The Royalties
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The Royalties

Bergen, Hordaland, Norway

Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




As I watched Tommy Haltbakk and
his band The Royalties play Polaris,
one of the six venues named after
submarines inside Dora, I couldn’t
believe I got shivers down my
spine, or the fact that no one had
attempted this sort of blend before.
Power pop with a horn section!
Like Eric Carmen’s Raspberries
or The Rubinoos with a dash of
Dexy’s Midnight Runners or early
Chicago! What could be sunnier,
hookier, happier? Playing only their
20th gig, the Bergen-based five-
piece – comprising Haltbakk (guitar,
vocals, songwriter), Alf Egil Aukan
(bass), Bjorn Kare Rambjor (drums),
Bjorn Mattis Eng (trumpet) and Tor
Erik Hellesen (trombone) – brought a
smile to everyone’s lips. Shipwreck
At Bay, the lead-off track on their
eponymous debut is already all over
Norwegian radio, but the gorgeous
My House Is Not A Home and the
bossa-nova tinged Lady O’The Silver
Wheel are even stronger tracks and
potential singles. With British radio
lapping up seventies revivalists The
Feeling and Mika, The Royalties
already sound like a safe bet and a
hit act in the making.

Pierre Perrone
15.02.2007 - Record Of The Day


There's something about the music that comes out of Scandinavia, maybe living in a place so beautiful gets in the blood and makes lovely pop songs. Or maybe just knowing your part of the world delivered ABBA and Roxette is enough to make you want to keep the grand, breezy tradition alive. Norwegian's The Royalties follow in those sparkling footsteps - their debut was nominated for "best pop album" in 07 and the follow up The Lost Royalties is full of pop gems like the 2 we're offering today. Bringing their sunshine filled songs to the States for the first time on this CMJ trip, go see the trio at Fontana's on Friday, Spike Hill on Saturday, or if you're a NYC resident, wait til the craziness passes and go see them on the 30th at Public Assembly. -

"The Royalties @ Spike Hill"

The Royalties @ Spike Hill

The Royalties are a great little band, featuring drums, keys, and bass. The Norwegian trio brings jazz into the world of indie-rock and baroque pop like few even try. While one may argue that some songs fully follow rock rhythms, the majority offer a nice blend of styles. However, the techniques imposed are inseparable. For example, the drummer may be bouncing a beat on the tight snare drum and high hat in unison with the keyboardist, until the singer, Tommy Haltbakk, tails off his tenor vocals and allows the keyboardist to jam off in a free form solo, scaling the avenues of Brooklyn before bringing you back to reality.

Apparently, the Royalties just went through a major lineup change, losing three members (Alf Egil Ankan: bass/saxophone/backing vocals, Tor Erik Hellesen: trombone, Bjorn Mattis Eng: trumpet) and adding one (Mari Persen: keys/vocals). I’ve been digging the full-length album, but adding female vocals and keys definitely brought a new layer to the sound that works very well. At the show, Persen also used a sampler on most songs to bring out some fairly complex beats, another nice new element. One would think that cutting down from a five-piece to a three-piece would decrease the texture components of a band, but in this case, I think it actually emphasizes the strengths.

Lead vocalist Haltbakk has a voice with great range and he has ample opportunity to show it off, hitting low and high notes throughout the live set. Drummer Bjorn Kare Rambjor does more than keep a beat. His drum set is pulled up alongside the other two members of the band, unique placement for a show, but those in attendance can get lost watching him play. While Persen may not have as fine of a voice as Haltbakk, she sounds fantastic in harmonies and gives the songs extra kick when she is on her own. However, Persen shines on the keys, playing the Royalties’ catchy pop tunes straight into beautiful jazz melodies, a transition that works and should appeal to many types of people who take the opportunity to catch them live. -


"The Royalties" (2007)
"The Lost Royalties" (2008)
"The New Royalties" (2009)



The Royalties, a smooth bunch of upbeat pop-rockers from Bergen, Norway, no less. Mari Persen, Tommy Haltbakk, Rune Solberg and Bjørn Kåre Rambjør create a mix between 1950’s lounge music, classics like the Beach Boys, and expansive psych-pop like the flaming lips. The fun and dynamic appeal of The Royalties’ songs as well as the energetic and beat driven music ties so well to the colorful nature of the band itself. The result is something intensely melodic and complex, without appearing to convoluted. The Royalties originally formed as a punk group during the band’s high school years in Kristiansund, but consequently broke up due to poor gigging and the mantra ”This just ain’t gonna happen.” It took the founding members several years to reform and create the band now known as The Royalties. When they did get the project off the ground, with producer HP Gundersen on board, the debut self-titled album was critically acclaimed. It was even nominated for a Norwegian Grammy for Best Pop Album in 2007. The follow-up titled ”The New Royalties” was self-released in 2008, and were also critically acclaimed. With history repeating itself, the band now reformed with Mari Persen on keyboard and Bergen’s finest bass player Rune Solberg. The Royalties and are releasing their third album ”The New Royalties” on their very own cool label Music For Records October 26th 2009.