The Canadian-American brother band Palaye Royale began their monumental journey over a decade ago, making a big splash when their previous album, The Bastards, reached number 12 on the Billboard Alternative Album chart. The punk “fashion art” band, as they refer to themselves, encompasses authenticity through all aspects of their art, even since their early days when they went by Kropp Circle (a play on words on their own last name, Kropp). Growing up surrounded by the iconic sounds of Las Vegas, Palaye Royale was destined to fearlessly create music that valued their differences from the rest of the scene.
Upfront about their inner struggles after many years of creating and touring, Palaye Royale finds connection, intimacy, and authenticity at the forefront of their latest album, Fever Dream, released last year before the band embarked on an extensive tour of North America and Europe. Having developed a graphic novel (with another in the works), a makeup line, and a clothing line, Palaye Royale lives up to their “fashion art” moniker. Their devoted fanbase, named the Soldiers of the Royal Council, fuel the band’s fire and inspiration, as these three brothers embody rebellion by focusing on unleashing not only their unique identities, but also on the stories of those around them, all through a wave of one-of-a-kind visuals and artistic statements.
Read the full Palaye Royale interview from “The REBEL Issue” below.
How did Palaye Royale form back in 2008, when you were called Kropp Circle?
As brothers, it was inevitable that we would play music with one another. We were fortunate enough to grow up in a household where our mother introduced us to quite the catalog of music: The Faces, The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Oasis, T. Rex, etc. Alongside the vast array of artists, we had many instruments around the house. We all started on piano at the ages of two, four, and six, respectively. From there, we picked up the instruments we play in Palaye today.
What is the inspiration behind your current band name, Palaye Royale, which you have been called since 2011?
Palaye Royale (Palais Royale) was an old dance hall in Toronto, Ontario where our grandparents on our mom’s side met.
You describe yourself as a “fashion art band.” What exactly does that mean to you, and how do you live up to that title?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where if you aren’t descriptive in what or who you are people put you and your art in a box. Just saying “rock band” doesn’t give us enough depth. Being a band that is very visual, it made sense to describe our genre with what Palaye Royale really is, from the fashion to the art to the music, and now, all the merchandise and stories coming from the graphic novel. When it comes to living up to a description we established over a decade ago, we can confidently say we have built a world around what Palaye and The Royal Council really are: authentically us.
Who or what were your influences when you first started out?
We were very much inspired by films, art, literature, and other bands when we started. Now that we have almost 1,000 shows under our belt, we have traveled the world more times than we can remember and have lived our own crazy/lovely experiences along the way. Our influences are truly self-indulgent, as they are something we want the world to hear, see, and be a part of.
How would you describe your distinct sound?
What we do individually in the band and how we merge it together makes it interesting. While recording our Fever Dream album, our producer, Chris Greatti, described it as: “Remington’s aggressive punk-rock singing with his love for pop, Sebastian’s Brit-pop guitar sounds, and Emerson’s classical Victorian piano approach.”
What can fans expect from your album Fever Dream?
It is everything Palaye Royale embodies in a 53-minute collection of ideas that has a continuous thread through its tones, textures, and stories. It is truly our greatest body of work to date.
What inspired the title, Fever Dream?
Being in lockdown while making the album, everything felt like clockwork. It was truly a feeling that the whole world had to experience together.
How has your music or sound evolved since your previous album, The Bastards?
For starters, we aren’t so mad at the world. We took what we learned from The Bastards album and moved on. It was a time and place that the album lived in. It brought some timeless singles that will forever be a part of Palaye’s history, but we have grown up and started using instruments that are true to our upbringing as musicians, which makes it more authentically us.
“Punching Bag” and “No Love In LA” being released together was a move to show the graduation from The Bastards album. Lyrically, we really tapped into how we feel on the road with “Punching Bag,” dealing with cancel culture and the industry. “No Love in LA” is a look into what we experience every time we come home from tour. The two don’t sound any way similar tonally, but lyrically, they have a thread through them both.
Musically, “Punching Bag” was the first song we had released as a band that showcased the grandiose piano and strings we have always loved. “No Love in LA” was originally written on a mellotron and the working title was “Circus,” as LA is full of clowns that truly live behind a fake persona. The bridge keeps the essence of the rock and roll band we have always been. It was a great setup for what was to come for Fever Dream, hence why the videos all connect.
What inspired your single “Broken?”
“Broken” is just your very straightforward toxic relationship song, but with an essence of accepting the ending of something that was once beautiful. The video to accompany the song was shot in one of our favorite cities: Prague. And the stunning video was a great visual to elevate the song in a more sophisticated way.
Did the pandemic affect the creation of this new album in any way?
There were no challenges making this album besides becoming friends with one another once again. Our producer Chris Greatti saw how dark and difficult we were as a band on an emotional level; we were burnt out from six years on the road, from living in a van to relationships falling apart to substance abuse, but we found a new light and respect for each other and had the greatest time creating with one another. We spent the first month in Malibu writing and really taking a pause from the chaos – it was a great starting point for Fever Dream. We went back to Remington’s house and converted it into a studio. We worked 12-14 hours for five, sometimes six days a week for almost a year, just taking our time and sharing memories that will forever be cherished.
How has the tour been going? Can you share some highlights so far?
The tour has been amazing. We started the year off by supporting Yungblud in America and then flew back and forth to Europe and the UK for our headline shows, which were all sold out. The crowds were absolutely insane. Playing our first arena show in Prague and iconic venues like RoundHouse in London is something we have been building toward since the beginning of our career, and now it feels like we are hitting a stride of massive venues all across the road. We’re currently heading to Europe to play a few iconic festivals (Sziget in Hungary, Pukkelpop in Belgium, Lowlands in Netherlands, etc.) Then, it’s straight back to the states to start our Fever Dream world tour, which will take us to roughly 40 countries around the world.
How does Palaye Royale embody the idea of rebellion in their music?
A rebellious attitude has been a part of us as a band from day one. We want to continue to be authentically us at the end of the day. There isn’t a rule book to life, and definitely not to the creative aspects of it. Being different isn’t something we wake up and aspire to do; we’re just ourselves. Nothing makes us happier than to see our wonderful family and fans show up to our shows and events truly embracing and loving who they are.
What’s next for the band?
The ultimate goal is to create our own world, our own space – somewhere where our fans can be immersed into all the aspects that make Palaye, Palaye. Everyone follows the same road and we like to continue to keep it interesting for ourselves and our Soldiers of the Royal Council. The next graphic novel is being finalized, which will be transformed into an anime or live action film. The makeup line will grow to new heights, and the clothing line will be developed to fill a void the fashion industry is missing. And of course, we are headlining Wembley in London and some beautiful festivals across the world. Our culture is already there, it just needs to be continually growing.
To read our print feature on Palaye Royale, pick up your copy of “The REBEL Issue” here.
Photography by Jeaneen Lund
Styling by Scott Free
Styling assistant Lauren Lusardi
Make-up by Mykel Renner
Hair by Teddi Prior
Photographed in Los Angeles, CA