After multiple band member changes the Walnut Cove based band, Royal House, has hit its stride according to founder Nicholas Bullins.
Bullins serves as the band leader and writes all of the band’s original lyrics and the majority of the music.
“I give them a scratch recording and everyone works on their parts at rehearsals,” Bullins said of how he collaborates with the other members of the six person band, adding that the songwriting process is largely trial and error.
Band members include Bullins on vocals, Johnathan Rhodes guitar, Mason Wilson drums, Gopaldas Semeta bass, Govinda Semeta flute, and Sandy Uselton piano.
Bullins said that both Semetas, who are brothers, are new additions to the band, but they plan to continue making music together for a very long time. The brothers ended up joining the band after Govinda attended one of the band’s performances and became interested in the music.
Bullins describes the band’s sound as indie folk with strong Native American influences and attributes the spiritual tone of the music to the fact his grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee.
“It just affects me. I feel that so many bad things happened to them. They were just pushed aside and by singing, that relieves some of the pain,” Bullins said of how Native American cultures influence his music.
Bullins has been playing music for 16 years, with both his father and grandfather.
Bullins and Wilson, who have been friends since elementary school, started playing together in high school with Bullins’ father, but later branched out and formed a band of their own.
All of the members of the band reside in Walnut Cove except for Rhodes who lives in Kernersville. Bullins met Rhodes through his job at Americraft Carton, Inc. in Winston-Salem, where he works in graphic design.
“Everyone is supportive and I think they’re being supportive of more music in the area,” Bullins said.
The band officially formed in November of 2013 and has played in such places as Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Carrboro.
As for the name of the band, Bullins said some people interpret it as being a royal flush in a card game.
“We’ve had a couple of band names before this one.”
Currently the band is in the process of recording its first album, with Rhodes doing the majority of the engineering work in his home studio.
According to Bullins, the band is looking to expand its performance reach to such places as Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as well as make its way into larger performance spaces.
“Our music is suited for bigger venues,” Bullins said.
Upcoming performances by Royal House include Sept. 10 at the Stokes Stomp in Danbury and Sept. 15 at the Stokes County Fair.
Aila Boyd may be reached at 336-415-2210.