UTG INTERVIEW: Royal Psalms’ Nick Warchol Discusses Seizing Musical Opportunities & Their Debut EP

In the field of the arts, it is not uncommon for the phrase “life gets in the way” to apply more and more the further we get down the road. For most it becomes an acceptable and honorable excuse to leave youthful passions behind. For some, however, it becomes a driving force to pursue those passions despite “life” and take opportunities in as they come.

The latter is the case for New York-based indie rock outfit Royal Psalms. Under The Gun got the chance to speak with vocalist Nick Warchol before their first-ever NYC show.

Below, you can read through our conversation as Warchol tells us the story of how the band came together after being involved in various other projects and going through the motions of growing up. He walks us through deciding that making music and being in a band are things they will always want present in their lives.

Under The Gun: Could you tell me who you are, what you do for the band, and who the rest of the band are?

Nick Warchol: My name is Nick. I am the singer in Royal Psalms. We have our guitar players, Gary Cioni and Nick Cogan, our drummer is Mr. Joe- I don’t know how to say his last name. [laughs] It’s like Ruo…Ruotolo. I know how to spell it, I just don’t know if I’ll say it right. And then Eric Fairchild is our bass player.

UTG: So from what I’ve read, you guys all have different musical endeavors. Can you tell me how Royal Psalms came together

NW: We all currently play or used to play in different bands. I used to play in a band called Aficionado. We were on No Sleep. Did a bunch of touring and then broke up about two years ago. We played a bunch of shows with Gary’s old band Daydrader. Eric was in a band called Marine Electric that played a bunch of shows with Aficionado then he joined Crime In Stereo, a band both Gary and him are currently in. I’ve known Nick Cogan for a long time from Albany and Joe was also friends with the band. Everyone knew each other through doing other band things.

UTG: I heard you guys played the Spring Fling festival in Ohio the other weekend. How was that?

NW: It was fun! It was our first show ever. It was a little nerve-racking because I haven’t played a real show in like, two years. I had to shake the rust off a little bit.

UTG: How’d you guys practice for that?

NW: We actually…hmm… Not that much [laughs]. Nick was actually in Europe for our first two shows so we had to play with someone else. I thought it went really well. It was a nice ice breaker to starting to play again. We weren’t on one of the main stages so we played earlier in the day. It wasn’t super high pressure. It was comfortable.


UTG: When did you start to become a band?

NW: Technically almost two years ago, but it was very slow-moving. I was kind of just in Albany hanging out. I was ready to take a break from doing band stuff when Gary asked me to do this band. I was planting roots in Albany and getting settled.

UTG: Did you get a job there?

NW: I actually bought a business with this dude, Craig [Dutra], who used to be in Aficionado with me. We franchised a restaurant. So now I own a restaurant and then I also got a puppy. Gary also had just gotten married. There was a lot going on and it became really slow-moving.

UTG: Oh, wow! Those are big things.

NW: Yeah, and as you get older, it kind of becomes more and more difficult to get your shit together.

UTG: Yeah, especially since you guys weren’t all in the same town or anything.

NW: Exactly. We were sort of just writing songs for this record. We finished six and we were just like, “You know, let’s just record and let this be a real thing.” We all wanted to; it was just an issue of finding time. But then we all got on the same page. Recorded here and there over the past year, and it came out pretty well for something that we sort of just put together in our practice space.

UTG: This all happened in the course of the past year or so?

NW: Yup. It was just a project and it was fun. It was my first endeavor back and it was just really fun to write and play music. At first we were just going to put it out online but we really like the way they came out so we decided to actually shop everything and send them out to labels.

UTG: How did you guys get together with Rise Records?

NW: Gary knew them. Daytrader used to be on Rise. He said he liked his experience with them so he went to see if they would be down. We pitched it to Rise and they were interested so we ended up signing with them. It’s pretty early on but so far it’s been cool.

UTG: That’s awesome. Let’s talk about your EP! It is an EP, right?

NW: It is. It has six tracks and it’s called I Could Have Been Anything, which comes from the first track called “Anything.” That’s mainly about a person who talks a lot about doing things and grandiose ideas, but spends so much time talking about things and never actually does any of them. The person kind of looks back on life and feels a lot of regret about not actually doing anything.

UTG: I really enjoyed the song called “Stagnant Water.” What was behind that?

NW: That song, well, a lot of the songs, but that song in particular was about coming to terms with the fact that nothing is permanent and everything comes to an end. As I got older, I looked back at the things I used to do and look at what I’ve become now. I used to have so much energy and life and I used to think I was unstoppable. And then I got older and a lot of these opportunities pass you by and you realize you’re no longer as driven even though you want to be.

UTG: It’s cool because the structure of the song actually evokes that emotion.

NW: Yes, for sure. Also, a lot of the lyrics are similar throughout. I have a hard time coming to terms with endings. I just don’t think about them. So when they come, I get devastated and I’m like, “But I was having such a great time!” [laughs] A lot of the songs follow that same theme.

UTG: Do you do all the songwriting?

NW: I write the lyrics and melodies for the most part, but the process is very collaborative. Someone will come into practice with an idea and then we’ll build off of it.

UTG: Which of the songs from the EP do you like most?

NW: I think I like “Anything” the best, maybe. That song fits my taste pretty well. I’m an alternative rock guy. That song is more aggressive and a lot of fun to play. I like the high energy.

UTG: Have you played that live yet?

NW: Yeah. We only have six songs so we play them all [laughs].

UTG: What are your plans for the foreseeable future for the band?

NW: We’re really open. We’re not currently ruling anything out but we’re also not planning everything to the minute. If we get cool opportunities to tour, we will seize those opportunities. If not, we’ll write music and continue to do what is fun. We want to take it all as it comes. A good portion of our lives were based solely on a band and right now, I don’t think any of us are jumping to go do that again, but we’re open and we love doing it.

UTG: To wrap this up, what do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t in the band right now?

NW: I’d say the restaurant, probably.

UTG: Oh, right! [laughs] And the puppy!

NW: Definitely spending time with the puppy.

[We then spent a few minutes admiring photos of Nick’s puppy…]

Royal Psalms’ debut EP I Could Be Anything is out digitally via Rise Records. You can grab yourself a copy here.

Interview written and conducted by Dana Reandelar
Featured photo courtesy of Sean Day

Dana Reandelar
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