Our bloggers Jennifer and Krystal attended day 2 of WTFest last weekend where they caught up with Jimmy Chauveau, Ben Chauveau and Tal Vaisman of the Ascot Royals. Read the interview below!
Jennifer: Can you guys tell us a little bit about the history behind Ascot Royals?
Jimmy: We met through mutual bands, and going to Metal Works in Mississauga. We’ve got one degree out of the three of us, which is Tal right there.
Jennifer: I wanted to go to school there, is it fun!?
Jimmy: It’s a lot of work.
Tal: Fun – no. It’s a great school though. I met my band there, my day job is recording musicians. I am a recording engineer, producer, I write music – that’s what I do. So, if I’m still doing it after school, then I guess I can speak for the school.
Ben: It worked!
Jimmy: Yeah and actually Ben and I are brothers. We came over from England..
Tal: So they met when Jimmy was born!
Jimmy: Haha, not before that would be weird! Yeah and then Scotty came in through photography.
Tal: The interesting little tidbit, for us, is that we’re a really multicultural band because Jimmy and Ben actually moved here from England (hence the accents).
Krystal: Love the accents!
Jimmy: They’re a dead giveaway!
Tal: I moved here from Israel, and Scott and Sam are just local Ontario boys. So it’s a big melting pot of different cultures.
Jennifer: That’s awesome! Growing up, did you guys always know you wanted to be musicians?
Jimmy: From a very early age yeah.
Tal: I wanted to be a drummer! I don’t know if that counts?
Jennifer: That counts! Drummers keep that beat that’s important!
Tal: Yeah I always wanted to be a musician. As soon as I found out that it’s a thing, like oh you can play guitar and get paid?
Krystal: Haha yeah, that’s a job?
Ben: Well, we will be honoured when it’s a job!
Jimmy: But yeah, from an early age it was just diggin’ into music as much as possible, and just yelling and singing as much as I could.
Krystal: Who would you say you are musically influenced by?
Jimmy: That’s a tough one.
Tal: As a band or as individuals?
Krystal: Both – individually and then as a band.
Tal: I would say the biggest influence on our band would be…there are a lot of bands from England that have influenced us. One is a band called Kasabian, the other one is called Biffy Clyro. I would add that we kind of have a bit more of an electronic-y, dance-y element – not too much, but maybe a little bit. The best description for us is we’re an indie rock band, with a heavy, rich, and interesting arrangement.
Jennifer: Great! And what is the story behind your name?
Ben: We came from Ascot. We lived 10 minutes away from a town called Ascot, who have the Kentucky Derby of Britain there – horse races called Royal Ascot. So it’s a bit of a play on words because we used to make fun of these people ’cause they’d all go to these races dressed up in their top hats and you know -that isn’t really what we stand for at all. It’s a play on the words and everyone agreed on it!
Jimmy: And it’s nice cause you Google it, and we come up!
Krystal: That’s cool!
Jennifer: Alright so, I read a story online about your van getting stolen back in 2013. How did it happen and how did that affect the band?
Tal: We were coming back from a show, and we had parked somewhere to stop for gas and the car got stolen.
Krystal: By a fan? Or just by somebody random?
Ben: I wish it was a fan!
Tal: Yeah I wish it was a fan – then they would feel bad and give us our gear back! But yeah they took the car and it was found three days later just outside of Hamilton, but none of our gear was there – it was probably like $20,000 worth of gear.
Tal: Yeah and some of it was sentimental – I had a guitar that I bought in Israel and brought here with me.
Krystal: And you can’t get that back.
Tal: Exactly – it’s not even about the money anymore. And also, when you’re a musician, you’re only worth what gear you own because that’s all you have. So when I got the news I was like “Oh my God, I’ve got nothing.” So it was pretty traumatic, for all of us. It was a very, very difficult time. Definitely very challenging for all of us because we all thought like, “OK well, is this the end? Are we done?”
Jimmy: We found ourselves at that sort of crossroad of “should we pack it in?” or “should we continue with this and see what we can do?” And luckily, Brantford was super supportive. We had a fundraiser, people came out in numbers. In Toronto as well actually. It was unreal, we had a lot of musicians helping us out, lending us gear, and we kind of went in on the weekend that it happened and just started writing, started working that much harder. It was a light out of a terrible situation.
Ben: There’s one thing that every musician in Southern Ontario should do – and that is to Google AFM, find your local musicians union, and pay the $150 dollars, and get the really cheap musicians insurance they offer.
Jennifer: It’s only $150 a year?
Ben: Well it’s a few hundred bucks a year to be a member of the AFM and one of the perks is really really cheap insurance for musicians.
Tal: I cannot stress enough how important that is.
Ben: We were so naive. If we’d known that back then, we wouldn’t have had an issue. Well we would have had an issue – but you know what I mean.
Jennifer: Right, so do you guys write a lot of your own music?
Jimmy: We do.
Jennifer: What would you say is the biggest influence behind your music?
Jimmy: I feel like we all grab from very different places. I think we have a lot of bands that kind of cross. I love everything from Queen, Freddy Mercury, way up to, like we said with Biffy Clyro, we’ve got the same sort of feel, to Manchester Orchestra – it’s weird, it just comes from anywhere. You could be listening to something you’ve never heard before and then all of a sudden you get the spark and you’re like OK I’ve got to write something! So you pull off, and you start writing in your notepad.
Tal: We’ve been in a spot in the last few years where we kind of wrote from one place, and then I think, mainly after our stuff got stolen really, something changed and we got to the point where we started writing and thinking about our lives and the struggles we’ve had and things that we’ve went through, and we just tried to find the positive light out of it. We were kind of in a – not cool place. I mean we’ve all been through stuff, Jimmy and Ben moved here, and they moved back and forth from different places during their childhood. You kind of start think about things that have happened…
Ben: You dig deeper.
Tal: Yeah so I think, the main thing that happened lately is that we have a really good, continuous motive, which is us just saying you know, we really really push living life to the fullest.
Ben: Like, whatever happens, just try and work through it as best as you can.
Tal: Our new single, that’s going to be coming out in July, is called “Best Is Yet To Come.” It’s a very defining song for us because when writing it, we kind of found that place in our music.
Jennifer: Stemming off of that, when can we expect more new music? Is there an album to come with that?
Jimmy: An EP right now.
Tal: We’ve been working with the legendary producer Gavin Brown. He’s worked with Billy Talent, Metric, big names- and we’ve been working with him for the last little while and it’s been great.
Ben: As well as Casey Marshall and Neil Sanderson from PublicArtz. They introduced us to everyone and we’ve got this awesome team behind us now that are: 1. Helping us with production and building songs and doing it right, and 2. introducing us to all the people we’ve dreamt of working with for years.
Krystal: That’s great.
Jennifer: You guys have worked with a lot of Canadian bands as well, have they taught you anything?
Ben: How to work really really hard and make sure you love it, because at the end of the day, in the music industry you’ve got to be passionate about it or else there’s no point in doing it. You’re not doing it for the pay check that’s for sure!
Jennifer: Your bio says that you guys pride yourself in creating a party atmosphere at your shows. What’s the craziest party story that you guys can tell us?
Tal: It can always go back to Brantford shows, they are always just a mess. Even when we played our fundraiser show it was at Club NV here, we got up to go on the stage, and everybody was there to support us, but it really was a great night. But I don’t know.. the best story?
Jimmy: I’m thinking probably back to Hideout for NXNE. The owner was really diggin’ it, so he was actually running around with a huge bottle of whiskey –
Jimmy: Yeah, and just pouring it in everybody’s mouth. People were crowd surfing and they’d surf up and he’d pour it into their mouths, and they’d go back out. It was one of those nights where everyone just clicked, the whole place was bouncing and just crazy. We stepped off stage and we were like, “What just happened? That was definitely something, I’m drunk now.”
Tal: You can always tell how good the show was by how wet you are, and it looked like I’d jumped into a pool!
Ben: I’m glad you finished that sentence!
Jennifer: Is there anything else that you’d like to say to your fans?
Ben: Keep being awesome, and thank you!
Jimmy: Thank you for everything!