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Interview:
The Upbeat: Royal Hoax
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Formed: Early 2010 in Waterford Township

The sound: Modern rock

Members: Jake Hoke, vocals and bass (Waterford); Mark Hoke, guitar, keyboards and vocals (Waterford); Elijah Nelson, drums (Pontiac)

Influences: Phoenix, the Kooks and, according to Nelson, “a lot of European rock that we listen to, a lot of emerging groups combining electronic and acoustic sounds that we’re really trying to grab onto.

Day Jobs: The Hoke brothers work at VIP Fitness in Clarkston, while Nelson is a server at Mr. B’s Roadhouse, also in Clarkston.

What’s in Name? Nelson says he brought the Royal part of the band’s name — “It brought about a feeling we wanted to have with our image and stuff. It’s just a cool word,” he explains — while Hoax is a play on the Hokes’ surname, much to Nelson’s chagrin. “I was totally against it, to be honest. I feel a little not included, my name being Nelson. But it ended up working, and they still assure me that it has nothing to do with their last name, even though I know that’s not true ... ”

Rising from the Ashes: Prior to Royal Hoax the Hokes and Nelson were part of the band Breathing Underwater, which achieved a level of notoriety around the Detroit metro area and in the Midwest. “We were all kind of unhappy with the direction of the music and our sound in general,” Nelson says. “We didn’t think it had a whole lot of lasting potential, so after a couple conversations with me and Jake and Jake and his brother, we decided to do this new thing we believe in more.”

Serving with Songs: Royal Hoax is continuing Breathing Underwater’s annual Rock 4 Hunger Tour, a partnership with Gleaners Community Food Bank that began in 2008 and involves performances at area high schools and middle schools. The drive has led to more than 20,000 meals so far, and Royal Hoax, which is currently booking shows, has set a goal of 40,000 more meals in 2011. “It works out nicely for both of us,” Nelson says. “It’s good exposure to us, and we’re able to raise a lot of money and a lot of meals for them. It’s very rewarding.”

Hear ’em: Royal Hoax is finishing its first full-length album but has several original songs posted at its website.

See ’em: Royal Hoax performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, at Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Tickets are $12, and the band will donate three meals to Gleaners for every ticket sold. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Surf ’em: www.royalhoax.com.



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