The Quarter Roys shed a member over the winter, but are looking forward to their first show as a trio with the Pinkerton Raid and Shiloh Hill at the Flat Iron in Greensboro on Feb. 29.
“I’m just really excited to show people what the Quarter Roys are up to these days,” said drummer Ricky Perez. “We’re trying to play out more as we develop new material, so we can show our fans, and new folk, that we’re still worth listening to as a trio.”
The group recently made their three-piece debut on WUAG’s “Radio Greensboro.” And thus far, trios seem to have more fun. “It still feels like the same band,” Perez said, “but to be honest, it feels so much more fun for whatever reason.”
With fun comes work, playing instruments while singing is harder than it looks. “We wanna try our hand at three-part harmonies,” Perez noted. “That might take a bit more practice, but its a goal.”
It’s a group effort. “We’re all contributing to our repertoire as of right now, and we plan on keeping it that way,” said guitarist Nick VanBuskirk of his passion for the group and their style. “I love playing in a band like this because it creates a lot of freedom to just create whatever comes to mind.”
“Going to school for music kind of puts an idea in your head that you’ve gotta play a certain way if you’re gonna play a certain type of music,” VanBuskirk continued, ”and playing with these guys we just kind of write and play what we want without worrying about what it is, so it’s just plain fun.”
In their shift, that material has transitioned from politics to the personal. For Perez, “it seems our music is becoming more about the intricacies of human emotional and moral experience. That’s the direction that our lyrical content is mostly going.”
For them, it’s a step toward maturing within their songwriting. “As far as the sound of the music, with all of us, writing there’s a lot of different directions we’re going in, and that’s not a bad thing,” Perez said. Rock ballads, funk pieces, touches of indie, punk and more remain open on the table.
“We don’t like to confine ourselves to a specific sound because we feel it can be limiting,” Perez explained, with a nod to variety and preference for listener-surprises. Their influences vary amongst the likes of Crosby Stills and Nash, Lemon Twigs, Parquet Courts, Post Animal, and Rush; with local favorites being the Dune Sea and Black Haus.
A mix of groups fitting for jazz students in a psychedelic pop-rock band. “For me, I was very excited to play rock ‘n’ roll when we first started,” Perez noted, “and now that I’ve scratched that itch, I get the sense that we’re becoming more open to doing anything genre-wise.”
Remaining grounded in the classics, the Quarter Roys profess a love for the Beatles that shines through their recording goals. ”I personally want to make our records have a quality to them that almost can’t be performed live,” Perez explained. “I want the bass and guitar and drums to mold together in a way that really makes the recording special.”
Their 2017 debut-LP, “If You Think I Should,” was followed in 2019 with “Mr. Cardemone: Chapter 1,” an EP intended to be the first in a four-chapter series. They’ve scrapped that particular release-line, but they’ll likely keep the concept. “I love the story you can build with an album,” Perez explained, “but in the age of streaming, people like to digest singles and EPs.” Putting out chapters allows for both experiences. An official release date remains up in the air. “A lot of our time is being spent gathering and recording the new material,” VanBuskirk said. “We’re excited to give people a good idea of what the future will look like now that Nick and Logan and Ricky are building up their songbooks.” Looking to that future, “the three of us would love nothing more than to do this forever because we love each other and its fun making music together. In one way or another, we’ll always be around,” Perez said. “For the people who’ve been really itching to see us live again, you won’t have to wait much longer,” he added. “Thank you for all the love and patience.”
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report on WUAG 103.1 FM.
The Quarter Roys will be at the Flat Iron in Greensboro on Feb. 29 with Shiloh Hill and the Pinkerton Raid.