Checking in with Fayetteville band, Bootleg Royale

Bootleg Royale / Courtesy

Fayetteville-based band Bootleg Royale is one of a handful of bands in Fayetteville that has been able to release new music this year despite the pandemic.

The band consists of three guys; Kyle Enneking (guitar, vocals), Jacob Robison (bass, vocals), and Garrett Bray (drums, vocals), and their music pulls inspiration from jazz, rock, and country to create a unique sound.

The trio released a new self-titled EP back in March and have been performing steadily locally at venues around the region this summer.

They’re scheduled to perform in town this fall as part of the Sept. First Thursday celebration on Sept. 2 on the Fayetteville square.

After finding their music and listening to their EP, we reached out to ask them some questions, and they graciously answered them.

What is the band’s origin story?

Jacob: We basically came together through friends of friends. Kyle and Garrett met a few times, and then Kyle had contacted me to come to play bass. I had already had a few sessions with Kyle a couple of years before and knew the kind of music it would be and could not say no. Kyle has a great back catalog of original songs that we’ve been bringing to life the whole time while also writing new music together.

What have you guys been listening to lately?

Kyle: Murder Of Universe by King Gizzard, the new Tyler The Creator album Call Me If You Get Lost and generally revisiting Andrew Bird’s discography.

Garrett: I’ve been listening to more of Bahamas, Jeff Parker, and it’s hard to avoid a daily loop of White Denim.

Jacob: I agree with the loop of White Denim for sure. Probably my favorite modern band. I usually start my day with them or my own Beatles/solo McCartney playlist. I know we collectively love Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly.

How has the pandemic affected the band?

Bootleg Royale: At first, we took the initial first few weeks off, and since we all were either working from home or quarantined, we decided to keep meeting up. We usually rehearse four days a week for about 4-5 hours, so cutting that time off was very uncomfortable creatively. We just stayed as diligent as we could on our safety and health to be able to keep going but weren’t without our potential scares and resorted to taking a few breaks to avoid getting everyone sick. We finished recording our EP at East Hall Studio in Fayetteville with Chris Moore, who was so much fun. We’re actually about to be back at East Hall for the next record.

How does it feel to play shows again?

Bootleg Royale: We are so happy to finally be performing again! We had just started in the spring of 2019 and began booking a lot that fall/winter. Then obviously, the pandemic slowed things for us and everyone else, show-wise. Thankfully all of our shows this year have been outside, with plenty of room for everyone to feel comfortable. Even live-streamed every now and then. We’re planning a lot for the year ahead.

Favorite thing to do after a show?

Bootleg Royale: Hit a brewery/bar or find the nearest restaurant and review the set we just played for laughs.

What has changed or remained the same over the past year?

Bootleg Royale: I’d say our mutual work ethic has pretty much been the constant adhesive throughout the last two years. Regardless of whether we’re writing, rehearsing, performing, or doing pre-production work at home, we don’t want to stop.

How did you start writing the EP? What was the process like?

Jacob: Well, as I said before, Kyle had a library of original music before Garrett and myself came into the picture. So we picked 5 that we thought would shine through for a first release. We did a single first entirely at home and wanted the actual album to be real studio work. After meticulously honing tempos and cues, we recorded live as a basic trio and then overdubbed keys, harmonies, additional instrumentation. Kyle is educated in audio engineering as well, so that was a tremendous advantage for us. We already have demos in the works for the next one and new ideas buzzing.

What is your favorite song to perform on the new EP?

Bootleg Royale: Collectively, Loretta.

Has living in Arkansas influenced your music?

Kyle: Definitely it has. It affected the music I grew up listening to, so it naturally influenced my writing. While it’s not the centerpiece of our sound, that southern sound definitely pokes through in plenty of our original material. All of our parents have a pretty similar music taste, so that’s probably where it comes from.

What (in your opinion) is the best album of all time?

Jacob: My vote goes to Aja by Steely Dan.

Garret: Sketches Of Brunswick East by Gizz, for sure.

Kyle: Such a tough question, but I guess I’d pick Last Day Of Summer by White Denim. There’s so much to listen to on that record.

Are there any new plans for the band this year?

Bootleg Royale: Float on the river some more and work to release our next EP. We’re stretching our wings and heading out of town as much as we can. We’re playing at AdaFest in Ada, OK, this August.

Watch Bootleg Royale perform Octopi Wall Street