Roya is a “leisurely” post-punk band from Brooklyn. I remember hearing them for the first time and releasing a sigh-filled “finally,” as if Roya were the first new band I’d heard in a long time I could call “punk” without any hesitation. They’re able to capture the existential boredom that most 20- and 30-somethings hold close to their psyche but without being in your face about it. Their brand of punk is a playful shove, a friendly nudge — one you can take on the dance floor, where it helps you forget about your mound of student debt for a while. It’s the type of punk that says, “I don’t give a fuck, don’t bother me,” and doesn’t worry about Monday morning on a Friday night. We caught up with the band to talk about how they came to be and where they’re heading next. Check it out below.
You guys are a relatively new band. How did Roya come about? What was the catalyst for getting started?
Roya came about pretty organically. I had been wanting to do some solo stuff for a while, so when I got back from a tour with my previous band, I hit up Jay and asked him if he wanted to help me record some stuff. He was into it and just coincidentally on the day we chose to meet up, Hamish hit me up and I asked him if he wanted to sit in on drums. So it kinda just went from there. Later on I got my friend Christian to join and play second guitar. The first few songs were some I had written, but we all pretty much contribute now. It’s cool.
Where does the name Roya come from?
Roya is a girl’s name in my mother’s tongue, Farsi. It means a magnificent dream or a vision. It’s the name I always wanted to name my daughter, and because I can not foresee any children in the near future, I decided it’d probably make for a cool band name.
I think of your sound as something along the lines of “slacker-punk.” Music that’s too apathetic to get pissed off about anything. Music that just wants to chill and not give a shit. Do you agree? How would you guys describe your sound?
Hmm, I mean… I think I get it, I have a pretty conversational voice, I sing kinda nonchalantly. And sometimes I’m not giving a shit, but sometimes I am giving a shit. Maybe it’s just under the guise of a mellow nonchalance, maybe I’m working up the courage to get to somewhere pissed. Who knows, we’ll see.
Well, I feel like our “sound” has just begun teething, but I’d say it’s pretty minimal: a teetering combination of lazy and angsty, kinda childish and innocent. You know, music for the inner child. Adult nursery? Ha.
Any thoughts on the current state of punk? I guess ‘Punk’ to me is true rebellion, breaking from perpetuated societal barriers and blind submission, and the absence of that instilled fear, or the courage to combat it.
I mean I think the youth in America raising their voice in protest during the country’s current state of affairs is punk, the unified movement of recognizing Israeli brutality and Palestine as a country is punk, Iran’s politically charged Green Movement in 2009 was punk.
In terms of music, hard to say these days, few bands move me. My pals in Fat White Family put their blood, sweat and tears into what they do, and you can taste their bitterness and smell their cloying pungence when they perform, and I think that is pretty punk.
Is an album in the works? What should we expect from Roya?
Yes, our debut album is in the works for this coming new year, pretty excited about it. We are sort of a leisurely band, so you know, in due time, expect something.
Interview by Trevor L. Sensor. Photo by Danny Krug.