Want to see a vampire, a pirate, and a gentleman playing rock and roll together? No need to travel to a fantasy dimension; just go to the Palaye Royale show. Brothers Remington Leith, Emerson Barrett, and Sebastian Danzig acquired their nicknames from their fans (a.k.a. “the Soldiers of the Royal Council”) because of their respective fashion senses, but their style is just one of many reasons they stand out. Listen to the songs on Boom Boom Room, a double album released in two parts, and you’ll fall in love with their dramatic storytelling; see them live and you’ll be stunned by their fast-paced antics.
Since their rise to stardom in the scene, the boys have been busy. In addition to releasing sides A and B of Boom Boom Room, the band was tied to the soundtrack of Ash Avildsen’s modern-day Faust film American Satan in 2017. They’ve also been on several tours, including Warped Tour in 2016 and 2018. Now, they’re in the middle of The Funeral Tour.
When I caught up with Sebastian in Baltimore, he had recently made headlines—in the words of Alt Press, he was “arrested after throwing coffee to protect [his] dog.” We chatted about the incident; we also talked about the inspiration behind single “Dying in a Hot Tub,” the future of the band, and the boys’ Disney Channel past.
TYF: You guys just started this tour. Do you have any favorite tour memories so far?
Sebastian Danzig: I was arrested production day, the day before the first show. So yeah, that’s a memory. (Laughs)
TYF: For sure.
Danzig: I spent four hours in jail, I went to court, I got charged with assault with a deadly weapon…
TYF: Yeah, I watched that play out on Instagram.
Danzig: It was not fun. My dog was running across the street. I picked her up. A car tried to hit me. I threw my coffee at his car. And for some reason in the state of Massachusetts, throwing a coffee at a car is a deadly weapon, not [trying to hit someone] with a car.
TYF: Oh, my gosh.
Danzig: It was not fun. And I was very compliant with the cops. Never tell the cops the truth, because it fucks you. I told the truth and it was like, nope. Got in trouble.
TYF: Wow, that’s awful—but you’re here now; the tour goes on. You guys released Boom Boom Room, Side B recently. What’s the relationship between A and B, exactly? Were they written around the same time? Is it a thematic thing?
Danzig: All those songs besides “Dying in a Hot Tub” and “You’ll Be Fine,” we wrote before we even got signed. So in a lot of the lyrics, like in “Death Dance” and “Hospital Beds,” Remington’s talking about being 19—that’s six years ago. It’s weird to be playing songs from childhood—basically from childhood. We wrote all these songs before we even got a record deal, before we even toured. So these are stories from before we really even experienced life. It’s nice doing The Funeral Tour and concluding this era of it, because we’ve grown up in the past six years, and [yet] we’ve been doing the same thing.
TYF: Yeah. So this tour is “the funeral” for this era?
Danzig: Eh… It’s tough to say. We’re kind of over the cycle of how things are treated when you’re a touring musician. It’s the same thing every time. The shows, those hours… The hour of being on stage is the best part. Everything else sucks. There needs to be a better way of doing things, you know? Using your time more wisely.
TYF: I feel that. You mentioned “Dying in a Hot Tub”; I was going to ask you about that one. How’d you get the inspiration for the title?
Danzig: So one of our best friends, he shot the music videos for “Get Higher” and “Morning Light”… We always used to party at his fiancée’s house, and she had a hot tub, and he almost died in the hot tub. But the lyrics of the song are more about him going from this really fun-loving person to this shitty person in the sense of drugs and alcohol and substance abuse. And so it means a lot. It’s a very ironic title, but it has a silver lining to it.
TYF: Got it. You guys go by the nicknames “the Vampire, the Pirate, and the Gentleman.” How’d you come up with that?
Danzig: The fans did. It was funny; we just adopted it.
TYF: Years and years ago, you guys were called Kropp Circle, right? I actually listened to you guys all the way back then.
Danzig: Really! That’s funny.
TYF: Yeah, it’s crazy. How did Kropp Circle become Palaye Royale? At what point did you decide to change it up?
Danzig: We went through puberty. (Laughs) You know what I mean? When you’re that young and you hear you can be on Disney Channel, you’re like, “Absolutely; that’s the coolest thing in the world.” As a kid, you watch Disney Channel and Nickelodeon; those are the only two outlets. So it was a really cool thing to do with that time in our life. That was our college, the way I look at it. I was able to travel the world and play massive shows and really understand what I want in this life. So it was a good little [time], but very public.
TYF: I feel that. Is there any non-musical art that has inspired the recent albums—movies, books, et cetera?
Danzig: They were really influenced by poetry and films and everything, because we didn’t really have any understanding of what personal life was, in the sense of experiences. “Dying in a Hot Tub” was the only connection to an actual personal experience. The rest of it was just manipulated things that we thought of from watching documentaries, watching films, creating a life out of that. Now that we’re past that point, it’s really exciting for us to head into the direction of the new songs we’ve been playing live that are actually us telling stories about ourselves.
TYF: Yeah. Any particular films?
Danzig: We were really into any Stanley Kubrick stuff…. We were into Enter the Void… A Clockwork Orange. All that stuff that kind of puts you in a different headspace when you’re done watching it.
TYF: Speaking of the void, in your song “Love the Void,” you sing, “moonchild.” Is that a reference to The NeverEnding Story?
Danzig: Probably we did it unconsciously… We started referencing “moonchild” when we did The Ends Beginning, our first EP. So it was nice to tie in something from an EP that we did before The Boom Boom Roomeven came out.
TYF: You mentioned telling stories that weren’t necessarily about your personal life. “Mr. Doctor Man,” “Sick Boy Soldier”—are those characters that you invented?
Danzig: Yeah, they were just characters. It was all things we were storyboarding and making up.
TYF: You guys worked with Kellin Quinn on “Ma Chérie”; how did that happen?
Danzig: He stalked us on Twitter and hit us up. He was like, “I would love to work with you guys,” so we showed him “Ma Chérie,” and he was like, “I’d love to sing on it.”
TYF: If you could collab with another artist, who would you work with?
Danzig: I like Tyler the Creator. Billie Eilish is cool. Lana Del Ray. There’s a lot of good music people out there.
TYF: Yeah. And why is “Warhol” called “Warhol”? I’ve always wondered about that.
Danzig: We were really obsessed with Andy Warhol. It’s funny—for the next chapter of our life, Warhol stars are such a reference… Warhol stars in his era were people that he used to photograph or take videos of a lot. I’m really excited to get into the next world, because it explains Emerson’s whole comic book, and it’s this whole elaborate story he wrote up.
TYF: So the next chapter of Palaye Royale is going to be all about delving into that?
Danzig: It’s so fucking crazy. I can’t even put it into words. It’s over the course of six volumes of a comic book. So yeah, it’s a lot. But it’s cool because we’re getting obsessed with the art again versus just the touring cycle.
TYF: Which is awesome. You guys were involved with American Satan recently. How did that come about? What was that like?
Danzig: The producer and the director wanted someone to replace Andy’s voice, because they weren’t a fan of his voice for the movie.
TYF: I thought that was really fascinating. I was watching the movie last night, and it was so strange hearing Remington’s voice coming out of Andy.
Danzig: Yeah. The movie picture house heard Remington’s vocals and wanted to use them.
TYF: You guys all have an amazing fashion sense. Where do you get your clothes?
Danzig: Originally, we used to steal from old women. When we moved to Los Angeles, we had this band house that was on the outside of Beverly Hills. And when we would go to bars, we wouldn’t go to Hollywood, because it was too far; we would go to Beverly Hills, and it was all old ladies in the sixties and seventies. They were like, “Oh, you guys are so cool! Come take some of our clothes!” But now, we don’t do that anymore. (Laughs) There’s a lot of cool designers throughout the world, and they make us clothes.
TYF: Finally, is there anything else that you want to say to the fans and the readers?
Danzig: We’re truly thankful. I remember driving my car, being in Baltimore… This was our second tour after being signed. I remember pulling up in our SUV and loading our gear in—and now it’s full circle, and we’re playing the same venue, and headlining, and selling a lot of tickets. And people are here. I’m so thankful my dreams are becoming reality because of the fans. You know, not many people can say they’ve achieved their dreams, and it’s nice. I have so much more I want to do, obviously, but I see the daily steps happening, and it’s truly because of the fans.