By Glen Erikson
EDMONTON – How does a nice church-raised couple out of Sherwood Park get married, form a band, then transition from a banjo-slinging folk-pop duo to a jet-setting synth-pop band knocking on the door of international acclaim, all in four years? The list of milestones in the short career of Jared and Bethany Salte’s The Royal Foundry are enviable and inspiring to those craving hometown examples of how to make a career in music in the blue collar north.
The August 2017 release of Lost in Your Head has been met with critical acclaim, following a successful trajectory paved by a handful of singles. It also follows their successful 2014 breakthrough Wherever We Go – which iTunes lists as “traditional folk.” Where did this sound take a turn? Why would one make such a change?
“There were a lot of things that led to that conversion all at once,” explains Jared, one half of the founding duo.
“My previous band had a lot of alternative, electro songs, so it was just a natural progression, it wasn’t a big jump for me. The first song we wrote at that time which carried that vibe was
“Running Away,” which we weren’t even sure was going to be a Royal Foundry song.”
That song ended up in the Top 30 of Canadian Alternative charts, and received a feature placement in TSN’s CFL promotions.
The band followed that up with the single “Dreamers,” which was picked up for Disney’s 2017 Wedding Dress Fashion Line, then “Start This Fire” was placed in a Purina commercial and their latest singles “Never Have Time” and “All We Have” are receiving airplay and charting across the country. Diving into synth-driven electro-pop has paid off it seems, as they have also secured a publishing deal with Peermusic, and find themselves frequently in Chicago, New York or Nashville (where BeatRoute caught up with them), writing songs and showcasing.
“The first album was the first folk songs I had ever written,” elaborates Jared, identifying the first album as the actual anomaly.
Lost in Your Head is not a guitar album, it’s a synth album. It fits nicely in the pocket of recent Coldplay territory, with some eclectic Arcade Fire moments. It is melody-first writing, wrapped in danceable, memorable beats and textures that require volume and space. Jared also wears the producer hat in the band, but writing this album included collaborating with outside producers for the first time. Bethany explains the process; “We began working with one producer who really polished a number of our songs, which was really exciting.”
Jared continues, “Six of the songs, the dancey songs, were co-produced by Samuel Hanson and the rest produced by us.”
The focus on consolidating and polishing these 13 tracks has paid off. The group is a role model for how to succeed in today’s music economy via publishing and placements and performing. Album sales don’t pay the bills, but great songs get placed in ads, in soundtracks and sold to other artists. It’s a global economy and Lost in Your Head is a signpost firmly planted in Alberta for other regional artists pointing to new opportunities.
The Royal Foundry performs at the Needle Vinyl Tavern on October 15 (Edmonton) for an all-ages show with guests Belle Game and Dylan Ella.Lost in Your Head, Needle Vinyl Tavern