These Streets are Royal

The Royal Streets are heading off on their third Eastern Canadian tour this Spring • PHOTO C/O THE ROYAL STREETS
The Royal Streets are heading off on their third Eastern Canadian tour this Spring • PHOTO C/O THE ROYAL STREETS

Gregory O’Brien

Hailing from Kitchener-Waterloo’s paved cityscape and fresh off the release of their first studio album Kings and Queen, The Royal Streets are buzzing into Canada’s music scene with folkish charm, foot-tapping rhythm and vocal melodies that beg for you to sing along.

Friends for as long as they can remember, Algernon Friolet (vocals/guitar), Michael Demsey (guitar) Jillian Dowding (vocals), Eric Stirtzinger (guitar), and Samuel Keating (drummer) became The Royal Streets, when they recently all reunited in KW after a spell apart.

“The band officially formed in November of 2012” said Stirtzinger, sharing a glimpse into their musical birth. “We have all known each other as friends and musicians through attending the same high school. But, it wasn’t till later that together we formed The Royal Streets.”

After a few months of experimenting and honing their sound, the band added a finishing touch – Keating, the drummer. They haven’t looked back since.

“I would say we got where we are today on a steady build during our first full year as a band based on trial and error, experimentation, and sheer determination to make music we love to play,” said Stirtzinger. “I think I can speak for the band when I say we are very proud with where we are, how we’ve gotten here.”

“Our sound comes from the experiences we have together, and what we grew up on,” said Dowding. “Even if the references aren’t apparent to everyone, its Kitchener-Waterloo that made and continues to make us who we are.”

On March 6, The Royal Streets released their first album, Kings and Queen. Recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, and produced with the help of the talented Dan Hosh, Kings and Queen represents an ambitious and thematically driven accomplishment for the band.

”We wanted the record to be our official ‘welcome to the world’ calling card. If someone asks, who are The Royal Streets, we would want the response to be ‘check out Kings and Queen, that’s who they are’,” said Stirtzinger. “It’s simple – we wanted to sound like us. We have a unique sound that we all love and that’s what we wanted to capture.”

Stirtzinger describes the group’s sound as elegantly cohesive musicianship with beautifully crushing vocals.

Fans would agree. The Royal Streets have crafted an album and a band, drawing on influences from Arkells, Said the Whale, and The Lumineers, presenting folk rock that feels close to home, yet carries a sound that is uniquely their own. It’s that sound that will take them back on the road across Ontario and Eastern Canada this spring.

“We’ve just completed two and are preparing to leave for our third Eastern Canadian Tour. That includes most of the major cities from Waterloo to Halifax with a few special stops in between,” Friolet said. “We can’t wait to show all our easterly friends what we’ve been up to.”

For The Royal Streets, making music and bringing it to their fans is more than just a moment on the stage – it’s an unforgettable experience shared by everyone touched by the moment.

“The first time I ever heard a crowd sing our lyrics back, we did a sold-out show in Waterloo where everyone seemed pretty into the set. About halfway through, we played “Some Think,” which was the first single off the record and the first song from the record we’d shown anybody, and as soon as we hit the chorus the whole front row sang it right back at us. It was awesome and weird and transcendental,” said Keating.

The Royal Streets play music to let your mind get taken away with, and if you let them, you just might enjoy going along for the ride.

Catch The Royal Streets on their next tour, at Maxwell’s Music House in Waterloo on May 3.