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Introducing: Naked Elephant

Thursday 29 March 2018

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Words Matt Zara

Vegas… birthplace of The Killers, Imagine Dragons, and Panic! At The Disco, the next big Nevada-birthed is looking to be NakedElephant.

Latest projects involve interesting uses of VR and 360 degree cameras, with the band directing and producing the videos as well as being responsible for the music. Along with all of this, their ‘Raspberry Kiss’ video was just premiered on Billboard. We decided to get frontman Josh Royse to help us make sense of it all…

Hey Josh! Tell us how you all got into music and performing…

Our very first gig at the Bunkhouse Saloon was amazing… It’s an intimate venue with a lot of history for us in Las Vegas. There was so much energy at our first show that we really felt like we were breaking through to new grounds there. Anywhere in the downtown Las Vegas community is usually full of incredible energy, interesting artists and a funky vibe and it feels like home to us.

What were your inspirations behind latest single, ‘Raspberry Kiss’?

I felt like the universe was speaking through me in visions; like being kissed with wisdom beyond me. The taste of a raspberry is formed with a chemical compound called ethyl formate, a building block of life – apparently the chemical compound responsible for this was found somewhere in deep space and it signified to me that there is life out there and it speaks through all of us like a Raspberry Kiss. The taste of the universe.

There have been a number of ‘Raspberry Kiss’ remixes. Is it cool to see how people adapt the song?

It’s a great feeling when we hear that others appreciate our work and then add their own flavours. We hope to enjoy more collaborations in the future! The music could go so many ways.

What goes into the writing process of a NakedElephant song?

A lot of life. These songs are inspired by our journeys and adventures together. Some of the songs inspire new journeys and that’s the soil for even more songs. The writing process for these songs has been different almost every time. Sometimes, I’m sitting on the piano and a song flows through me. Other times I’ll be working through them on the guitar. I don’t like to write the lyrics first… I like to find the feeling first and slowly work those feelings out with words. My favourite moments have been sitting in the studio with Taylor for hours and reflecting on our spiritual growth, curiosities, wants, needs and desires as we evolve together. Creative juices start flowing and sometimes I’ll hop on the mic and freestyle to older music we have tracked, some of Mikey’s musical creations, or newer beats that Taylor has made.

How do you keep your energy up before shows?

That’s a growing process. Sometimes it’s just there. I have a burning desire to connect with the mystery out there so I sing with every fibre of my being – it’s like I am trying to light up like a beacon. Yoga is helpful. I don’t have a particular discipline yet, but some deep stretching, head stands, healthy foods, and pacing around the room… I pace a lot. I think I try and empty my mind of the racing thoughts that slow me down and I slowly start to develop an alter ego of sorts… a character that can adapt to the stage, the crowd, the vibe and ultimately find harmony through the show.

You recently released your video for ‘Raspberry Kiss’ in the form of a 360 video. How did that come about?

I was speaking at an artist panel in the Hamptons at a MaiTai Media event. We were asking questions about the future of music and technology and I was approached by my friend Sacha at New Reality Labs who wanted to bring music and VR technology together. It didn’t resonate with anything I had going on at the time, but I loved the idea, and months later I had a vision for the Raspberry Kiss music video – there was a scene in a round room with diplomats playing chess and I wanted to capture that in 360°. I called New Reality Labs to visit our studio and discuss the idea. Sacha jumped right on the project and connected me with Spice VR in Hamburg and we began filming just a few months after that.

What else can we expect from you this year?

The band has just finished recording our album and been in rehearsal mode preparing ourselves as a team for tour. We all feel something massive coming up. Personally, I have been focusing on self growth, digging into my humanity and really preparing to serve as a role model for symbiosis and the courage to find love and truth. I have a big family, and seeing the power of music and the road ahead of NakedElephant, I want to make sure that whatever we bring to the world – to our fans and friends and families – we do so with grace. That has involved touching the worlds of the unknown, exploring what sets my soul on fire, burning the parts of my self that don’t serve me and others, and learning what makes me happy, makes my heart pump and my world at peace…sifting through the paradox so I can share that energy with the world. This is more than a band. None of us want to be alone, so as a front man, I am hoping our music will bring us together in harmony with stars in our eyes.

Check out the (360-degree!) video for ‘Raspberry Kiss’ now: