The group is made up of four producers: Maor Levi, Bruce Karlsson, Kevin Wild, and Elias Ghosn. The California group not only creates absolute bangers with huge names like Steve Aoki and Diplo, but also works with smaller artists as a way to spotlight Caribbean up-and-comers.
They’ve recently released “All I Can Do” with vocals from Caribbean singer Silver. The song is irresistible, and will keep you grooving with summer vibes far into fall.
Bad Royale recently signed to British label Polydor Records. In the past year though, they have released several singles under Diplo’s label Mad Decent, while playing at festivals all over the world such as TomorrowWorld in Belgium and Electric Zoo in New York.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Maor and Bruce before their performance on the main stage at E-Zoo this past year, and by the end of the interview, had us in tears from laughing.
Self-described as “three producers and an idiot.”
Maor: That is correct.
Who’s the idiot? Why?
Bruce: The idiot changes around.
Maor: We take turns, but there’s always gotta be one idiot around.
You’ve carved out your title as “Caribbean bass guys”… Do you have a favorite spot in the islands?
Maor: Trinidad. We’ve been there like eight times. We’ve gone to Carnival a bunch of times. It’s a crazy-ass time over there.
Do you vacation together?
Bruce: Oh yeah.
Maor: We never really vacation. We go there to work and network.
Bruce: It’s a little bit of both. Good people, good food. It’s an incredible island.
Four boys, one group, would you consider yourself the “boy band” of the electronic world?
Together: Trapstreet Boys!
Bruce: I don’t know why we didn’t use that name. We really should have used it.
Maor: Oh yeah, we had it ready for you. We got that on fleek.
Bruce: Trap Street Royale.
You only play all together for big gigs…
Bruce: Well, for now.
Maor: We have plans in the future to make the whole thing like a live act. For now, the DJ thing is doing the trick.
How do you decide who gets to go to what?
Maor: We just split everytime. Elias and Kevin that aren’t here right now, they were just in Indonesia and we played in L.A. the same night.
Are there go-to pairs?
Maor: No, we rotate. Everyone does their part.
I read in a previous interview you all live together… is that true?
Maor: So all four of us used to live together in San Diego, which is how the project got started. It was one drunken night and we all got really hammered and decided to make trap music out of our trance comfort zone. Now three of us—Kevin, Bruce, and I—all live together in L.A. Elias is still in San Diego. It’s only a two hour drive. It’s not a big deal.
Give us your worst or weirdest roommate story.
Maor: Kevin having diarrhea?
Maor: That story always comes back.
Bruce: It was from Indonesia. It’s not like he regularly has diarrhea. He got a little sick.
You’ve paired up to work with huge influences like Major Lazer, Steve Aoki, Diplo, but say Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann have been some of your most memorable and impactful experiences.
Maor: Those guys opened our gates to the Caribbean sound. They took us under their wing. When we first came to Trinidad, it was to work with Bunji for two weeks in the studio. He introduced us to a lot of people in the industry.
At that point, we were kind of familiar there. Our sound was recognized. We were being played on the radio; being interviewed. We were really pushing the Caribbean sound because there’s so much talent over there and people don’t really know that here.
How’d you get involved with them?
Maor: We actually harassed Bunji on email.
Bruce: No no no. Let’s start with Richie. We did Craigslist Jamaica. [laughs]
Maor: Oh yeah. Craigslist Jamaica was our first attempt at getting a Jamaican vocalist. We found Richie Loop—and now he’s all over the place. He also wrote the new Hardwell and Mr. Vegas song and Henry Funk. We worked with him, and kinda figured out how those Caribbean guys work. The thing we love about those guys: They’re really fast. With literally everything. Everything is delivered.
Can you tell us a little bit about your label Rude Mood and what your hopes are for it?
Maor: So Rude Mood is kind of us releasing whatever we want without having to rely on other labels to listen to our tracks or decide to put it out. The main reason behind the label is to push the Caribbean sound or our vision of it.
You collaborate with a lot of smaller names, how would you say you go about finding break-out talent and new music?
Bruce: Craigslist Jamaica!
Maor: No, it’s kind of how Caribbean guys work. If those guys like something, it doesn’t matter how small you are. They’ll jump on it. Just because they like it, or they vibe with it. That’s the same way with us.
Bruce: It’s more about music to them than anything else.
Maor: If we think you’re talented, we’ll vibe with it.
Anyone we should be listening to right now?
Bruce: Mark Hardy.
Maor: Bunji, of course.
Bruce: Jimmy October.
Maor: Jay Nahge. All the Overdose guys from Trinidad.
Bruce: Machel Montano.
Maor: Of course, we have a bunch of stuff with him! Richie Loop. IamStylezMusic just released an album—he’s a good friend of ours. There’s a lot of names out there.
You each get one super power, but you don’t get to pick it for yourself. The group picks. What does everyone get?
Maor: I’ll give Bruce the caffeine power.
Bruce: The caffeine power?
Maor: That means: Bruce, you never have to sleep. The ability to never sleep, Bruce!
Bruce: Actually, I’m okay with that.
Bruce: [sighs, then laughs] The power to wear a yarmulke at all times!
Maor: Yeah I’m Jewish, but that doesn’t count. That’s not a super power. That’s by choice.
Bruce: Are you sure? [laughing]
Maor: Yes, that’s by choice. I could put on a yarmulke right now! It’s a super power, Bruce! It’s not a material.
Bruce: Fine, alright. I’ll give you the power to levitate, but you can never touch the ground. Ever. You’re always levitating.
Maor: Like Counter-Strike?
Oh, are you guys gamers?
Maor: Hell yeah! Me and him, we’re actually ex-gamers. We used to go to tournaments.
Bruce: Yeah, I used to play Counter-Strike professionally. It was a lot of fun.
Maor: We’re all nerds.
Maor: We try not to eat junk food.
Bruce: Even though I had some chicken fingers and fries before this.
Maor: Drink a lot of water. Argue about what tracks to play.
Bruce: A couple stretches here and there.
Bruce: Post show? Sleep.
Maor: Yeah, sleep. We don’t get a lot of that these days.
Anything in store for the rest of 2017 we should be excited about?
Maor: We have a lot of remixes and collaborations coming up. We’re working on a bass EP right now. We are doing a lot of writing sessions in L.A. right now. Busy bees!
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