14. The Royalty 5Q
This is the third and highest entry from my special Neon DesertEl Paso Week coverage. The summary post for all the Neon Desert content took the Number 17 spot and BB Gun Johnny’s pop quiz tied at Number 28 with Feedback’s LOTTO Interview.
El Paso is my hometown and I live in Austin, so I really did try to push this content. So, I’m happy to see that some of the Neon Desert El Paso Week coverage has made the countdown. Seems like the Royalty is the band with the strongest following or at the least the greatest social network presence. Either way, they make a fine showing.
29. Girl in a Coma 5Q
The Year 3 29 spot is taken by San Anto’s own, Girl in a Coma. I did a series of interviews for the inaugural Neon Desert Music Festival out of El Paso, my hometown, during what I called El Paso Week. The festival went down on Saturday, April 30, 2011, and this interview went live on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.
Since I’m from there, I wanted to do my own part to represent for this festival. I was really excited that someone was doing this and that it was something that hadn’t been done there before.
I also like the idea of bridging the musical gap between Austin and El Paso. The founders of the festival are from El Paso and based in Austin, like myself. I only wish I could have featured more El Paso Artists through the years.
Though I feature artists from around the country (and sometimes the world), I do highlight when they are regional. I usually include it at the end of the title of the post with a hyphen and the name of the city they are from and/or based in. In the case of an event, I call them a so-and-so event Artist. So, Girl in a Coma were a Neon Desert Artist.
The Questions for feature is a nice alternative to the standardized pop quiz feature as it allows me to tailor my questions to the artist. I also left it open-ended in regard to the number of questions that can be included. There’s no mention of number in the title of this particular feature for that reason. Usually I work with multiples of 5 with no more than 20 questions. Sometimes I break an interview into 2 to 3 parts. I could do a 2-part 20Q interview with 10 questions in each post.
Editor’s Note: This interview concludes Neon Desert El Paso Week at THE REAL popolio. Scheduled to post yesterday, there was a delay.
The Royalty are Nicole Smith, Jesus Apodaca, Will Daughtery (who’s also in The Lusitania, if I’m not mistaken; also featured Neon Desert Artists here at THE REAL popolio), Daniel Marin, and Shane Robles. Nicole Smith is repping TR for the purposes of this interview. They are one of the 29+ bands playing one of four stages at the inaugural Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso on Saturday, April 30, 2011.
I was just excited to hear that an El Paso band had music used on MTV and Spike TV (see Question 3). But, with a name like that (see Question 1), you better have some things going on. I kid, I kid. Listening to the song below and a few other TR tracks, they have a very intriguing sound. Very ‘50s and ‘60s, to me. Reminiscent of the mod scene and the film To Sir, With Love.
Listen to The Royalty’s “All Alone” available at BandCamp.
Click the first pic to go to The Royalty’s official site and second, at the end of the interview, to get to their Facebook Page.
Interesting Fact: The Royalty has a strange obsession with dogs. They call each other “dogger” and partake in absurd behaviors while on tour in reference to dogs. For instance, Nicole Smith barks when she sees a coffee shop and she admits it makes no sense.
1. I’m asking almost everyone about their band names. The Royalty is a pretty confident name. Tell me about how you came to it. Well, to be honest, I tried out for the band after they had established the name already. Story goes the boys just liked the ring of it. Not exciting, I know. I guess some people find it to be a rather pretentious name, but it wasn’t meant to be. No delusions of grandeur over here, trust me. Ha.
2. How would you describe the Royalty sound? This question is always hard. Our range of influences is pretty wide and if I’m forced to describe the outcome, I’d say we shoot for a good indie pop sound. Not pop in the way most of the country sees it, but sort of a counterculture pop sound.
3. I don’t normally hear of El Paso bands getting songs on MTV and Spike TV. So, congrats on that! How did that all come together? Thanks! To make a long story short, we were lucky to attract the attention of our manager, Roger Gisbourne, while on a west coast tour last summer. Since Roger lives in LA, he has been able to hook us up with contacts that, otherwise, would never have happened.
4. Do you feel a responsibility to be a host band for the non-El Paso acts participating in Neon Desert? What will you do to welcome the non-El Paso folks? There tends to be a stigma attached to “just” being one of the “local” bands, but sure, host band sounds nice. I think El Paso has such a welcoming culture and I’m sure the visiting bands are going to sense that. The fusion is super exciting.
5. Having played a festival like SXSW in Austin, do you have certain expectations for a festival like this one in El Paso? Any thoughts on it being the inaugural one and your participation as one of the first bands ever to play it in relation that — SXSW vs. Neon Desert? SXSW is amazing, but the massive crowds are a little overwhelming at times. Starting fresh with Neon Desert leaves every possibility open. The Royalty loves El Paso and so we are so stoked that we can be a part Neon Desert Year One. I’m hoping it develops the magnitude of other music festivals (SX, Bonnaroo, Coachella, etc.) because it would be so beneficial to our town and music scene.
The Lusitania is brothers, Michael and Blake Duncan, Charles Berry, Adi Kanlick, and Will Daugherty. Adi Kanlick is repping The Lusitania for the purposes of this interview. They are one of the 29+ bands playing one of four stages at the inaugural Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso on Saturday, April 30, 2011.
The Lusitania is the first band of our El Paso Week of Neon Desert interviews that is actually based in EP. Five strong, I’d say they’re holding things down on the border with their singular brand of rock & roll.
Listen to “Your Existential Hero” from The Lusitania’s debut release, Rain and Rivers, available at Tembloroso Creative Lab.
Click the first pic to go to The Lusitania’s Facebook Page and second, at the end of the interview, to get to their MySpace Page.
Interesting Fact: If you get an out-of-town The Lusitania show early, you’ll most likely catch them playing Frisbee in the parking lot. According to the band, no tour van is complete without an orange Frisbee.
1. I asked another Neon Desert Artist what their name meant and I have to ask you the same thing. Where did The Lusitania come from? Mike said he always wanted to name the band after a shipwreck, so The Lusitania was the name that came to mind. A few years ago he said that some people may think that naming the band The Lusitania would mean that our career would sink, but he said he saw it as a catalyst for war.
2. How would you describe the sound of the El Paso music scene? The music scene in El Paso has become much more diverse in the past few years. The emo music scene was more predominant several years ago, like in the early 2000s, but it has certainly matured from that. There is a lot of variety within the scene now with post punk bands, experimental/psychedelic, singer-songwriters, and rock and roll acts like us.
3. Where does The Lusitania fit within that? I think all the local bands within El Paso fit into their own niche, including us. One of the great parts about having a diverse music scene is that you get variety when you go to shows. So, we’re definitely comfortable with our place in the scene because we’re part of this diverse group of musicians. I don’t think we’d have it any other way.
4. Since you’re from El Paso, do you feel pressure to rock harder than other Neon Desert Artists that aren’t? Any healthy competition with the ones that are? We are really excited to be part of the Neon Desert Music Festival and to be able to share the stage with all these different acts. We definitely don’t feel like there is any competition with any of the other bands. The point of the festival is to be able to see all kinds of different bands and listen to music you may have not been exposed to before.
I think that many people who have seen us live would agree that we give it everything we’ve got when we’re on stage, whether it’s to five people or to a completely packed room. We’re going to bring that same energy with us on the day of the festival.
5. How did you get hooked up with Neon Desert and what do you feel this means for El Paso? We were approached by the organizers of the festival to play several months ago. Considering this is the first real music festival for El Paso, it’s very flattering that they came to us and asked us be a part of it. As a musician and as a resident of El Paso, I think this is a huge step in the right direction. El Paso has always had a very lively music scene and this is only going to bring more attention to it.
The organizers of the festival have already done a really great job in booking some terrific bands and I think there’s nowhere to go but up. Hopefully, this music festival will get to the point where it could be in competition with ACL, Coachella, and Lollapalooza. We are definitely looking forward to the festival, seeing how it progresses in the future, and we hope that they’ll keep inviting us back.
Girl in a Coma is Jenn Alva, Phanie Diaz, and Nina Diaz. Phanie is repping GiaC for the purposes of this interview. They are one of the 29+ bands playing one of four stages at the inaugural Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso on Saturday, April 30, 2011.
For those who don’t know, GiaC is a San Anto indie punk band that’s been making a lot of noise the last few years. Not only in Texas, but beyond its borders. So, if you don’t know, now you know. It’s cool that Neon Desert is getting representation from other Texas cities and not only showcasing El Paso and Austin artists. GiaC will, no doubt, represent San Anto very well.
Watch GiaC perform their cover of Selena’s “Si Una Vez” from their latest release, Adventures in Coverland, available at Amazon.com.
Click the first pic to go to Girl in a Coma’s official site and second, at the end of the interview, to get to their Facebook Page.
Interesting Fact: As you’ll read in Question 2, Girl in a Coma is signed to Joan Jett’s label, Blackheart Records. That’s not the only heavy hitter they’re associated with. ATX’s own, Robert Rodriguez, directed their music video for “As The World Turns.”
1. For those who don’t know Girl in a Coma, yet, what should they know about you? We are three Latinas from San Antonio, TX. We’ve been together for 10 years. We love all kinds of music and we love playing live.
2. You’re on Joan Jett’s label, Blackheart Records, and there was a recent film about the band she started with, The Runaways. If you were to get to a point in your careers where a film would be made about Girl in a Coma, who would you want to play each of you and why?
The only reason I say the above for Jenn and I is because we’ve been told that’s who we resemble. So, why not?
3. Why did you decide to play the inaugural Neon Desert Music Festival? It’s pretty cool that El Paso is throwing this kind of a fest. Austin has all kinds of things going on and, of course, there is Coachella. I think it’s about time Texas had something different to offer. There are also some good and diverse bands for the first year!
4. Is it taking a risk to play a new festival like or is it an automatic success because you will always go down in history as one of the bands that helped kick it off? I think it’s definitely a positive thing! Just the idea behind it is great and if it takes off or not, it’s cool to be a part of a great idea.
5. After this festival, what’s next for Girl in a Coma that your fans should keep an eye out for? We have a new record that is due out in fall and then lots and lots of touring!!