Since its 2012, self-titled debut album, Seattle electro-soul duo Fly Moon Royalty has been a steady fixture on the local scene, quietly pushing itself and its sound further, harder, funkier. In fact, lead singer Adra Boo and producer/MC Action J are so tough on themselves and so unwilling to compromise their vision of their band that they’d almost finished writing their sophomore followup when they decided to scrap half and start over.
The result: Delicious Trouble, a record that is playful, sexy, soulful and full of attitude. It’s also among the best releases of 2016, and will likely make it onto a variety of year-end lists. CBC Music spoke with Fly Moon Royalty in Seattle at Bumbershoot, the annual music and arts festival. Here are five things you need to know about the Pacific Northwest’s next breakout band.
Fly Moon Royalty is partly Canadian!
Action J: Canada's my people
CBC Music: Really!
Action J: Born in Windsor, Ontario.
Adra Boo: He's still Canadian, too. [Laughter]
Action J: I am. Well you don't have to give it up. I’ll always be Canadian.
Their live shows are legendary
So much so that our interview is interrupted more than once by other music journalists who stop to congratulate them on their performance.
Action J: [Even though I’m standing beside her onstage] I don't get to see her [Adra] perform that much, but she does sing sometimes and do her own thing. And so I go, that's the only time when I’m like, "Oh, yeah, that's why people freak out at our shows!" [Laughs] Sometimes, I’m like, I want more out of our show, I want us to go do ... like my mind is just like beyond what I can produce at this point. And then I’m like, "Oh yeah, OK. I get it," I get to see what she bringson stage... I just sit and drink it in, like, "Oh, OK, I get it," so. I’m still impressed when I get to see it, too.
Fly Moon Royalty are the king and queen of high-profile openers
Action J: Sharon Jones' show, like the fact that we were sharing the stage with her, wasn't even in my thoughts when I was watching her show. I was just like, this gives me hope! [Laughs] That's exactly how I felt, I was like, I can’t be cynical about getting older.
Adra Boo: Yeah, Sharon was a-ma-zing to just to share space with. She and my mom are about a year apart in age, and my mom came home [from the show] with a bottle of champagne and a T-shirt and all kinds of stuff.... At that point it was our biggest show and we got brought in because Fitz and the Tantrums couldn’t play. Fitz and the Tantrums couldn't play and they asked us! Holy shit! We get onstage, it's already at capacity.
Gender isn’t political on Delicious Trouble
Adra Boo: It's always kind of tickling to hear people apply the gender conversation to my songs. Sometimes I’m just literally writing the exact thing that I’m witnessing or seeing, just exactly how it comes, not in some like, "OK, so, you know, I want this to be like hetero-normative for some hetero-normative crowd, like. I give no f--ks." When the spirit comes to you, you take in the message how it comes to you, and that is the way that I sing it out. With “Grown Man” in particular, it's like, that song is written for whoever is feelin' it. If you are a woman feeling it, feel it. If you are a man feeling it, feel it. If you are gender neutral, if you are fluid and you just feelin' the spirit, then feel the spirit, because at the end of the day, when you hear your favourite song and it’s by someone who's not your same whatever gender you closely relate to, you change that word when you sing it to yourself. Dudes come up to me and it's like, "That song is the shit" and women are like "Oh yeah!" and it just so happens that I’m queer. I’m not intending to do anything political. I hate politics. I just want to love all the time, and I just want to talk shit when I can talk shit.
But they do love stirring up a little controversy
Adra Boo: This album has a lot of songs that are like, you know, we're talking about gender, you know, well not talkin' about gender, but we're flipping genders, and we're talking about things that aren't necessarily PC. I am a flirt, and I love cat callers, and I give no f--ks if people got problems with that.... Man, if people don't have controversy, I don't know if we're doing it right. Someone's gotta hate it for you to know that you're doing something right. That you're like making the water ruffle, you know? If we're ruffling, if we're making people talk about some things, I mean, that's great. I'll take it. But I have no intent to be a politician.
Hang out with me on Twitter: @_AndreaWarner