The Royal Noise Interview About “This Is The Funky Part”


It’s been a long while since a funk band has come along that I’ve never heard of, that completely blows me. Fortunately, the guys from The Royal Noise reached out to HYPE.

After hearing a couple tunes, I was hooked. These guys lay down some of the gnarliest funk jams to ever come out of Philladelphia. Not to mention some of the songs sound almost like unplugged Floozies songs.

Needless to say that once you hear a track off “This Is The Funky Part” that you’ll be hooked.

Here’s my interview with bassist, Rodrigo Pichardo and sax/keyboard master, Mike LaBombard.

Photo by Nashville Farrell
Photo by Nashville Farrell

HYPE (Phil Sunkel): Lets begin by talking about The Royal Noise’s latest musical endeavor, “This Is The Funky Part”. Could you tell me a bit about the recording process and how it all came together?

Mike LaBombard: So a handful of the tunes on the new album were already being played live, or at least experimented with. We actually got snowed-in in North Carolina when those bad storms were happening in the beginning of January and we were in our buddies basement for like two and a half days.

All we did was sit there, drink whiskey and play music. That’s where a few of the other tunes really got hashed out. Later in that tour we ended up in Savannah, we recorded the album there at a place called Doll House Studios. Basically its a studio with an engineer who relocated from Manhattan, Peter Mavrogeorgis, he’s worked with some really big bands, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The National, etc.

He’s got a really beautiful studio in Savannah. We tried to cut it in a Herbie Hancock type vibe, where as we tracked live and we tracked to two-inch tape. we did everything through tapes and never actually turned a computer on, until it was time to put together the actual mix.

So it was a very laid back jazz mentally as far as the recording of the live tracking but then also there were some very modern funk type things, even some more Umphreys type ideas on the fancy stuff. Our mentality was just hit the grooves and do it live. Kind of one and done on a lot of the stuff.

HYPE: Since you guys moved to Philly from Savannah, has it influenced any of the sound on the new record?

Mike: I would say so. Its definitely more of a progressive modern movement with the music while when we were living in Savannah, things were a bit more sloppy and slow with a very old south vibe in that city.

I mean would say that we still had the progressivey fusion side to us then but now we have a more modern twist since we’ve been in Philly and surrounded by more of whats really happening music wise.

Being in Philly, NY is only a couple hours away, so is DC and Baltimore. So a lot of the new stuff is coming through here on more of a regular basis.

Rodrigo Pichard: Yeah, thats definitely one of the vibes we’ve been feeling since we’ve moved to Philly. Something else that I’ve been trying to push onto the band since I came on, is the Hip-hop vibe. Philly is all about R&B and Hip-hop and pretty much the majority of acts our here are heavily into that style of grooves.

I think that just being in Philly, we’re acquiring this distinct sound that just kind-of in the air. I mean, we’re just musicians who go to jam sessions to try and play with as a many musicians as possible, so basically that sound of Philly has blended into our music naturally.

Photo by Nashville Farrell
Photo by Nashville Farrell

HYPE: What would you guys are some of the differences between this album and your last one, “Unbreakble”?

Rodrigo: I would say, this album is more groove orientated. This band has always been about the groove, well I actually wasn’t in the band for the last album. But I would say this album has more of a rocky vibe.

I think we got to know each other pretty well by the time we recorded “This Is The Funky Part” and I think we were all able to really lock in as a band.

Mike: “This Is The Funky Part” was recorded after being on the road for a couple months together. Theres definiteyl no replacement for that alost awkward connection that you have with your bandmates.

After days, weeks and months of spending time together in a van, sleeping on floors and couches, playing show after show. It gets to a point where the musical reactions just sort of happen without thinking.

HYPE: Could tell me about some of the other band members?

Mike: Yeah, our drummer, Aaron Zarrow, is a recent addition. He’s this massive Umphrey’s fan, so when we got him on board, I was stoked. Our old drummer was more of a churchy type of vibe, which in itself is always a really exciting thing.

But Aaron just brought on these really aggressive tunes and this mentality of being able to just open up and ride out a groove and see where it goes.

And then the guitar player on the record is Joe Harvey, he’s always been a bit of a funk-fusion head, from Herbie to New Mastersounds to Soulive. A lot of the disco funk sort of feel comes from him.

Photo by Nashville Farrell
Photo by Nashville Farrell

HYPE: Now that the new album is out, whats on the agenda for you guys for the rest of 2014?

Rodrigo: Well right now we’re doing pretty much everything ourselves. So right now Mike is doing all the booking and him and I have been getting together to round our tours.

Basically what we want to do is hit that festival circuit to try and hit as many fests as possible plus we’re working on new music. When Mike and I get together, we just can’t help it. When we have our instruments in our hands somethings gonna happen and usually we just come up with tunes on the spot. We’ve been writing some really stuff. What we’re gonna do is try and get in the studio in the next month, record this one track, along with a video for it.

Hopefully though on the agenda for this next year will be someone doing the booking for us hahaha, so thats pretty much bare bones what we’re trying to do. I mean we’re basically just excited to be playing music.

For more information and tour dates visit TheRoyalNoise.com

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