It’s Thanksgiving Monday, and Jared Salte and Bethany Schumacher are spending it in Edmonton celebrating with family.
Well, other family.
The pair are, of course, husband and wife, as well as the core of The Big E’s rising act The Royal Foundry.
The band is also still celebrating the summer release of Lost In Your Head, their first full foray into the world of electro-pop since moving away from their folkier roots. It’s a bouncy, ebullient work of hook- and chorus-filled catchiness that fits nicely into the current crop of Canpop acts such as Metric, Mother Mother and, heck, even Hedley.
And the new Royal Foundry sound has already earned them a great deal of success, starting with their second-place, $75,000 finish in the 2015 Peak Performance Project — the radio-station sponsored career furthering program — and now the placement of some of their singles such as Dreamers, Running Away and All We Have in everything from CFL games on TSN to a Disney fashion event.
Prior to hitting the road, including for a Friday, Oct. 13 show in Calgary at the Commonwealth Bar and Stage, the couple spoke with theYYSCENE on a number of subjects.
Their (not-so) new pop direction
Jared: To be honest it was really the music that I personally was doing before with my previous bands, so if anything folk was a bit of a diversion for us and this pop sound was more my wheelhouse … It was more convenient as a married couple to just get in a van with a banjo and acoustic, and there’s very little expenses that way. We loved doing it and that’s how we started writing because it came naturally, but it was almost — I don’t want to say an economical decision, but it looks that way on paper.
The inspiration behind the single Dreamers
Bethany: We were driving from Las Vegas to L.A. and we were actually doing a stop at Salvation Mountain (the famed folk art installation in the Colorado Desert), so we took a two-hour detour on our way down to L.A. And we went through Joshua Tree National Park, which has always been a dream for Jared and I to visit. So I think that all of the stars aligned emotionally … And I’m pretty sure we were listening to U2’s Joshua Tree — (laughs) just because you have to, right? — and we had the windows down … And then we pulled over, because there’s lots of stops along the way during that drive, and we wrote it right on the side of the road just staring at these huge rock formations and interesting trees. It was one of those really cool moments.
Their experience with the Peak Performance Project
Jared: It was huge. Even as far as pushing us to create music. When we were in the second year, we had submitted Running Away, which was our first poppy track, and then that got in. We weren’t even sure we should submit it or not to begin with. But then that got in and saw some success so we realized, “Oh, yeah, we need to have an entire 30-minute set ready for boot camp and we don’t have any songs but Running Away.” It just put us into hyper-drive to figure out this new sound. And then it was the same thing for the showcase, “We need 45 (minutes), we’ve got to write three more songs.” So, yeah, it was great for us.
The importance of faith to the pair and their music
Bethany: As individuals, both Jared and I grew up in very strong Christian homes, with my dad being a pastor and Jared’s dad (Arlen Salte) — he didn’t start his musical career as a Christian artist, he was a mainstream artist at first … but he transitioned into that. I mean it’s definitely defined who we are as people today. I think when you grow up in that household, we both learned love first above anything and that’s been a huge part of us. Even our album is quite optimistic and very positive. I don’t think we ever made a conscious decision to make a super positive album but after it was all said and done, especially with all of the stuff going on in the world, I think we just gradually gravitated to that message, naturally.
Bethany: It’s kind of anticlimactic as a band to be working on a project for so long and you have this collection of music, and all of a sudden it’s out to the world on a specific day. It’s really nice to have an album and hold a physical copy, but at the same time we’ve listened to these songs, some of them for four years — All We Have was one of the first songs that we wrote together as a married couple and that song was on our folk album … We’ve listened to these songs for so long and we’ve already started writing more songs, getting started on the next album at the same time as pushing this one … We’re just starting this process again while very excitedly being able to hear from a lot of other people on our album. And it’s been really exciting.
The Royal Foundry perform Friday, Oct. 13 at the Commonwealth Bar and Stage.
Mike Bell has been covering the Calgary music scene for the past 25 years with publications such as VOX, Fast Forward, the Calgary Sun and, most recently, the Calgary Herald. He is currently the music writer and content editor for theYYSCENE.com. Follow him on Twitter/@mrbell_23 or email him at email@example.com.