Interview: Tribe Royal Are Ready as Ever for the Big Stage


Tribe Royal is a four-piece band from Ottawa formed in 2014 who cannot be placed in a box. The band explores all sorts of nooks and crannies within the rock genre with zero reservation. Another thing that really helps the band stand out is it features three vocalist who all bring very different singing styles and influences to the table. This has lead to the band generating quite a bit of buzz while touring and releasing a couple of records along the way.

We caught up with songwriter, singer, guitarist, and pianist for the group Terry O’Brien to chat about the band and their upcoming performance on the main stage at Bluesfest. Check out the interview below and have a listen to the band before you catch them rocking Bluesfest at 6:00 PM on Thursday July 6th.

1.You have been playing Ottawa now for more than three years, but for those who don’t know you guys, can you please describe your sound?

We’re a mix of modern and vintage inspired rock. A little throwback, rootsy and even edgy at times. There’s elements of folk as well as americana with a focus on melodic songwriting and vocal harmonies. The spectrum of genres we touch on is pretty wide and we definitely love to explore.

2.What drives that interest in the sounds and influence from decades past?

The physical connection to the instruments and music that allows us to express ourselves is really what drives it. There’s no feeling quite like performing music with a group of your closest friends, there really is a magical aspect to it. Part of the influence comes from our parents and what we were exposed to at a young age. There’s an unmatched warmth to the way things were done back in the day. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy new music, things are just done a little differently.

3.What have been some of your highlights a long the way over the last couple of years?

Creating, recording and performing music with our best pals. Travelling has definitely been a highlight. We’ve been out to the east coast a few times now as a band and there’s just something about the ocean and the overall vibe out there that keeps calling us back. You really learn a lot about each other and about life in general when you’re travelling the country living out of a trailer with six people. Meeting and hanging out with interesting people has always been a highlight for us. It’s so cool to hear someone’s story and trade experiences. It really makes everything worthwhile when we see people connecting with our music and it keeps the love of creating and performing burning strong.

4. What was it like participating in Shot in the Dark?

(Shot in the Dark is a live on the floor video session hosted by Gallery Recording and JustPixl which brings together the Ottawa music community)
It was a lot of fun, very liberating. We had been looking to film a high quality live video for quite some time so it was perfect for us. There was definitely some sort of pressure to get a good take but we were really happy with how we played. We recorded our latest record at Gallery Studio with Dean Watson so it was cool to be back and recording a live version of one of our singles in the same space. I would definitely recommend it to any artist considering Shot In The Dark.

5.What was your reaction when you found out you would not only be playing Bluesfest, but be opening for Sam Roberts?

When we got the email it was pretty overwhelming. It’s quite an honour to be sharing the stage with one of our idols and we’re really excited about it. It has been quite the journey to get to this point and it’s a huge step forward for us.

6.Have you been planning anything special or doing any game planning for being on the big stage?

We’ve practiced a few times. We’ll tune our guitars, do some hip rotations, and hit the stage ready as ever. But in all seriousness we’ve got a few things prepared for the big show..

7.What else does the band have in store for this summer and the rest of 2017?

After Bluesfest we’re hitting the road for our third east coast summer tour. We’ll be gone for almost a month and it’s always something we look forward to. After that we’re lining up some shows for the fall and talking about going out west with maybe some recording in there as well. We’ll see what happens but it’s looking like it’s going to be busy for us!