Weekly Discovery: Royal Tusk


Edmonton,AB Rock outfit Royal Tusk have the honor of being our #WeeklyDiscovery for this week.

For almost two decades, Daniel Carriere and Sandy MacKinnon have been rocking out together in Pop-Punk & Rock bands. We recently had a chance to talk with Daniel prior to the release of their latest full-length.

Could you introduce yourself and what you do in the band and give a quick background on the band?

My name is Daniel Carriere and I sing and play guitar in Royal Tusk. We are a four piece rock band from Edmonton, AB.

You’ve just recently released your single “Aftermath”. Where did the inspiration come for the lyrical content of this track?

I think I was just fed up with seeing tragedy after tragedy unfold, day after day. It would be a mass shooting in a nightclub, then at a school, then a rock concert and so on. After a while you just get used to it. One day I woke up in the morning and thought ‘how the fuck do I still sleep at night with all this horrible shit going on?’ I suppose that question was what inspired the lyrics to this song.

Your latest album “Tusk II” released in late October on eOne. What can fans expect from this full-length?

I don’t want to tell you what to expect because I want the listeners to be surprised. I will say however that there are some great, unpretentious hard-hitting rock songs on there.

Who were your main influences for the album?

Soundgarden, mastodon, highly suspect, Led Zeppelin, Silverchair, clutch, to name a few- really we listen to all types of music from jazz pop country whatever. And I think all of that equally influences us as well

With all the different musical tastes that band members typically bring as influences, do you feel that helps bring a lot to the table when it comes to song writing or does it make it difficult because everyone wants to go in different directions?

The eclectic influences that we all have definitely is a plus. The cool thing is that regardless of whatever music you were listening to at the time, when you put the four of us in a room, what comes out is always distinctly Royal Tusk.

You’re from Edmonton, right? What’s the Edmonton music scene like? Do you feel that the hometown/local scene is something that has become less relevant now than in the early 2000s?

Yes we are all from Edmonton. The local scene will always be relevant. How it is relevant may change but it’s fundamental relevance will never change. For example, sometimes there’s a local scene which goes down in history and becomes something of an icon (eg. Greenwich village folk scene, Montreal alternative, so-cal pop-punk, etc.) But other times, people may never find out to a wide extent about any particular locales music at any one time. Regardless of the social or historical relevance of any local scene, it’s function in the formative years of any band is of the utmost importance.

Some may recognize a few of your band members as former members of Alternative Rock outfit Ten Second Epic. What (if any) inspiration or influence did those TSE years bring to the overall dynamics & sound of Royal Tusk?

More than musically, the main influence that Sandy and myself have definitely carried through to Royal Tusk is the inner workings of a band. Not so much playing, but how to be a member of a group. How to have your teams back and be a reliable compatriot and friend.

How does creativity inform or alter your happiness?

Great question. Often to tap into my creatively at least, I have to dig into the corners. Sometimes you unearth some shit that can be pretty heavy. It can put you in a very serious sort of mood. Having said that, as your creation takes shape, sometimes you feel like an outlet to all this turbulent energy has been created. When the song is finished, not only do you feel satisfied for the work put in but also elated and lighter in your soul. So to summarize I would say it both negatively and positively effects your happiness but leaves you with clarity and levity which ultimately favours happiness.

When it comes to writing and playing music, what’s the most satisfying thing to you guys?

It’s two sides of the same coin to me. Either I’m inspired creating a song and connecting with other musicians, or I’m inspired performing to people who are feeling the music we are putting out there. It’s all good having those outlets and it’s great that you can switch between the two.

A lot of people don’t understand the hard work that goes into being in a band. Explain to us some of the setbacks that comes with being in a band that you wish others understood better.

Anyone who has played and toured in a band will tell you, it’s not what it seems. There are high highs and low lows. But really, that’s our choice as musicians and to complain to people about that is a little tasteless- either be happy with your choice to do this or change it! I don’t want the people who enjoy what we (or any musician) do worrying about that sort of thing- I just want them to enjoy themselves and feel something from the music- that’s it.

We’re big on indie artists at DigiSpun. Any hidden gems you’ve been listening to lately?

Listen to my brothe’rs band Tops. They are awesome. Also Altameda from Edmonton are really great.

What’s next for you guys? What does the future hold for Royal Tusk

We are looking forward to this Canadian tour coming up with Pop Evil– and will be announcing an American tour in the next couple weeks. Happy to hit the road and play this album for everyone. Who knows what the future holds 🙂 Cheers!

Their latest full-length, Tusk II is available now on all streaming platforms.

Go give our #WeeklyDiscovery playlist a listen on Spotify!

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Canadian with passion form music, technology, and social issues.