Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Philip Basnight - Vocals, synths, guitar, well-constructed jokes
Colin Cross - Drums, guitar, bass, fun, technical things
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Broke Royals? How long has the band been around?
Philip: I performed as a solo folk artist for several years during and after my time in a collegiate hip-hop trio.
Colin: I was in a pop-rock/pop-punk band named Dreams of University when I lived out in Indiana. Broke Royals has been around for almost 4 years now. We released our first single May of 2014.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
We’ve been Broke Royals from the start… literally and figuratively, I’d say. The name has a lot of meanings. The first is that when we started as a band we were broke college kids making high production pop-rock music in a basement. The juxtaposition was stark. But what really pushed us to commit to it is the reality of how it describes the everyday. Growing up in this age of amazing technological advancements, everyone has a super computer in their hand all day. Smartphones (#teamiPhone) are an affordable luxury that has enriched the lives of everyone so much. They provide amazing abilities to communicate, access to information, and document the everyday in a way that’s never been possible before.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Philip: We’re constantly looking for and open to inspiration so we’ve written about a wide range of topics. As a result, we write fewer love songs than a lot of Rock bands, I think. We’re compelled to write about the things that move us or just moments that we want to capture. Time itself, and how things change and evolve, has actually been a huge theme for us. It’s amazing how important something can mean one day and how that can change drastically over time.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
We have a really wide range of music that we listen to. Day-to-day we listen to a mix of a lot of modern hip-hop and rap and alternative rock. Run The Jewels, Bleachers, and Spoon are everyday Broke Royals favorites.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Colin: Not in particular. However, I met Philip when we were both working on the concert programming board at William and Mary and a love for music and creativity is definitely what brought us together. We were booking and running concerts and would spend a lot of time talking about music. Eventually I built a studio and got Philip in to start recording some of the original stuff he’d been writing for his folk project and when we started to flesh it out together we realized that our different backgrounds created a really unique sound.
What do you do to prepare for a show?
Before every show we sing a classic from one of our favorite Virginia artists named Houston Heard. He’s got a great song called “Texas” that always amps us up.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Working with John Naclerio on this album is definitely a highlight. His producing and engineering skills are insane and he absolutely brought out a whole new side of our sound.
Oh, we also played a surprise show on an airplane for a cabin full of people at 35,000 feet. Thanks, Southwest!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Bleachers, all the way. Jack Antonoff is an incredible artist, musician, performer, and producer. It would be crazy to share the stage with him.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We like sports and we don’t care who knows.