Forged deep in the Piney Woods of South Mississippi, Royal Horses embodies the very best of what the region has to offer. The band’s debut record, A Modern Man’s Way to Improve was selected as an official release for Record Store Day 2020 and is available to download and stream on all platforms. Royal Horses drummer Daniel Firth fills in the blanks on our introduction to the band…
Q: What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
A: We have been playing together for nearly four years now. Kenny and Shelby had been buddies for a long time and when Kenny opened a music venue in the area, early signs of the band started brewing. Shelby and I actually began playing together in 2016 with other groups around town, but it was Kenny who initiated the trio. The two of them discussed an acoustic act that inevitably grew heavier and heavier in sound and once they asked me to join, Royal Horses was born.
Q: How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?
A: The very, very first Royal Horses performance was a killer acoustic set with just Kenny and Shelby. Our first gig as a band was equally killer, filled with the classic rock songs we all grew up listening to. High-energy, loud, and fast.
Q: What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?
A: We hope our sound is completely unexpected. We prefer to let people decide for themselves and classify our music as they choose to. We try to keep a real, humbled attitude with our social presence and create lasting relationships with our audience. We describe ourselves as everyday guys who love to play music and put on a performance for those who want to listen.
Q: The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
A: Let the music speak for you. The best way to stand out from the rest is to play music that is honest, and hopefully, that connects to your audience. Also, ‘word of mouth’ advertisement is always a great and efficient way to increase your fanbase. Get the people buzzing about your shows and hopefully, they will tell their friends and help you grow organically.
Q: What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
A: We just released our debut album ‘A Modern Man’s Way to Improve’ on all digital streaming platforms and are currently pushing the expansion of that. We are working on mastering our second album, and we are working with Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds on a project for Color Red Studios right now, as well. We plan to release a lot of content this coming year, including a few new singles, EP’s, and a new LP this summer.
Q: What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
A: We have had the pleasure of opening for many quality acts over the years, but the ones we would love to share the stage with currently include Sturgill Simpson, The Marcus King Band, or The New Mastersounds. Fingers crossed our shared bill with JJ Grey & Mofro in Meridian, MS on April 10 will happen! You just never know these days.
Q: Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
A: Hopefully, Royal Horses, but there are a ton of bands working hard throughout the South that are ready to break out. We are just proud to be a part of the new buzz happening down here.
Q: What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
A: Luckily, I have been surrounded by music and the arts my entire life. My dad sings and each of my siblings are creative in their fields, but my mom was the one to show me the professional side of it all at an early age. For years, she was the stage manager for the symphony orchestra and theater at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg which hosted many nationally and internationally renowned musicians. As a kid, I had the opportunity to attend their rehearsals and watch them create and perform amazing shows. These, I believe, were my early light bulb moments.
Q: We have recently had the tragic passing of Eddie Van Halen; do you have a particular favorite Van Halen track?
A: This passing was tough news on everyone. I think I would have to pick Runnin’ with the Devil or, as a drummer, Hot for Teacher. There are too many greats to choose from.
Q: AC/DC – Brian or Bon? Or both!?
A: Brian! Without ‘Back in Black’, AC/DC may have faded away with many other classic rock bands. That record set them on a path to become one of the longest-lasting rock bands of all time.
Q: What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
A: The last gig I attended as a fan was Billy Strings, February 2020, at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. This was right before the COVID-19 outbreak when things were normal. He killed it that night, great show.
Q: What current issue are you particularly passionate about?
A: There’s no current issues that I feel we are spearheading by any means, but it would be nice to see our communities come together to support each other during these times of need. The obvious split in our political system drives a hard wedge between people to the point of uncertainty. Because of this, entire industries are shut down. Social media is a major player in that wedge, not so much the platforms, but the mentality it creates throughout the users. Hopefully, this is something we will outgrow as we become more aware of the power it has.
Q: There is a great debate at the minute about whether or not musicians should use their platform to talk about political issues, some for and some against. Music has always been a form of protest, surely an artist has just as much right as the next person to offer an opinion? Or should they “just stick to the music”?
A: I think everyone should have the right to say what they believe. If a particular artist is passionate about something then, of course, they should use their platform. That’s what they built it for. It’s up to the people to be more aware of their own thoughts and use their own judgment on issues.
Q: The Album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
A: Deltron 3030 by Deltron 3030. In fact, that album has a lot of relativity today.
Q: Who would you class as an underrated songwriter?
A: Grayson Capps from South Alabama is a very underrated songwriter. It truly blows my mind that he isn’t a household name around the country. Maybe he wants it that way? Either way, he’s brilliant.
Q: As much as 2020 was a year to forget, there was some incredible music released: what would you say is your favorite album of 2020?
A: There’s been a few new records in our heavy rotation that came out this year including, Flow Tribe’s Loteria Cosmica, Sturgill Simpson’s Cuttin’ Grass, John Moreland’s LP5, and Ryan Adams’ Wednesdays. I think any one of these could be argued as album of the year.
Q: How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
A: We try to be pretty active on most social platforms, but Facebook and Instagram are our two main outlets. We have a nice following of friends and fans that usually help spread our news and share it with their pages. You can find all current releases and news at www.royalhorsesband.com
Black and white image – Randy Sherrell Photography