SINKING INTO ROYAL TEETH
New Orleans’ musical history runs as deep as the trombone notes constantly heard on the streets. From jazz, to rhythm and blues, the city has always had its fair share of musical influences to keep our spirits up and our ears in tune. Almost six years ago, the city opened its welcoming arms to embrace an unexpected genre: alternative pop. Thanks in part to the arrival of Royal Teeth, the indie quartet whose members hail from cities across Southeast Louisiana, New Orleans welcomed an entirely new sound to add to the mix.
“[New Orleans] is a good place for us because there are so many different kinds of music that you would never expect to hear,” Royal Teeth lead singer Nora Patterson explains. “But we kind of fit right in.”
Ahead of Royal Teeth’s performance at Preservation Hall as part of a Weekend With KREWE, we caught up with Patterson to discuss how the band uses the charm of New Orleans to influence their shows as well as why she loves wearing KREWE frames around the city.
ROYAL TEETH'S MEMBERS ALL HAIL FROM DIFFERENT AREAS IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA. WHAT BROUGHT YOU ALL HERE TO NEW ORLEANS?
I lived in Lafayette for college after moving away from Baton Rouge, and just wanted something a little bit bigger. Our drummer Josh Hefner moved to New Orleans to go to law school, and I was looking for jobs and thought New Orleans would be fun. The guys had met through other bands that they were in and they just started working together and formed Royal Teeth. I knew one of the guys in Royal Teeth from college, and they needed a girl singer, so I joined the band and it’s worked out.
DID THE CITY WELCOME YOU GUYS WITH OPEN ARMS?
We have a lot of friends who are in bands, so we started playing shows and everyone was pretty welcoming. We got to play some shows with some really great bands who are now good friends of ours. [New Orleans] is a good place for us because there are so many different kinds of music that you would never expect to hear, but we kind of fit right in.
HOW IS THE BAND INFLUENCED BY THE NEW ORLEANS SOUND?
I don’t know if I would say we’re influenced by the sound. If you heard our band and didn’t know we were from Louisiana, you wouldn’t expect it because our “sound” is alternative pop music. We try to use the charm, energy, and vibrancy of [New Orleans] in our live shows, and that influence comes through in some of our lyrics.
People are really open to different kinds of music in New Orleans. For a lot of the shows— even if they’ve never heard of us— the audience goes for it and gets into it and feeds off of our energy, which is really great. It’s always nice when you have a fun crowd to play for, and New Orleans is really good at giving that to us.
WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU'D BE PERFORMING AT PRESERVATION HALL FOR A WEEKEND WITH KREWE?
We feel honored to have performed there. None of us had ever performed there and it’s such an iconic place in New Orleans. It was truly amazing to be on the stage where all of these incredible bands have played. It feels very important, and we were excited to do our set justice.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PLACES IN THE CITY?
The Saint is one, because that’s where our first show was. We also had a really fun Halloween show at Maison on Frenchmen Street— it’s always really fun to play on Frenchmen. We also love District Donuts Sliders Brew.
GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE. TO TIE THINGS BACK TO KREWE, WHAT DOES "KREWE" MEAN TO YOU?
I think the way that KREWE brands itself and represents New Orleans is really unique. It feels good to wear frames around the city knowing that it’s created in New Orleans. You can feel proud when you show [frames] off to people that compliment them on tour… you can tell them the [brand’s] story.