Three-time Edmonton Music Award winners The Royal Foundry came together through the marriage of Bethany Schumacher and Jared Salte, and what started as a folk duo quickly evolved into a full-throttle alt-pop quartet. Bethany was a preacher’s daughter who developed a love for the visual arts. Jared, on the other hand, grew up surrounded by music as the son of a touring musician.
As their musical and literal marriage developed, Jared and Bethany had no intentions of going in the electro-pop direction that is now the basis of The Royal Foundry sound. But after giving their successful 2015 single “All We Have” an experimental makeover two years later, they knew they had discovered something special.
That approach has further evolved on their new single “Don’t Know,” a preview of the duo’s full-length album due in the spring. The Royal Foundry is currently playing dates on their own and with Monowhales across Canada, with a couple of dates in conjunction with Grey Cup festivities in their hometown to wrap things up at the end of November.
Jared Salte spoke to us about what lies ahead for The Royal Foundry, and you can find out more at theroyalfoundry.com.
Would you say your new single “Don't Know”indicates what your next album will sound like?
Yeah, we've been becoming a little more guitar driven and leaning a bit more in that direction in our songwriting. We're excited about what we've been working on for the past few months and “Don't Know” is a pretty good sample. However, we always have a hard time sticking to just one sound, and the album is still going to be diverse musically.
The video looks like it was a lot of fun to shoot. How did it come together?
This is the first music video that we put together ourselves. Over the past few videos, we've gotten increasingly more hands-on with the directing and editing process and this time we just really wanted to do the whole thing ourselves. It was a lot of fun to shoot and the fact that we were able to keep creative control was really exciting for us. Bethany went to photography school in Victoria before we were a band and has always had a great eye for videography as well.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
Zig-zaggy. We started as a folk-pop duo and since then have evolved from folk-pop to electro-alt-pop, and now we're adding a bit of an indie rock edge to our sound. I used to produce a lot of different artists and bands ranging over a lot of different genres and styles, so we really enjoy experimenting with different sounds and can't just stick to one vibe. I feel like we'll always be “finding our sound” as our music tastes are constantly evolving.
What's been the most significant change in your life over the past year?
We want to grow as songwriters, and we want to be refining our craft constantly, but you can't always please everyone. A musical hook that might be the most exciting thing for one listener might be the most annoying thing to another listener. So we've been learning just to trust our instincts a lot more and recognize that we're not gonna please everyone. But it's the most rewarding feeling when you spend so much time refining, rewriting and editing a song behind closed doors and finally release this extraordinarily intimate and personal song only to find that it resonates with someone else and they connect with it. Those are the most special and encouraging moments for us.
What's your best touring story?
Well, we're pretty fresh into this latest tour, but we got a parking ticket in Toronto a couple of nights ago while loading in our gear, which is always so much fun! I was pretty bummed about it, but we had a great show. There was this one guy that came up to us after who was a big fan of “Don't Know” and recognized that I was wearing the same toque that night as in our music video. He was like, “Can I buy your toque? I gotta have it!” Initially, I was like, “No man, I love this toque, plus it's just soaked in my sweat. It's gross; you don't want it.” But after a little bit of fun haggling I caved, and now we were able to pay off the ticket, and I got a new toque to sweat in—and then maybe sell at another tour date. Who knows, maybe we'll make it a new merch item now? Thanks, toque guy!