Interview with: Nicole Boudreau of The Royalty
Interview by: Samantha Purcell-Musgrave
Victory Records band The Royalty formed in 2005, but they harness the ability to take listeners back to the ‘60s with their throwback sound. The band consists of Nicole Boudreau (Vocals), Jesus Apodaca (Guitar), Will Daughtery (Bass), Daniel Martin Jr. (Keyboard), and Joel Quintana (Drums). Our staff member, Samantha Purcell-Musgrave, was able to have a quick chat with Nicole as the band approached their gig for the night at Pianos in downtown NYC.
Check out the interview below to learn about the band’s newest release, recording under Victory Records, and their interesting jobs prior to the band.
Samantha Purcell-Musgrave: Could you give a little introduction of who you are and what you do in the band?
Nicole Boudreau: My name is Nicole Boudreau and I do the vocals for The Royalty.
SPM: So, I know that the band is from El Paso, Texas. Did the music scene of El Paso help the band in any way?
NB: Well, I think people find it interesting that we are all the way from El Paso. There is not a humongous music scene there like Austin, New York, or Boston. People think it’s interesting that we put as much work into [the band] as we have [with] traveling and really pushing to get our music out there. I think, culturally, people are interested in El Paso because it is right on the border of Mexico.
SPM: The Royalty has managed to bring back an older style of music and have gained a lot of fame with it since the formation in 2005. TR has an independent, self-titled, EP released in 2008. A self-titled LP followed that in 2008 under Intravenous Music Group. After signing to Victory Records in November 2011, TR just released another LP this month on May 8. Was there any difference in recording experience from IMG to recording under Victory Records?
NB: Absolutely. When we recorded the EP and [first] LP on our own we had the distractions of doing it from home. So, we all had jobs. It took us a long time to put out and we kind of funded it ourselves. So, we didn’t have the same kind of resources that we have now that we’re with Victory. With Lovers we were able to go out to California and live there for the month of February. Our sole purpose for being there was to put out the best record that we could. So, to strip away all of those distractions did wonders for our concentration and our focus. It was great!
SPM: It is amazing when you have certain responsibilities how when you truly want to do something it is always that one responsibility pulling you away from it. So, how did the Royalty form? I know that four of the members left their jobs as a TV news anchor, NASA engineer, orchestra teacher, and writing teacher. That is a pretty interesting spectrum!
NB: Well, we formed back in 2005. Some of the members have known each other since as early as middle school and just kind of grew up with the El Paso music scene playing together. Really, this particular line-up came together in college. We went to UTB, except for one member, Dan [Marin] on keys, went to UT Austin. He was back from school by then and working for the news station. So, we just met in college. Between getting our degrees and then eventually getting jobs, we would practice every weekend, try to play as many shows [as we could], and try to tour in times like the summer and spring breaks.
SPM: The band is nothing less than extremely accomplished. When I saw that all of you had regular jobs while juggling the band, I was just like “How!? A NASA engineer!? How!?” [laughs] Just this year in March, TR played at SXSW at not only one, but three showcases! How was that feeling?
NB: Thank you! And we did five shows in four days! [laughs]
SPM: Oh, wow!
NB: Yeah, so we were really busy during that time. Just getting two shows at SXSW is just so clustered. Have you been to SXSW?
SPM: I wish! That is one of my bucket list items, but from pictures and hearing stories I know that a lot of bands attend. Basically, there is music at every little corner and there is a show squished into every crevice possible.
NB: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. We were all pretty worn out by the time we came home. [laughs]
SPM: What was your favorite part at SXSW?
NB: We kind of jumped on the show on the last day that we were there. It was actually an El Paso showcase. There were about twelve acts from El Paso. That was the most fun show. They were all fun, but that one was particularly fun. We saw all the people from back home and there was a brotherly, fun vibe going on.
SPM: I would imagine so! Where did the name The Royalty originate?
NB: I tried out for the band after it was already called The Royalty. So, I’m not the brain behind that one. Our guitar player Jesus just liked it and it is kind of easy to remember. We don’t have a big history with the name and how it came to be. Surprisingly, it wasn’t taken yet. You try to come up with a band name nowadays and pretty much everything under the sun is taken. We just sort of lucked out with it.
SPM: I definitely remembered it. People would ask what band I was interviewing next and I would tell them The Royalty. They said either that’s the cutest name, funniest name, or the most genius name they ever heard of. [laughs]
NB: [laughs] Well, unfortunately sometimes people are like “Oh, you think you are all that” because it is like a pompous name. We were not thinking of that at all! It was just a catchy name.
SPM: Well, I mean it is a catchy name. People can think that it is pompous. You guys do have the right to toot your own horn though. TR’s track record is pretty impressive.
NB: Well, thank you.
SPM: What are the main influences behind the band’s music?
NB: I think mostly our influences pull from a punk rock, rock and roll, and 60’s soul bucket. I mean we listen to everything from hip-hop to alternative to country. Pretty much everything is on our playlist. I think our biggest draw is from the other two genres.
SPM: In respect to the new LP, Lovers, where did the title come from?
NB: We had all of the songs written and recorded. We were still trying to find an album name. I was looking at the songs as whole, we all were, and said the theme in a lot of them are love songs, but I didn’t want it to seem like it was about one person. The songs range from different experiences, like boyfriends I have had, or even that my friends have had and I have heard them talk about them. A lot of artists do break-up records. Even Adele’s last record was about her break-up. I had to differentiate from that idea and think like “This is about more than one person. It is about lovers.”
SPM: What is the inspiration behind the album cover? Is it two graves with one open and one closed?
NB: Yes. When we finally settled with the title of Lovers we were worried because we didn’t want it to come across as like bubble-gum pop with a big heart on the cover. We had told the artist that we worked with at the label that we wanted a dark image that may be a little unsettling, to counter the name Lovers. The two graves lends itself to be interpreted to whatever story line the person is looking at it as. For me, it is sort of how you see older couples. They’ll usually follow each other. It is kind of a motif in love stories, such as Romeo and Juliet, when one part of the relationship passes and the other can’t go on. The graves are like one is gone and the other is about to.
SPM: May 4 was the CD release show in your hometown of El Paso. I would imagine it was great a feeling sharing the LP with some of the band’s closest family, friends, and fans! Were there any memorable moments?
NB: I think, in general, it was the overall vibe of the night that was really special. El Paso is really a modest, humble town and they are really rooting for us. People are so excited that we are getting recognition. I think one of the moments I was saying “You can get our record at any FYE across the country.” They just applauded. It was really cute because they were like “Wow! Across the country!” [laughs] It is a really loving culture back home.
SPM: Now that the LP is released, does the band have any touring plans?
NB: Yeah, we are maneuvering our way through downtown New York.
SPM: I saw that you had a show tonight.
NB: Yeah, we do. We have a show at Pianos. We just pulled up right now, actually. We are on tour right now. We left the week of our album release. We are just trying to push it as much as we can. We are on the East Coast right now. We have done Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, and just different eastern states. We are going to Philadelphia next and then Virginia. Then, we go home for a couple days and go out in Texas. Then, we are off to the West Coast. There really isn’t an end in sight right now.
SPM: You guys are just going and going. Your future is nothing but suitcases right now. Well, I’m done harassing you with my questions [laughs]. This is your chance to bring the interview to a close.
NB: Well, we are so excited to be where we are at right now. We really don’t know what the future is going to hold. At least, on our end, what we can control, we are working as hard as we can and staying as passionate as we can.
Discover your next favorite band from El Paso, TX, now! “Lovers,” is available at: FYE, Best Buy, Hastings or at your favorite independent record store. “Lovers” can also be found on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. Check out the album artwork here and see The Royalty live – click here for dates!