday, because we’re gonna shoot you with a confetti canon,'” Larsen quipped.

In general though, Larsen said the band’s tour experiences were relatively devoid of craziness.

“Our manager makes fun of us for being too boring,” he said, describing the members of Royal Teeth as being focused and consistently working hard.

Altogether, Larsen made it clear that Royal Teeth are single-minded about achieving its goals. It wants to keep playing and it’ll work to make it happen, he said.

Royal Teeth will head to Arizona during their spring tour. It will be opening for A Silent Film at Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix on March 6.

“All I ask is that we’re still moving forward a year from now,” Larsen said.


Reach the reporter at svhabib@asu.edu.

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