Sam Perlow is a Music Industry major in the graduating class of 2018. He is from Los Angeles, California. Thomas Michel hails from the opposite coast and is from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is an Electrical Engineering major in the graduating class of 2019. The two men compose the musical duo Royalty, whose genre is classified as “future bass.”
The Triangle: How long have you known each other, how did you meet?
Sam Perlow: We met last year, in the beginning of 2014. It was in Kelly Hall. I walked in and heard Tom playing the electric keyboard, and I was like, “Hey, you play music,” and that’s how it started.
TT: How long have you been involved in music?
Thomas Michel: Since I was 13. I’ve had piano lessons, and I play the violin, guitar and acoustic bass.
SP: I’ve played the piano since I was nine. I also went to Scratch DJ Academy in Los Angeles before coming here to Drexel.
TT: What else you do in your spare time? Do you have other interests?
SP: This is our life. Nothing takes up more of our time. After classes, this is our entire life, working every day and making music.
TT: How did the name “Royalty” come about? What other names did you go by, if there were any?
SP: Before meeting Tom, I used to go by the alias of Sam King, so people used to call me ‘King.’ When I met Tom, I told him that royalties party harder, and he liked the idea so we just kind of stuck with it.
TM: “Royalty” really stands out. In a way it kind of makes us sound like douchebags, like we’re stuck up but honestly we’re not.
TT: Describe the music making process to us.
SP: We’ve definitely evolved. At first we were just a cluster-f-ck. Now, one of us thinks of a simple progression and then the whole sound-design aspect comes into play. Each of our songs has something different from the others, yet they all relate in style. Tom’s in the orchestra here, so there’s this hint of strings in our songs. We combine different musical elements, like real acoustic and electronic. Blending of the two genres is what we do. We’re different compared to the generic electronic music out there with the repetitiveness of the same exact structure. You’ll hear a drum cover of something and it’ll go on for the whole video with that same pattern. In our music, we skip through that and keep things changing from start to finish. We like to keep the theoretical structure still intact — the musical syntax.
TT: What are your musical influences?
SP: Barrios. He composed the National Footbal League theme song and Fantasia. He was the first composer to incorporate the use of instruments for effects. It was revolutionary, and that’s how we like to use instruments. We like to push the boundaries.
TM: I listen to so many different types of music and there’s just too much to narrow it down to just a few. Jazz and orchestra are my life, and I’ve had a lot of experience in that.
TT: Give us a glimpse of your daily life.
TM: Wake up, classes, music, sleep, repeat.
SP: Yeah, music is pretty much our life.
TT: What does music mean to you? Do you see it in your future?
TM: Music will definitely be in my future — it’s literally the world.
SP: Tom’s working towards an engineering degree so he can build and make stuff for us. He has engineering as his backup plan, but for me, music is my one and only plan, even when I’m homeless. This is it.