Features Interviews The Ascot Royals Go From Small Town To Big Sound

The Ascot Royals Go From Small Town To Big Sound

The Ascot Royals
The Ascot Royals

Interview by: Natalia Buia

Brantford was once a quiet city in Southern Ontario but for the past few years it's been causing quite a ruckus thanks to the five gentlemen of The Ascot Royals.

I caught up with keyboardist Ben Chauveau who spent his day off golfing after having recently played the inaugural Hockeyfest in his hometown of Brantford. The music festival drew a crowd of 20,000 people and gave the guys the opportunity to play along side prominent garage-punk band Sublime.

"We didn’t get to meet them," Ben says of Sublime. "But we did have an intense game of three-on-three of basketball with Hollerado. I think we played for 10-15 minutes and nobody scored any baskets!" Perhaps there's a good reason these lads are meant to be musicians and not professional athletes.

Ben says another highlight was jamming out on stage to "Keep On Rocking In The Free World" with members of Hollerado and The Reason.

"It was a real honour," he says of the overall experience. "One of the cool things is to be able to do it in front of people you know. When you play festivals elsewhere, it's cool, but in Brantford all your friends and family can come out."

Ben describes himself and the four other members of the band, brother Jimmy Cheauveu (vocals), Jesse Gilroy (bass), Sam Stark (drums) and newly appointed Tal Vaisman (guitar) as "quiet, normal guys". That's why at the end of a show they're usually hanging around at the back, catching up with friends and fans over a few beers.

"When you're doing something you love, it's easier to be friends with everyone because you're really in your element. There's no discomfort," Ben says. "We’re not really big partiers, so apart from shows, we're not really out much."

With frontman Jimmy’s contagious stage energy and wild mane along with Ben's charisma over the keyboard and the newly inducted Tal's sensational guitar work, the band seldomly worries about being seen or heard. Not an ounce of momentum is ever lost at a show.

The Ascot Royals, who originally formed in Hamilton when members were enrolled in McMaster University, have really grown and matured artistically since their first ever Canadian tour with Fast Romantics in 2009.

"I feel like for all of us, these guys were so experienced, having done it before. Jimmy always said how we learned a lot from watching how they work," he says about their friends and former tourmates.

Because of the band's persistence in the beginning stages, they were able to tour the country and gain experience and even more fans. Ben realizes not all bands get that immediate opportunity.

"There's a lot of bands that don't know what to do or how to get out of their own city. That's one thing we realized when we started this band. The world is bigger than your hometown."

Other than listing Fast Romantics as influences, Ben also speaks kindly of one Sticky Magazine member in particular and how his persistance and passion left an imprint on the band.

"I remember the first time Pete Nema (editor-in-chief) came out to our show. We were so excited to meet him, because people like him have gone through it all. They've spent years building a name for themselves, the same for an established band."

The band will continue to play more festivals over the summer as well as a fundraising show for Sick Kids Hospital at The Hideout on Thursday, July 7th. To get pumped for the show, you can get a free download their new song "Fly Away" simply by joining their mailing list on their website.