Brantford, ON alternative rock quintet Ascot Royals have perfected the art of crafting infectious melodies that will dance around your head long after the music stops. Currently working on a new album for release later this year, the group has now been added to 2015’s WTFest (on June 14) where they’ll have their entire hometown dancing when they hit the stage. We caught up keyboardist Ben Chauveau to talk about their new EP, upcoming slot at the WTFest Music Festival, and how they persevered when faced with the disaster of having their gear stolen on a Canadian tour.
Talk a bit about how Ascot Royals came together and how you’ve evolved since your inception….
Chauveau: The band met back in 2010 at Metal Works Institute where Jimmy, Tal and Sam all attended. Joined by Ben and Scott, the band started creating new material. In 2011 we then released our debut full-length, Don’t Let It Stop You. Then late 2013, right after getting home from an Eastern Canadian Tour, all of our equipment was stolen. It was the worst feeling in the world, but then and there we had to make a decision, do we either call it a day or put our heads together and work harder than we ever have to raise money to buy new gear, and keep on playing. After great support from our friends, family and the musical community, we were back on our feet again and began to write new music. With this, we’re currently tracking a new EP, that will be out sometime later this year.
Ascot Royals’ sound is eccentric enough to work with groups like Hedley and Lights, as well as Big Wreck or The Trews. Describe your sound to someone that has never heard you before.
Chauveau: Our sound is a mixture of sweaty and energetic rock music with hooky melodies and a dash of alternative edge. I feel we would work with both nights of the festival as although we are primarily a rock band, but our writing is a little different largely because the band is made up of five people with very different cultural and musical backgrounds. We really believe that when it comes to our music and live performance, there’s something for everyone.
Tell us a little bit about your new album and the type of album you were setting out to create.
Chauveau: We really are excited about this new EP. We have been lucky enough to be working on some tracks with legendary Canadian producer Gavin Brown (Three Days Grace, Mother Mother, Metric, Tragically Hip). With this new record we wanted to push ourselves as far out of our comfort zone as we possibly could, and more importantly, we wanted to write our best music yet. We spent many months writing dozens of songs and ended up recording only what we felt was our absolute best to date. We will be playing most of those songs, as well as some older favourites at WTFest.
You got confirmed for an opening slot on WTFest in Brantford on June 13th with Hedley, Lights, and USS. What is it like to have such a big show in your hometown?
Chauveau: We love that we have the chance to play such an awesome festival in our home town! We have a big love for Brantford. No one from the band was born here, but it has played a very large part in our development. Many people don’t realize it, but there’s an awesome musical community here. We are so thrilled to be able to show our home town what we have been working on over the past year.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at WTFest this year?
Chauveau: I feel as a group we are most excited to hooking up with the USS lads again, Jason (Human Kebab) has been a huge help to us over the years, always there for insight and offering advice to us whenever he can. Their new EP was one of our favourites from 2014, so all of us at camp Royal are very excited to play with them again. We are also very excited to share the big stage with our fellow Brantford bands, showing so much talent from our lovely city!
Check out the song “New Skin” here.