Check out this morning’s musical guests: Fox Royale!
Fox Royale is releasing new music!
Before they were in a rock band, the respective members of the Joplin, Missouri-based Fox Royale were moving parts in a different kind of musical machine: A traveling orchestra. “the orchestra was pretty strait-laced, not very cool,” laughs primary lyricist and guitarist Nathan Hurley.
Hurley met Davis Drake (a classically trained bassist) And drummer Evan Todd through the orchestra while in high school. The three hit it off immediately, and Hurley invited them to jam at his parents’ house. The basement quickly became the official band practice location and HQ, which also happened to be the shared home of Nathan’s younger brother, Caleb.
After hanging around the guys at practice and selling merch at their shows, Caleb was basically a permanent fixture, and was asked to join the band on keys and vocals.
With the lineup solidified, the guys played one of their first shows at a local pizza parlor. When they sound-checked their tongue-in-cheek cover of the everly brothers’ “???”, a pleased diner gave them a $40 tip. The band had a tank full of gas and bellies full of pizza that night, but their main inspiration would come shortly after while on vacation in nyc, when they attended a needtobreathe (who, along with The Killers, Nathan says is “collectively probably the favorite band of our whole band”) Concert.
It was then that it occurred to them that their purpose as musicians could be more than just jamming and making random tips.
“We were like, ‘okay so playing shows can be really cool, too,’” Nathan says. “Not really as a way to make money, but as a vehicle to create an experience for people you don’t know at all. Everyone who was at that concert that night were total strangers, but we felt super connected to them. This is more than just a way to make $40 at a pizza joint in Joplin.”
It was after that when the band began touring extensively for three years. “We had a lot of vans break down and a lot of financial burdens that sucked. Playing a show with the wrecks, then having them play us for war road, really was our first break.”
Hard work, intentionality and consistency are qualities that the band is proud of. Nathan says, “in the early days, we signed a contract with each other, the four of us, that basically said, ‘I will commit to this through May of 2020, before giving up,’” then adds with a laugh, “I guess it’s time to renew the contract.”
Fox Royale make anthemic, jangly indie-rock that sparkles with the same energy as acts like cold war kids, cage the elephant and vampire weekend. Their debut single, “don’t call me when you’re lonely,” is about a seemingly isolating phenomenon: Loneliness, particularly the kind that affects traveling musicians (or traveling workers of any kind) And their partners. So why does the song sound so big, so full? Because Fox Yoyale have the ability to make music about things like emotional insecurities, breakups and family breakdowns sound almost joyful.
“We’re trying to tackle [millennial anxieties] In such a way that doesn’t sound naive, which is hard because we’re as young as the people listening,” Nathan says. “it’s bright sounding. A lot of it sounds happy. It’s not just one line that’s super catchy. We want every line to get stuck in your head.”
Similarly, Fox Yoyale are painting a brightly colored picture with every song they write. Maybe they don’t have it all figured out, but they’ll continue to be consistent. Sticking to their guns—and their goals—is a big priority for the band.
Most importantly, they’re sticking to each other.