Put it all in the genre blender and set it to pop.
That’s been the recent motto for Vancouver’s Royal Oak and their no-holds-barred take on hooky alt-pop. Drawing inspiration from pop-punk, EDM, 80s synth-pop, hip hop, and everything in between, the four-piece has captured the maximalist energy of their anything-goes live show and distilled it into a string of high-gloss pop singles.
But it wasn’t always like this. The band—made up of childhood friends Austin Ledyard, Brayson Wong, Myles Philpott, and Michael Kragelj—made their debut in 2015 with a self-titled indie record. A seven-song meander through moody soundscapes, the record made waves in the local scene, landing the quartet opening slots for notable Canadian acts like Hey Ocean!, Ivory Hours, and HAWKING.
2017 saw the release of their LP Younger and a Western Canadian tour; 2018, not to be overshadowed, brought the 5-track EP Pretend, a partnership with producer Ryan Worsley (Dear Rouge, Said the Whale), and a month-long cross-Canada outing. Three singles throughout 2019 and 2020—along with another Canadian tour—kept the slow and steady ascent going.
These days, the momentum is anything but slow. A recent run of songs—2020’s “Steal My Hoodie” and 2021’s “Yearbook”, “End of the Night” (featured on Hockey Night in Canada), and “Run Into the Night”—has seen the band make strides online and onstage. Between live and virtual festival appearances (including 2021’s eMusic Live From Vancouver with Said the Whale), a slot opening for New Zealand superstars Six60, and a successful showcase at Canadian Music Week 2022, Royal Oak has amassed over 400,000 streams and a loyal following around the world.
For the band, like for many, the pandemic was a period of forced hibernation and reflection. But now, Royal Oak is slowly revealing their most ambitious project to date: A self-produced album shaped almost exclusively over Zoom, masterfully mixed by 4x Juno-nominee Brandon Unis (Karl Wolf, Shawnee Kish, FIONN).