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Buffalo music spotlight: Royal Tongues

With some solid buzz circulating throughout the indie music blogosphere over the last couple of months for the single “The Balance," local synth pop twosome Royal Tongues, is prepping for the release of its debut EP, “Patterns and Shapes,” set to drop on March 10. The pair, comprising Justin Gammella and Aaron Bonus, originally started as a production company, Like A Parrot Productions.

“Aaron and I met for a writing session to write a song for his band at the time,” explained Gammella. “We got a song done in a day and knew we had instant chemistry. We got together again and wrote some songs, one of them being 'The Balance,' and we knew we had something special. So we decided to start our production company, Like A Parrot Productions.”

It was through the production company that Royal Tongues (think fellow soaring synth poppers Passion Pit and Grouplove) was born. As Gammella and Bonus wrote songs covering a variety of genres, the two found a clear sound coming across a handful of tracks, enough to create an EP, leading to the creation of Royal Tongues.

Despite the two starting a live project, Like A Parrot keeps up business as normal.

“We are using the Like A Parrot name when we produce and song write with/for other artists and bands. It's similar to what Bruno Mars and his team do when they produce. They go by The Smeazingtons.”

In the fall of 2014, when Royal Tongues officially formed, the group re-released “The Balance” single, along with a handful of remixes of the track, all of which generated a great deal of listens on the band’s SoundCloud page, from acts like Savoir Adore, X Ambassadors and even Ra Ra Riot.

“We are friends or had mutual friends/contacts with those artists. We showed them "The Balance" prior to its release and asked them if they wanted to be part of the remix EP. They all gladly accepted and each made great remixes that I and (I believe) our fans really enjoy.”

When it came down to recording “Patterns and Shapes,” Royal Tongues stuck to its home studio in the Elmwood Village, one whose restrictions, Gammella said, may have been a blessing in disguise.

“Our home studio is very minimal (mostly for fiscal reasons), so we have to be smart with what we can and cannot do in there. Because of these limitations, it forced us to think creatively and approach songs differently than how we used to. One of the big things that ended up happening was us using drum samples just because I am unable to record drums properly, but I think that it's a big part of our sound now. Using drum samples encouraged us to use more synths [for example], and we mix that with organic sounds (pianos, guitars, acoustic drum kits, etc.). Basically, what I'm trying to say is that my studio being so lo-fi it ended up creating our sound.”

Royal Tongues will celebrate the release of “Patterns and Shapes” at 6 p.m. March 13 in the Studio @ Waiting Room with support that includes Parade Chic and American Low. Further event info can be found here. Following the EP release, the band has a spring and summer tour in the works, along with a proper full length set to drop later this year.

Listen to “Higher,” the second single from “Patterns and Shapes,” below.

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