Joe Bochek has had a long history of recording music and perhaps playing covers in the Hamilton area but six years ago he entered the spotlight with his new new wave band Royal Seas and his own original music. With some fine tuning, the band now returns for their third full length album of indie rock and synth pop, eponymously titled to reintroduce the band and their music.
“I just wanted to return to the music that I liked as a kid with the alternative radio stuff,” says Bochek on the band’s origins. “I got bored playing music in genres that didn’t really suit me so I wanted to make something for myself. It wasn’t over thought, it was just the kind of music that flowed out of me. We’ve added a synth player named Lindsay Harrison so I don’t have to focus on that and we can have three guitar players and she’s brought a whole new layer to the band and it’s been great.
Joe Bochek on vocals and guitar is joined by Harrison, Stephan Olaizola on bass, Jesse Valvasori on guitar, and sons Joey on drums and John on guitar for this incarnation of Royal Seas. The membership of Royal Seas has changed but Bochek feels the band has never been in a better place although the growing family aspect of the band definitely offers a different perspective.
“The line up is now stable and we’ve been writing the songs together now as well,” says Bochek. “It’s a little more of a family band but all of us end up finishing each other’s sentences so it’s really created a cohesive product. John is about to turn 20 and Joey is 15 but they’ve all grown up listening to what I listen to but they didn’t listen to the kind of music Royal Seas make. If you ask them, I’m the lazy guy in the band and they’ve been doing a lot of the writing so it keeps me on my toes. On stage, it looks great and sounds great so I couldn’t be happier with how everything morphed. As members left, my kids would fill in so why not keep them in. I didn’t want to start a band with my kids but that’s the way it happened.
“It took us two years to put this together,” adds Bochek. “The first album was just me writing and we collaborated a bit on the second album but with our new album everyone has songs that they’ve brought in for the band that we’ve finished off as a band. With different writers, there is a bigger palett to pull from and sound wise, I’m a big fan of Mutt Lange days with 70 layers of background vocals and 15 layers of guitars — I’m proud of my over production but it’s a tighter more focused sound with songwriting not just sonically.”
Mixed and mastered by Bochek at his East Mountain Highview studios, Royal Seas captures the essence of classic tracks from the Mission or Simple Minds and their sonic sheen without being dated. Bochek hopes to recreate that musical mandate on the stage for Royal Seas’ upcoming release party and while once more of a sideman, Bochek is comfortable in the spotlight, especially with some great musicians and family members watching his back.
“This is the band and who we are now so we didn’t want to use an album title — this is Royal Seas and what we’re doing,” says Bochek. “We wanted to make a statement on that. We’ve got three guitarists all playing different parts and it’s all well thought out. but live, we’re not afraid to not play when it’s not necessary and then pop back in. We try to orchestrate it like that.
“I’m more comfortable now in front of a crowd than I am talking to someone one on one, so that’s ironic,” adds Bochek. “I love performing and we’re not trying to be rock stars but we’re up there having a really good time for sure. I’m actually playing drums with Bistolas to open the show — they’re a moody rock power trio kind of like the Tea Party. This is the first time playing drums for the opening band and then taking the mic for the next band so it should be an interesting show. A lot of people feel nostalgic for the music we make and people come up to us after shows and comment on that. Our show is really tight with lots of layers and while we canst have 70 layers of backing vocal tracks, which we donst do, but itss still a full live sound and if you want to see a big full live production, you should check out Royal Seas.”
Royal Seas plays this Saturday February 29 at the Casbah with Frantic Lullabies and Bistolas. Doors for the all ages/ licensed gig open at 8pm and $10 gets you in. Click on facebook.com/royalseascanada