Canadian folk group, The Royal Oui, released their debut full-length album during February of this year (Read our review here: www.geysermusic.com/the-royal-oui/). The duo, composed of Adrienne Pierce and Ari Shrine, make music that is sincere and refreshing, creating a sound that really stands out. While on tour they graciously talked to us about the themes in their album, what touring has been like, and the differences between Canadian and American audiences.
G: How did you two meet?
RO: We met in 2006 at a studio in North Hollywood. Adrienne was there to record drums for her album Faultline with my friend and co-writer Victor Indrizzo. We talked about Canadian bands and hit it off. Two years later we wrote a song and then went on a tour. We have been playing together ever since.
G: How did The Royal Oui get started?
RO: We began writing songs together that we realized were not for either of our solo projects. A few weeks and 11 songs later we realized we had a new project on our hands.
G: What was the inspiration behind the album, The Royal Oui? Does the album have any themes or stories you'd like to elaborate on?
RO: We wrote a lot of the music while living on the East Coast and recorded it in Vancouver.
Some of the recurring themes on the album are extreme weather and nature. These songs are about change but in a positive way and about growing through difficult experiences.
G: What Canadian musicians do you two look to for inspiration?
RO: So many. We love Leonard Cohen, Feist, Bruce Cockburn, Drake, Neil Young are but a few and we are always checking out new Canadian acts.
G: Who is your target audience?
RO: Our music is pretty romantic and sincere. It’s been really great to see such a positive response because it feels like we have been living in ironic times for a while now. People seem to find it refreshing. It’s for people who like harmonies and classic song structure with a psychedelic twist.
G: How has reception of your album been? How did you handle the promotion process?
RO: We’ve been thrilled with the response from reviewers, radio and live audiences. We have been playing pretty much nonstop since October last year when our EP Forecast was released. We have played everywhere from Revelstoke to CMJ in New York and many art galleries, cafes and theaters in between.
G: What has the tour been like? Is there a favourite city you've played in?
RO: The tours have been great. It’s hard to pick a favorite city. We had a couple of great shows in Los Angeles, Portland and Montreal and a great sold out show with Yuna in Vancouver. We can honestly say we have enjoyed every city on this tour.
G: How is the music scene in the USA different from Canada? Are the audiences different?
RO: Canada of course has a much smaller population than the US and also has CBC Music which is kind of a unifying force. It is much easier for music to spread on a National scale in Canada. It can take a lot longer to make a name for yourself in the US due to number of people and all the different markets. That said the drives between populated areas are shorter in the US which can make touring easier.
We have heard people say that Canadians audiences are more reserved and that Americans can be more outgoing but that hasn’t really been our experience.
G: What makes a great audience for you?
RO: When you have a great audience you can tell that they are with you. Usually they have come to see music on purpose. They can be quiet or loud but as long as they are involved we are happy.
G: In regards to your Indiegogo campaign, why did you choose this method of fundraising, and was there a reason why the SPCA was chosen as your charity?
RO: We chose this method to put together funds for our tour because we had each run successful fan funding campaigns in the past and our collective audience are really cool and supportive people. We chose the SPCA because we adopted our dog from a shelter and we love animals a lot. We are kind of obsessed with dogs actually.
G: Where do you want to see The Royal Oui in a year? In 5 years?
RO: We have written a lot of new songs and in a year we hope to have our next record recorded.
In five years we will be traveling around like the Grateful Dead with all the Oui Heads following us. Just kidding! We are really not sure where we will be but we will definitely be making new music.
G: Are there any bands you'd like to give a shout-out to?
RO: We played with so many great bands on tour this year. Kitten Grenade in San Francisco is doing something really unique. Jeremy Messersmith and band from Minneapolis are really talented and fun. Malaysian singer Tuna has a great voice. Big Haunt from Portland are a great new band. One real highlight was opening for Kenneth Stringfellow in Montreal. He is kind of a genius.
G: Last, what makes your town's music scene, Vancouver, special?
RO: There is a strong musical community in Vancouver. Bands and artists are very supportive of each other. There is also a lot of support from organizations like Music BC, radio stations like The Peak, Shore FM and of course CBC as well as shows like Radio Bandcouver on Co-op Radio , Folk Oasis on CiTR. We also really appreciate Every Day Music, Play It Forward and so many more groups and individuals. There have been some challenges over the years due to the loss of venues etc. and that may be why everyone has banded (pardon the pun) together.