Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: AUGUST ROYALS

The newcomer gets candid on being discovered by Kevin Abstract and his biggest influences.

August Royals
August Royals

August Royals is exploring every music genre in new EP “Inhaler”. From pop, to R&B and punk, the nine-track record is as experimental as it comes, brimming with reflective lyrics and catchy beats. His latest single, “Crash” produced by Rihanna and Demi Lovato’s favorite Oak Felder, marks the second episode of “Inhaler’s” accompanying music videos. Designed to be presented as a TV show, each single leaves viewers with a satisfying cliffhanger, wondering what’s going to happen next.

Born in Georgia and based in Los Angeles, August had music on his horizons from an early age. “I answered one of those prompts of ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ in Pre-K with ‘Singer/ Rapper’. After posting a snippet of his song “Restless” to his socials back in 2019, he caught the world’s attention and was shortly discovered by Kevin Abstract at a Shawn Mendes concert, leading him to sign with RCA Records. Since then it’s been an upwards rollercoaster with lockdown providing August with the push he needed to work on EP “Inhaler”, his first solo project. “As I started writing with more intention and experimenting, the process became easier.”

With the rest of the episodes on their way, we caught up with August to chat mental health, his biggest influences and life in LA.

Hey August! How are you? How has this past year been for you?

Hi, I’d say I’m doing the best I can! I hope you’re doing well. As for the past year it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve spent the last year working on my debut project Inhaler and to say the least it’s been one of the most challenging, but stimulating things I’ve ever done. It’s definitely kept me busy.

With everything that happened last year, was your creativity affected in anyway?
100%, I like to create based on current life experience and being stuck indoors made me really have to dig into a different mindset. It was taxing for sure, but ultimately it gave me the push I needed to start working on a solo project and get my shit together. As I started writing with more intention and experimenting, the process became easier.

How did you first get into music? What sparked the interest?
That’s a bit of a grey area for me, I answered one of those prompts of “what I want to be when I grow up” in Pre-K with “Singer/Rapper” so I was always interested in music from a really early age. I started to take it seriously when I started posting short snippets of originals. If I wrote a verse or chorus I was proud of, you’d find it posted somewhere online within minutes. My career really started though when I posted a snippet of this song I wrote called “Restless”. That was was the first time I had eyes on me in the music industry

You’re based in LA which is a melting pot of culture and music, how do you think being there impacts your sound?
It keeps me extremely inspired and encourages me to explore the unknown. I love living in Los Angeles and all it has to offer. There’s always somebody emerging in the music scene and it keeps me on my toes. Being here has allowed me to meet so many different artists and producers who have done so many cool things, and it just is a constant reminder that I’m nowhere close to where I want to be. My biggest fear in music is just simply having a hit and I see artists like that come and go all the time in this city. I want longevity and to engrave my art into pop culture and I think spectating in first person other careers here helps me navigate my decisions creatively, making sure I’m not just a knock-off of something someone else has already done.

You originally started off songwriting, what made you want to make the jump to an artist?
I feel like I’ve let a lot of mental health problems dictate my courage and confidence in life. Being a frontman has always been terrifying, especially the idea of becoming a famous one. Believe it or not, I hate attention. I realized though, if I didn’t take a gamble on myself I might hate myself years down the road. I’m very passionate towards self-growth and working on myself and that comes from being stuck in a low place. Nearly all my life I was masking it with substances and a fake smile. As I started working on myself I realized there’s probably millions of other people doing the same thing. So part of the jump to becoming an artist is hoping to reach those people and also just aiming to bring some joy into a person’s life. If I leave the world a better place than it was before I got here, then it was all worth it.

And you’ve just dropped your second single “Crash” talk us through the production process! The visuals are insane! What was filming the video like?
Oak Felder and his team are incredible, I walked in and said I wanted something that had a dark undertone with a heavy chorus. I started talking to co-writer Sebastian Kole about some of the things in my life I was going through and before you know it, that night we finished “Crash”. As for the video, It was a surreal experience. I realized I wanted “Inhaler” to be something more bigger than just a body of songs. This encouraged me to try acting out. I thought it’d be cool to roll out my first project with the music videos serving as supplementary episodes telling a linear story instead of traditional performance music videos. I want it to feel like a tv show where you’re wondering what’s going to happen in the next video. That encouraged me to write the storyline for the Crash video which will feed into the next one and so-on.

You were discovered by Kevin Abstract at a Shawn Mendes concert, how did this happen?
We both had floor passes at one of Shawn’s shows in LA and people were chatting with Kevin after the show had just ended so I decided to walk up and ask him who he was. That turned into us being friends so yeah, thanks Shawn!

And you’re about to drop your debut EP in November, what can we expect from the project?
Well it’s a 9 song project so I gave myself room to explore my sound. There’s alternative pop music, an R&B hip-hop-infused track, sappy love songs, 80’s inspired pop, and even a pop/punk record. I didn’t want to box myself into one genre so I just had fun with the process and tried things. The music style definitely jumps around, but I like to think it does that in the best ways. It is my first project after all. When I listen to the tracklist, two completely different styled songs still sound like me at the end of the day which I love. I just explored everything I was into and made it my own.

Who would you cite as your inspirations?
That’s a really hard question…Mac Miller definitely encouraged me to do a deep dive into my more reflective lyrics but his pen game has me beat. I’ll get there someday. Alicia Keys, 1975, Harry Styles, The Weeknd, Dominic Fike, there’s so many it just depends on the day I guess

What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
I’m super stoked for the visual side of “Inhaler”, I can’t wait to share more music videos. That was a creative side of me I didn’t know I had. I also found out through this process I really love acting so maybe that will play a role in my life at some point. And just getting back in the studio. I guess overall I’m just excited for life, I haven’t really been able to say that before so that’s pretty tight. This project has certainly lived up to its title.

Words
Mary McCartan
NEW NOISE: AUGUST ROYALS

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