Indie Brit-pop trio The Royal Buzz formed more than five years ago, but in many ways is only recently beginning in earnest. Despite a couple of EPs to its credit and international airplay, the band has occasionally suffered periods of inactivity. However, now The Royal Buzz is turning up with increasing frequency at recognized venues, and with a new release scheduled for the end of this month, look for the act to emerge as a significant player on the Knoxville scene in the coming year.
Vocalist/guitarist Andrew Sexton began fleshing out what would become The Royal Buzz catalog in early 2007. Joined only by his brother Eric Leming on bass, the duo would not begin playing small venues and house shows until the addition of its first drummer more than a year later. In 2011 Simon Gillis (formerly of Camillo the Ocean) signed on to replace the band's original drummer, which proved a pivotal milestone in the act's development.
"It's interesting," says Sexton. "TRB wouldn't exist were it not for a few strokes of luck, and one of those is how Eric and I met. Aside from being my brother in humanity, we're adopted brothers. We have a great musical chemistry that forms the bedrock of TRB's sound. ... (When) Simon joined, our cohesion, energy and musical capabilities increased dramatically. In fact, I separate the history of TRB into pre- and post-Simon periods. It's almost been an entirely different band since he joined us.
Adds Leming: "Playing with your brother is different than playing with just anyone, because we know each other so well. We have a unique connection, and a lot of the same influences. Furthermore, we are in sync on the sound we are trying to achieve, because of that connection."
When asked about its name, which is admittedly similar to fellow Knoxville indie act The Royal Bangs, the group acknowledged the superficial similarities while asserting that its differences in sound should prevent potential mix-ups, at least sonically. The Royal Buzz catalog fluctuates within the spectrum of Americanized Brit-pop, wandering from simplistic to more complex instrumentation but always centering on catchy vocal melodies. The group points out that its sound has only truly begun to coagulate in the past year and TRB is eager to offer a new recording representative of its latest status.
"We've always been working to synthesize a wide range of influences and ideas, and in the past year we've come closer to the sound that we've been working toward," Sexton explains. "We're still very young as a band though. Although Eric and I have been at it for years, it has taken a lot of time to fully develop our sound (and) we're getting closer to it.
"TRB's music is a constantly evolving project, so sometimes there are vast differences in the work from one week to the next. We're always trying to better our art and our live sound and to develop our musical ideas to the fullest."
With a solid roster, The Royal Buzz is geared up for what promises to be a remarkable year in 2013. The band's upcoming EP release, scheduled for Jan. 31, will serve to introduce audiences to TRB's honed direction. The act plans to follow up the release with a more consistent live outing schedule and an East Coast tour in June. Additionally, the outspoken band looks to play for a number of charitable and political causes in the coming year, citing its penchant for the promotion of free speech.
"We have a new EP coming out this month, and we'll be launching a digital storefront for our back-catalog. We received some radio-play locally and in Europe a few years ago, and we've been promoted on a few different blogs, (and) we're going to be putting a new single out for radio-play very soon. Our packaging and printing has primarily been a DIY operation. I love creating unique sleeves and art for each EP and release, and I hope to continue to do so in the future. We want to start printing on vinyl, but for now, we'll have to settle for CDs."
"(We also want to) expand our fan base by playing more shows and further solidifying our look and sound," elaborates Leming. "We want to develop our image through new photos, songs and merchandise."
The Royal Buzz will take the stage at The Pilot Light Thursday, Jan. 31, to mark the release of its new EP. Also on the bill are Scale Model and Camillo the Ocean. Music is slated for 10 p.m., and admission is $10.
Meanwhile, TRB has also been added to Preservation Pub's "Battle of the Bands" lineup, set for March 5.
Free Quinn, see? Nashville singer/songwriter duo Channing and Quinn play a free show in Preservation Pub's upstairs speakeasy Saturday night at 7 p.m., followed by a downstairs lineup of Evan Stone, Far Far Away and Skytown Riot beginning at 10.
Good news, Bad Dudes: Saturday night The Well hosts The Bad Dudes, Alone at 3 a.m. and Matt Woods. The show kicks off at 10 p.m. and costs $5.