ROYAL BANGS are three electric gents from Knoxville, Tennessee, sentinel of the Smoky Mountains. Home to a prolific but unsung underground music community, it is a city that keeps its secrets, but over the past few years ROYAL BANGS have become a hard secret to keep.
Under ROYAL BANGS and various other guises, frontman Ryan Schaefer, drummer Chris Rusk, and guitarist Sam Stratton have been making music together since their high school days. In 2006, they unleashed their home-recorded and self-released breakthrough album We Breed Champions. The record's potent noise-pop wormed its way into hearts throughout the southeastern US, eventually finding its way to Patrick Carney (The Black Keys), who reissued We Breed Champions on his own Audio Eagle Records in May of 2008.
In the meantime, ROYAL BANGS went on hiatus as Schaefer spent a year in France, soaking up Euro dance music and entitlement culture as inspiration for the early stages of a follow-up. After Schaefer's return to the States, the band used the promotion of their brand-new, two-year old record as an opportunity to refine their live performance. The result was an incessant touring schedule, including stops at Bonnaroo, SXSW, and a series of shows opening for The Black Keys in the fall of 2008.
In February of 2009, on the eve of City Slang's well-received European release of We Breed Champions, ROYAL BANGS traveled to Tangerine Sound Studios in Akron, Ohio to record their long-awaited sophomore album. The resulting Let It Beep, released on Audio Eagle in September 2009, finds the band's sound looking more than ever in two seemingly conflicting directions: an increased emphasis on the electronic -- from spastic, syrup-thick synths to dancy drum programming -- coupled with earnest echoes of fervid 70s rock legends like Springsteen and Thin Lizzy. But the core of their sound, rooted in the indie rock renaissance and Schaefer's hook-heavy arrangements, embraces both tendencies without allowing them to diverge, resulting in an album that might be described as both challenging and accessible if not for the phrase "pure goddamn fun."
With a third album in the works, ROYAL BANGS continue to tour within an easy day's drive of your home.