It must be really great to be in Palaye Royale. A few weeks ago, they released a tough new single, “Fucking With My Head,” followed by “Nervous Breakdown” last week, accompanying the releases with some pretty weird videos. And then the band learned they were going to be opening a few weeks of the Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie co-headlining tour.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” frontman Remington Leith says. “Because obviously they were some of my heroes growing up, watching MTV and seeing all those Rob Zombie films. I am internally fangirling to meet them.” At the time of the interview, Leith hadn’t met Manson, but promised to report back if the celebrated shock rocker did something inappropriate to him.
In addition, Leith spoke to AP about a few things, from securing the opening slot on tour for these bona fide rock titans to the mood of the two new tracks and how he felt about Warped Tour’s end. What he wasn’t too forthcoming about? The epic follow-up to Boom Boom Room (Side B). Until then, we might have to start learning everything there is to know about binary code…
How did Palaye get the gig?
REMINGTON LEITH: It was strange: The head of our label called me up and said, “So how would you guys feel about going on tour with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie? There’s a possibility.” And of course, I did not believe him. I mean, people say things all the time that never really go through. Then he called me about a month-and-a-half ago and told me that we got the gig. And I’m like, “What gig?” Then he told me, and I went, “Are you fucking kidding me?” [Laughs.] I was screaming my head off. It was insane.
That’s pretty great. Palaye have been all over the world, and I think it’s great that you’re stoked about it. A lot of bands may come off jaded and entitled, thinking they deserve a sweet opportunity.
I’ve got the coolest fuckin’ job in the whole world. I can’t believe I get to play in front of some of my heroes. I think I’m going to be this way for a long time. We love what we do, and we can’t believe we have the chance to do it every day. We’ll see how it goes: Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson are a bit harder than what we’re used to, crowd-wise. We’ll see how they react to us. I think it’s cool that I get to see 30 free Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson shows, though.
Palaye are on the road constantly. Do you look at playing live as a testing ground for various methods, techniques and ideas for whatever album you might work on?
What we did for Boom Boom Room (Side B) was essentially a live preproduction. We played a lot of those songs live just to see how people reacted to it. If there were parts to songs that people didn’t respond to, we’d tweak it. For us, the road is like a perfect place to test out songs before you record them. We test the water, but it lets us improve. Now there are some songs that we are really precious about that we do not want to come out before the actual recording, and there are others that are just fun rock songs that we like to play to have a good time and to see how people react to it.
The two new tracks “Fucking With My Head” and “Nervous Breakdown” are pretty full on. Artists are always told, “Write what you know.” The titles off the songs alone make people wonder how things are on the good ship Palaye these days.
We wrote Boom Boom Room (Side A) and Side B before we really lived the life, in a way. We toured for three years, and it definitely takes its toll on you. You go through things like every person does. I think this is the first time where we cut the bullshit and just said exactly what was on our minds. You’re going to see a lot more of that from us. We’re really proud of those songs: They’re 100% honest, and they talk about everything we’ve been going through.
What inspired those two songs? Was it the grind of the road? The business end? Relationships falling apart? Or for that matter growing, as Sebastian’s recent engagement was a moment of celebration. You just said a couple of minutes ago that you have the best job in the world, but your art is saying, “This shit is fucked up. I don’t know how to handle it.”
Oh, yeah. I do have the best job in the world. But shit gets fucked up like everything does in this world. Every day is not a perfect day: I said I do have the best job in the world because when I’m onstage, that’s when I feel at home. But for the past three years, we have physically not had a home. We’re literally homeless. While we’re on tour, we’re enjoying life and the second we get off tour, we’ve nowhere to go, and we’ve no money in our pocket. And that’s something we’ve been talking about, feeling the stress of everything that’s happened all at once. Two, three years ago, we stayed out on the road so much because that was our home. When we got off it, there were so many problems for us. We once did three months of touring in my mom’s car, and we had two weeks before we left for our next one, and we had to split $20 or $30 dollars between the three of us. This is truly what we love to do, and that’s another reason why we stayed on the road so much: Because we didn’t want to do anything else.
The videos for the songs are pretty out there, with plots of intrigue and disturbing graphics. What’s that found footage in “Nervous Breakdown” where it looks like rods are sticking out of people’s eye sockets? Way creepy…
Emerson [Barrett, drums] has been working on a comic book for a year-and-a-half now, and the comic book will be going hand in hand with the album. I can’t say too much about it now, because I don’t want to give it away. The music videos are following the comics. Obviously, we can’t have eye surgery, so we had to take some stock footage. [Laughs.]
In that video, you look like you’re going through primal scream therapy, Sebastian is chained up in a horrible position like a political prisoner and Emerson looks like he is on a sleep-deprivation bender. It’s different manifestations of personal torture.
That’s what we were going for, a different wave of mental tortutre. Everyone goes through a form of mental torture in their day-to-day stuff, but they know it’s something they have to deal with. So we put our own type of thing in there to represent what a nervous breakdown is—your greatest fear in front of you, and you can’t escape it.
At the end of the video, the guy who is supposed to be guarding you walks you outside the way prisoners get walked out into the yard for exercise and sunlight. He drops gas masks in front of you, but doesn’t have one for himself. What’s the underlying symbolism?
There’s some binary code at the very end of the video. I can’t give it away, but you will find out in a couple of weeks.
Who plays the guard who lets you out?
That’s our bass player, Daniel Curcio. He’s our savior in that video. He’s been writing all the new stuff with us. That’s why it’s a new era of Palaye for us. We’re really happy to have him, and we can’t wait for people to hear the new stuff. We’re super-excited to see where the new era is going, and it will all make sense.
Speaking of new eras, how do you feel about the end of Warped Tour? Was it a rite of passage for your band, or was it a place to do your thing and move on to other things? What’s your vibe on it now that it’s ending?
It was the first tour we ever did where we felt accepted in the music that we were playing. We went on tour with a couple [of] bands before our very first Warped Tour—2016, I think it was—there were people there, and they were cheering. There would be 20 people in the audience, but six of them would know all the words. And we’d be like, “Oh, my God, this is amazing.” It was the first tour we did where fans were passionately there, and we definitely felt accepted in the best way. When we came back in 2018, we played to crowds 10 times the size we used to play. We had amazing meet-and-greets. Warped was such an amazing stepping stone for this band. I don’t think we’d be where we are without it.
Back to the videos and the clues surrounding Palaye’s next masterpiece, you’ve been dropping hints about shadowy organizations such as Lieseil Inc. and Warhol Stars.
We’ve been pretty much making up this concept for our whole lives. We’re so excited to finally do it. We tried to do it on our very first EP, this whole concept that we’ve conjured up together. We didn’t have the fanbase to really pay attention, but now that we do, it’s cool that we’ve been working on [it] since 2012, 2013.
So what is Lieseil?
It’s all in the comic book. I can’t give too much away. [Laughs.] It’s the company that’s inside the comic book. It’s not like a publishing company or a label.
Is it a construct like Better Living Industries, the fictional company My Chemical Romance created for their album Danger Days?
Pretty similar, yeah.
What is Warhol Stars then?
People who work for the Lieseil company. It’s like their army. It will all make sense.
When will all these story layers come to fruition into the greater news flow of Palaye Royale?
Week by week, month by month. But it will all make sense.
What can you tell me about it, Rem?
Not to give it away like Star Wars or Harry Potter, because it’s like giving away the next chapter before it’s read. That’s why we’ve been doing binary codes. It’s crazy that the kids are figuring it out. We did it quick, thinking that maybe one kid would get it. Now there’s about 300, 400 kids [who] got it down. We’ll see in their tags stuff like, “I was a Palaye fan to get new music. I didn’t think I would be sitting for 15 hours learning binary code!”
That’s wild. I think learning binary code is the new driving seven hours to see your favorite band.
[Laughs.] And you can do it from the comfort of your own bedroom.
Palaye Royale are currently on the road with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. Tickets are available here with remaining dates below. You can also see their latest video, “Nervous Breakdown” below.
07/16 – Rockford, IL @ BMO Harris Bank Center
07/17 – Bonner Springs, KS @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
07/23 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Premier Center
07/24 – Bismarck, ND @ Bismarck Event Center
07/25 – Billings, MT @ Rimrock Auto Arena
07/30 – Missoula, MT @ Big Sky Brewing Company*
07/31 – Boise, ID @ The Knitting Factory Concert House*
08/04 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
08/06 – Saskatoon, SK @ SaskTel Center
08/07 – Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place
08/08 – Fargo, ND @ Fargodome
08/10 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ U.S. Cellular Center
08/11 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Allen County Coliseum
08/13 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Van Andel Arena
08/14 – London, ON @ Budweiser Gardens
08/16 – Ottawa, ON @ Richcraft Live at Canadian Tire Centre
08/17 – Quebec, QC @ Videotron Centre
08/18 – Gilford, NH @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
* with Marilyn Manson and Palaye Royale only