Eric James and Mason Ingram define their musical genre as “Urban Walking Music,” on their Facebook page, but the Brooklyn jokesters have a lot more to offer than just tunes for mulling around the city. The singer/producer and drummer began playing music together in the beginning of 2010 and early this year released their first LP, Twistification, under the moniker “The Last Royals”. Since then, the anthemic indie duo won over crowds at this year’s SXSW and is gearing up to play its first large festivals -- Firefly and Summerfest--this June.
James recently took some time to chat with me about the Firefly Music Festival, Bruce Springsteen being a badass, and what’s transformed him into a new man.
Katrina Nattress: You guys are gearing up to play the Firefly Music Festival in June, is this your first festival appearance?
Eric James: It’s our first ‘big’ festival, yeah. We’re honored to be a part of it.
KN: What are you looking forward to most about playing Firefly?
EJ: We’re definitely excited to share our music with a bigger crowd. I’m told there’s hot air balloon rides too...that would be pretty rad.
KN: What bands do you want to check out at the festival?
EJ: Tom Petty, of course. We also want to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and MGMT.
KN: If you could play any music festival, what would it be and why?
EJ: We’d love to play the Newport Folk Festival and really offend some people.
KN: Are you planning to tour this summer?
EJ: We’re doing a few more festivals and will be touring in between, yes!
KN: You are the singer/producer in the band, can you talk to me about the writing process? Does Mason help write the songs or are you the sole writer?
EJ: For this first record most of the ideas were pretty rounded out before we started recording, but, yeah, I’m never married to any of it, and Mason always brings his thing to it. We’re looking forward to a lot more collaborating on our next batch of tunes.
KN: You released your debut LP, Twistification, in January. How has that been received?
EJ: With warm and open arms...I guess its been pretty great. The press has been pretty gushy about the record--can’t complain there! I’ve yet to cry myself to sleep from a negative review.
KN: How does it feel to finally have an LP under your belt?
EJ: So good! My whole life has been a series of EPs until now. I’m a new man.
KN: You list bands like ELO and Brian Wilson as your influences. Who would you say are your musical heroes?
EJ: Did we list Brian Wilson? Heroes would be the usual: Dylan, Lennon, McCartney, Springsteen, Petty, all for different reasons. Dylan is the West’s best wordsmith; Petty can make anything a hit; Lennon and McCartney are aliens from another planet, and Springsteen is just badass and has to be listed.
KN: What are some albums that influenced you to make music?
EJ: Oh man, the album question. I guess Abbey Road. That’s the right answer, right? No wait, Dark Side of the Moon. Seriously though, I think the genius of the concept album is to go and tell people after the fact that it was always a concept album, which of course is bullshit. It’s just a bunch of songs that got mashed together. But we can still dream.
KN: What’s next for The Last Royals?
EJ: This summer is gonna be beautiful, sharing the stage with so many amazing acts. Probably an epic tour in the fall, another record next year, maybe some sports cars and mortgages.
Photo By Eric Ryan Anderson