The Royal Sun
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The Royal Sun

Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Music Notes: The Royal Sun"

Music Notes: The Royal Sun
Jon Kirby, Special to Go Triad
December 7, 2006

Nobody influences The Royal Sun. The band nods to nothing.

The Royal Sun's music doesn't sound like a mix of anything and anything else. It's like hearing Frank Zappa play chopsticks on the giant keyboard from the movie "Big" inside of a single electron -- a pixelated walk on a digital beach while strumming an acoustic guitar.

However, don't call this music unclassifiable. This is rock. Act like you know.

This summer, The Royal Sun hit the ground running at Winston-Salem's Werehouse, leaving witnesses in disbelief of the mere fact that it was the band's debut performance.

Four regular-looking guys nobody had ever seen, in regular-looking clothes, blowing everybody's mind in unison. And they were just that: four regular guys who care a lot about musical progress, without being progressive per se.

The band members — Nick Wagner (vocals and guitar), Andy Ross (keys and trumpet), Patrick Jones (bass and keys) and Max Wood (drums and vocals) — are all pretty humble fellows who tell funny jokes and have cool girlfriends. They rehearse three days a week in a subterranean bunker near one of Greensboro's many adult bookstores. Their practice space is a fluorescent-lit graveyard of musical tools from the past half-century immersed in a sea of quarter-inch cables. It's here that the foursome charters its every musical move.

Each member of the quartet is college educated in making the right sonic decisions. Not to give you the impression that a Royal Sun show is like sitting through math class, but shouldn't you leave your aural education to the specialists? Would you let Jermaine Dupri critique your golf swing? Let Fergie rotate your tires? Better to leave the rocking to the professionals.

Despite the complexity of the band's music, a Royal Sun mix tape would undoubtedly have a lot of Prince and Hall & Oates on it. For the band, whether composing an opus or whistling a ditty, music is all about feeling.

"There's nothing better than playing in a great venue where the sound is awesome and the people are enjoying it," Wagner says. "It's the best feeling in the world because it means you have something in common with everybody in that room."

The Royal Sun recently released a self-produced EP: a vinyl-minded revue, whose songs range from fireside singalongs to arena rock anthems in just 20 minutes. Behind the scenes, the band incurs some knockdown drag outs to ensure that only the finest compositions reach your ears. Half of the group work at Virtuoso Works, a music software company in downtown Greensboro. The band often employs the help of the computer to facilitate song writing.

Wood explains why this approach pushes them to compose beyond their abilities and grow as musicians.

"Whenever you're sitting away from your instrument, even if you're not at a computer, even if you're just singing, jotting down ideas, you're not limiting yourself to what you can currently do on your instrument."

Whether composing on a computer, piano or abacus, at the end of the day the group knows there are truly no wrong answers and only 12 notes one can play. The craft is in how you stack them. - Go Triad (Greensboro, NC)

"Sound Advice: The Royal Sun"

December 14, 2006

The Royal Sun
Independent release

The Royal Sun began to coalesce as a group in late 2005, but it wasn't until this past summer that the Greensboro band really began illuminating the local music scene. Since then, they've been making some noise with appearances around the Triad including its most recent gig at WUAG's (103.1 FM) annual "Style and Stereo" at The Flying Anvil. And if their just released self-titled EP is any indication of things to come, we're in for some satisfying musical surprises.

The opening two tracks, "Temples" and "Factions," are pleasant enough, strolling down paths of light, jazzy psych-rock and acoustic folk: adequate but mostly unmemorable. But with "Night Captain," the album's third song, there's a palpable change in dynamics as arrangements become more complex. A Casio melody noodles about awkwardly before the bass drops the beat and drums skitter into place. The vocals burst in with a fuzzy wail that's a more apathetic drone: "Here we go!" It's the sort of genre jumping lounge fuzz hybrid that's hard to classify but easy to listen to.

"An Appraisal" flirts with jazzy euro-pop for three minutes before receding into Vangelis inspired synth drones. The melody creeps back in on waves of gently strummed classical guitar only to disappear a minute later on a wave of electronic bloops and cymbal buzz.

The EP's final track, which is just under three minutes, manages to be both the shortest and most engaging song here. It's pure up-tempo magic as a trumpet vies for space with spacey synth lines as a country gallop of guitar darts in and out. All the while the drums ape a breakbeat loop that dares you not to meet the beat halfway to the dance floor. It's fun indie-pop with a blithe disregard for genre.

If this sounds intriguing, The Royal Sun will be shining this Saturday at TwoArtChicks in downtown Greensboro. Let's hope there's more where this came from. - Go Triad (Greensboro, NC)


The Royal Sun - self-titled EP '06


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Royal Sun gathered its members in sporadic recording sessions in late 2005. Once the recording for their first, self-titled EP was complete, the Greensboro, NC based four-piece took on the task of reinterpreting their adventurous music for live shows. This approach instantly gave the band a unique group sound and has shaped their writing and performance ever since. All members being accomplished performers of a wide variety of music, The Royal Sun produces an eclectic mix of smart, modern indie rock which also noticeably nods to their backgrounds in jazz, electronic, and royal folk music.