Khris Royal is that dude. Seriously, if you live in New Orleans and you have never heard his name (or more likely, his saxophone) you must live under a rock. Called the “saxophone savant”, this local favorite has played with countless artists, shows, and even DJs a killer disco set.
It’s not unlikely to be at a show – anywhere from a local get together to a sold-out national artist – and who do they call up on stage as their special guest? It’s always Khris Royal. He’s known around town as a familiar character in the New Orleans music scene. If you frequent the local music spots, chances are you’ve heard the sultry rifts of his saxophone. Once you see Khris Royal walk through the door, you know you’ve found yourself at the best party in the city.
Arguably one of the greats, Khris Royal’s style on the saxophone is instantly recognizable. He’s had a long history; starting out playing music at 9 years old, making his way to Berklee School of Music, then onto reggae-stoner band Rebelution. Now, he’s doing his own thing. With his band behind him, Khris Royal and Dark Matter are showing New Orleans (and the world) they aren’t standing in the wings anymore.
“For me this record represents me getting back to chasing my dreams. I feel like for the last few years I’ve been so busy helping other people chase their dreams that I forgot about all the things that I wanted to do in life.”
It’s been eight years since the last Dark Matter album and within those years have been countless shows and backing other artists, but Khris says it’s time to chase his own dreams.
Years in the making, Dark Matter II offers talents from several friends who are now huge names. There are features from Nigel Hall (from Lettuce), Eric “Benny” Bloom (from Lettuce), Trombone Shorty, Doug Wimbish (from Living Colour), Big Sam, and his little brother John Michael Bradford on trumpet.
You’ll also catch some familiar up and comers in his core band with Danny Abel (now touring with Tank & the Bangas) on guitar, Terrance Houston on drums, and Max Moran on bass. Khris Royal plays most of the other musical parts himself. He has an impressive repertoire when it comes to his musical prowess; not only does he play a variety of instruments, Khris Royal also produced the entire album.
The Making of Dark Matter II
He describes his musical process when making this album as starting off with a synthesized demo then adding in the arranged instruments as needed. This gives a written flow to all of the musical parts and keeps the sounds clean from one another. He plays several of the parts himself, taking up sections on keyboards, drums, bass, flute and of course, the saxophone.
The album is an outer-worldly journey – a meshing of classical jazz and new age synths with almost a disco-like influence. The tracks glide together with a skillful arrangement and yet each track offers a new flavor to the table.
Some tunes are fun and funky like “Shake It ft. Danny Abel” and “11:08 ft. Nigel Hall” and some take you a bit deeper on the journey. Tracks like “Prime Directive” (a Star Trek homage – we love it!) and “Love Song 5” will take you through an ethereal existence, not of this planet.
This album has a variety of songs for every mood; some are full of energy and some take you far beyond this world in a thoughtful daydream. All tunes are full of mesmerizing saxophone solos that are guaranteed to leave you speechless.
Honestly, throw on Dark Matter II and just get lost for a while.
Here is a full listen of
Khris Royal’s second album
Dark Matter II:
Can’t wait to hear it live? Neither can we! Join Khris Royal with special guest PYMP for his Dark Matter II Album Release Party! Going on this Saturday, April 27 at Gasa Gasa.