Hope is a dangerous thing. On the one hand, when we’re lower than we’ve ever been before, it gives us something to cling to. On the other, when we set high expectations we’re almost always disappointed, with no formula or logic behind the cruel barbs that we’re dealt from life. Such is the paradox that informed the new record from Palaye Royale, aptly titled Fever Dream in a nod to representing an escape from the darkness. Penned during the pandemic, the full-length weaves through a turnaround from defeatism to resilience almost too familiar to all that have lived through the past few years. To dive deeper into the fourth studio album from the acclaimed trio of brothers known for their unique brand of rock, we caught up with frontman Remington Leith.
You have a song on this record called ‘No Love in LA’, which touches on the artifice of LA and the industry. Have you seen this permeate our music scene specifically?
Not so much the rock scene. I just feel like there’s a lot of music in the world, you know, and music’s subjective and it’s art – but we’re in a day and age where Tik Tok is kind of ruling everything and I feel like it’s taking the artistry out of music. It’s all of these two minute tracks that are the only things that are getting played on the radio. And so many artists are making these beautiful longer songs that no one’s really paying attention to, because it’s not a Tik Tok friendly format. So in that way, I feel like it’s kind of ruining music in a way, taking the artistry out of it, and everyone’s just like, designing albums around this 30 second app platform. And that’s not how it should be – it should be coming from your heart. There are so many incredible acts and incredible bands with incredible music that aren’t really seeing the light of day, just because it’s not two minutes. It’s kind of ridiculous. Hopefully that changes.
Does it ever feel like a sacrifice? Like you could step into that world and write to that, take the easy route?
I mean we could definitely step into that and we don’t have the number one song on Billboard right now, but what we do have is these incredible fans that do listen to our music and that show up to the shows and take the time out of their day to be in a room and watch us play. And that is so much more fucking valuable than, you know, a like on Tik Tok or on an Instagram post. If you can get someone out of their house and into a room to spend their money at a concert, that’s the most fucking valuable thing in the world. So in that sense, you know, we’re growing. Every time we play a show and when we play a city, we come back and play to more people. I feel like we don’t need to bullshit because somehow it’s working, and guess what? If it takes longer, it fucking takes longer. And I’m happy with that.
It absolutely is working, and your music is very healing for a lot of people. Given that a lot of your community finds solace in it, do you feel like you have a responsibility to your fans to write something that they can escape into? Or is it resonating just an added bonus?
I think the most important thing with our songwriting is just being honest with ourselves and when we are honest with ourselves and just tell the truth, I feel like that’s when you can truly save somebody. You know, that’s when music is really healing, when you’re honest with yourself and when you’re truthful with your own lyrics and talk about your own experiences, that’s the stuff that people can see is real.
For sure, I agree. The whole concept of this album is centred on the idea of the Fever Dream. Is life the fever dream? Are we escaping into it?
The concept of that is, obviously over the past couple of years, it felt like a fever dream for everyone, but we also wanted to make sure that…The fever dream to us is, there’s so much pain and there’s so much darkness and so much just shit in the world, but we wanna make sure that people know you can always find some sort of silver lining in it, you know? Even at your rock bottom, at your fucking lowest point, you can still try to find a way out and find that one glimmer of hope. That’s what we’re trying to say with this record. I know we’ve been dark with our albums in the past, but this is one where we still touch on the tough subjects and stuff. But we just wanted to let people know that there’s always gonna be a little bit of hope in the world and we wanna focus on that a little bit more.
There are some songs that are quite bleak, especially ‘Wasted Sorrow’. What inspired that?
We were going through a dark period, and that was one of the first songs we actually wrote for the record. The beginning lyrics are pretty much talking about partying too hard. And I kind of wrote it from the perspective of a corpse, you know, that took it one step further and he couldn’t take it back. And so it was almost kinda like this warning song, you know? Just be careful…With the people that you surround yourself with or the drugs or the alcoho,l because one night you could take something too far and that’s one step you can’t ever take back.
That definitely makes sense. If we’re talking about the light at the end of the tunnel or having hope when it gets dark, what is that hope for you? Where is it you want to be where it would feel like you achieved what you wanted?
For the longest time my answer would be Grammys, selling out stadiums and stuff. But my answer has changed over the past couple of years – just getting to do this right now is fucking crazy. If I can continue to write and just be close with my family, like with my two brothers and tour the world together and fucking just be happy and making music together…that’s the most important thing, you know? I’m not so much focused on the end goal as trying to focus on being a little bit better mentally. It’s so easy just to focus on that end goal and to be like, “Okay, when I sell out a stadium, then I’ll be happy. When I win a Grammy, then I’ll be complete.” But right now, I’m just focusing on enjoying creating with my brothers and getting to play what we create every night for these incredible fans. I just wanna do that forever.