One of the band’s that will be playing this year’s Art and Soul Festival is Downtown Royalty. This local band started in Wichita Falls as the Band of Brothers in 2011. They rooted themselves with a soulful rock ‘n’ roll sound, with Mark Forehand and brothers Andrew and Files Little. They ended up joining forces with Michael Kately in April of 2013 and decided on the name Downtown Royalty. For me, personally, it’s one of the coolest band names I’ve ever heard. “It took us months to decide on the name,” Files admits. Mark added “It had to pass the Google test.”
Each of the members have their own influences in order to create their sound now. Matchbox 20, Tom Petty, and Stevie Ray Vaughn have had an impact on Forehand, while Files Little enjoys anything from Primus, to CCR, to hard rap and growing up in North Texas lead him into the Texas Scene. Kately grew up with Motown music and through his community and people close to him, he was introduced to rap and punk rock. He loves Kings of Leon and above all, he’s a John Mayer fan. “Hearing his melodies and his songwriting and how it moved people really got me out of my seat,” expressed Katley.
Recently, Andrew Little, who was with the original line-up from Band of Brothers and then Downtown Royalty, had to leave the band in order to take of his family. Files observes, “He’s definitely supportive of what we’ve got going on. He wants us to be writing, creating and playing.” Michael added, “He really helped influence us and helped us connect the dots on a lot of the songs.” They were able to fill his spot with drummer and local music supporter, Brandon Mundt, by word of mouth.
With the band in place, they are getting ready to create the first album with funding from shows. “We’d really like to do it somewhere with acclaim.We could walk into any studio and perform because we know the songs,” Files told me.
They played the first Art and Soul two years back. Mark noticed, ”Downtown has been really good to us.” They also participated in Hotter ‘n’ Hell 100 last year.
I have been watching these gentleman since the band started. They have grown tremendously with each performance, each song, each year and have become one of the bands that make our scene legit. Go catch them live at this year’s Art and Soul Festival going on June 24th in downtown Wichita Falls.
photo credit: Shutterzug Photography & David Barnard