Royal Tusk break through with new EP “Mountain”
Music is a never-ending evolution of art, and the road to success is littered with many talented bands. Some fade into obscurity, others change into something different. Edmonton pop-rockers, Royal Tusk, are a result of that change.
After a dozen years, three studio albums and two Juno nominations, Edmonton rockers Ten Second Epic decided to wind down. However, guitarist/singer Daniel Carriere and bassist Sandy MacKinnon weren’t ready to stop rocking yet.
They joined forces with keyboardist Motorbike James, guitarist J. Eygenraam and drummer Kurtis Schultz, to create Royal Tusk.
The band’s name may sound arbitrary, but it has an interesting backstory.
“We had a big long name before, it didn’t fit on posters. It was cumbersome,” said Carriere. “I was thinking about when I was a kid at the Royal Alberta Museum, they had the elephants. And, I mean tusks are bad-ass.”
From such a name, you would expect music of equal calibre, and the band’s not in the let down business.
With their new EP Mountain released on June 10, and the views on their video for the first single “Shadow of Love,” increasing every day, the boys seem ready to take the scene by storm.It is a mix of catchy music, and complex lyrics. All at once raw and strangely uplifting-part rock, part pop, all awesome.
Carriere describes Royal Tusk’s process of making music as purely organic this time around, in comparison to past bands and projects.
“I’m not so heavy headed about it. I don’t really think about the lyrics much when I’m writing it. I just write the song, listen back, and that’s when I understand what the song’s about. One can’t try to think you just have to do.”
The band recently finished their whirlwind performances during NXNE in Toronto. Carriere was humble about the experience.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a chance to see a lot of bands…play a few different venues. You get to play with such a wide array of bands, and still party too.”
Along with actually performing, Carriere was able to experience an interesting moment in Canadian pop music.
“There were a couple of guys from Odd, Sloan, and the lead singer from Barenaked Ladies. They started doing a cover of Hey Jude. Like, the centre of Canadian pop/rock. It was actually a trip to share the stage with them.”
However, it’s not all sunshines and rainbows for him in today’s industry. Carriere is a little less enthused when he talks about the changes the music scene has undergone.
“You see trends come and go. Bands change from one sound to another. They kind of play the pop game and cater to radio. It’s a challenge to stay genuine.”
He maintains a simple philosophy when it comes to staying that way.
“You have to write music you like to play, and listen to. I just think it is what it is. Technology is changing and we have to adapt. That’s where live shows come in. It’s a chance to make more of a connection with the audience. Even more so now, in the sense that an album had a lot more value (10 years ago). You had to work more for it.”
Civilizations rise and fall, and bands shine and fade. If Royal Tusk’s debut is anything to go by then they’ve got nowhere to go but up. And, like the mountains, they’ll be around for a while.