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Royel Otis play an acoustic set in The Current studio

Royel Otis perform acoustic version of "Foam" live at The CurrentThe Current

by Bill DeVille

May 18, 2024

Through a family friendship, Leroy Bressington and Otis Pavlovic have at the very least known each other all their lives, but it wasn’t until they properly met at a bar that they started connecting about their shared love of music. Demos soon followed, and now the Sydney-based Royel Otis — the band name derived from their first names — find themselves embarking on their first U.S. tour.

While in the Twin Cities, Royel Otis visited The Current studio to play acoustic versions of their songs and to talk with host Bill DeVille about their experience in the U.S. so far and about the recording of their first full-length album, Pratts & Pain.

The Current
Royel Otis – interview with The Current's Bill DeVille

Interview Transcript

Bill DeVille: Hey there. I'm Bill DeVille. And we're here with Royel Otis, who have a brand-new album called Pratts & Pain. Go ahead and introduce yourselves.

Roy Bressington: How're you doing?

Bill DeVille: I'm doing good.

Roy Bressington: I'm Roy. 

Otis Pavlovic: I'm Otis.

Bill DeVille: Nice to meet you both. How are you? How's the American tour going? So far?

Otis Pavlovic: Pretty good. It's just started.

Bill DeVille: Yeah?

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah.

Bill DeVille: I saw a bunch of sold-out dates coming up. That's gotta be exciting for you.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah, it's cool. It's weird.

Bill DeVille: Yeah?

Otis Pavlovic: Definitely weird. First tour in America, so yeah.

Bill DeVille: What was the first thing you saw when you got to the States that let you know you weren't in Australia anymore?

Roy Bressington: Good question.

Otis Pavlovic: Roy drinking a Budweiser.

Roy Bressington: Yeah, me drinking Budweiser instead of VB [Victoria Bitter].

Bill DeVille: There you go. So what do you think? You're excited about the American tour, and then I see that you're gonna be doing all the festivals and stuff this summertime. Have you done that before?

Roy Bressington: We haven't done anything in the States yet.

Otis Pavlovic: No. We did like a radio show not too long ago, like two months ago.

Bill DeVille: South by Southwest or something?

Otis Pavlovic: No, it was like, just a couple of radio shows, like it was like a KROC thing in L.A., and then like, something else, upstate New York, but this is our first like, proper—

Roy Bressington: Actual tour. So everything's exciting. It's all been, all been so fun.

Bill DeVille: And you're doing some of the big festivals in Europe I see this summertime, too.

Roy Bressington: Yeah, yeah.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah.

Bill DeVille: Have you done that before?

Roy Bressington: We've done a couple of festivals in Europe before.

Otis Pavlovic: We've toured Europe and U.K., like, twice.

Bill DeVille: Yeah. So I see you're from Sydney, Australia. Tell us your story. How did you guys meet? And how did Royel Otis come about? Well, we see it's your names, obviously, so that's where the name came from. But how did the band come together?

Roy Bressington: I grew up on the Central Coast, which is like an hour and a half north of Sydney. And my dad was friends with his uncle. And I think there'd been like some, like, Christmas events and stuff that I think we were in the same room but not, didn't really know each other. Just kids and such. And then we started talking at a bar I worked at about music and stuff. I think it just kind of naturally progressed from there. I think.

Otis Pavlovic: That's it, yeah. We probably like first met at like a bar, and then...

A band performing onstage
Royel Otis performing onstage during Splendour in the Grass 2023 on July 23, 2023 in Byron Bay, Australia.
Matt Jelonek/Getty Images

Bill DeVille: The band came together in what? Like, 2019, is that when you officially started?

Roy Bressington: Yeah, I think so. Well, that's when we officially started talking about, like, just doing demos together and stuff.

Bill DeVille: And then you roll into 2020, and then, you know, COVID hit.

Roy Bressington: Yeah.

Bill DeVille: Did that put a total stop to you guys? Or did you just keep on, you know, writing songs and making music? and  Kept doing it, yeah,

Roy Bressington: Yeah.

Otis Pavlovic: Kept doing it. That's probably good, because that means we didn't rush anything.

Bill DeVille: Yeah. Now what was the... tell us about the Pratts & Pain album, it's your debut record.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah.

Bill DeVille: Yeah. And you went to London to — how did you end up in London to record, you know, even though you're from Australia?

Otis Pavlovic: Good question. We, before we recorded it, we met some producers over in the U.K., and Dan Carey was one of them. And we really liked him. So we were like, "Yeah, let's do an album with him." And so we did it at his house studio in Streatham, South London.

A man smiles for a photo on arrival at an awards event
Record producer Dan Carey at the AIM Independent Music Awards 2023 in London.
Dave Benett/Getty Images

Bill DeVille: Yeah.

Otis Pavlovic: And then we named the album after the pub that was just down the road called Pratts & Payne. 

Bill DeVille: I see you shot some video there too.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah.

Roy Bressington: Yeah, that was fun.

The exterior of a large building with an establishment on the ground floor
Exterior of the Pratts & Payne public house in Streatham, London, as seen in March 2014. The pub closed in November 2023 after the property was sold to a developer.
Kake via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED)

Bill DeVille: It made me thirsty for a cold one when I saw the video for that, for that tune. Now, the album has been a big hit on The Current, including the song "Murder on the Dance Floor," which is a cover.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah.

Bill DeVille: Why did you choose that song to cover?

Roy Bressington: We were trying to think of songs, like, we wanted to do a Kylie Minogue song or like a Jamiroquai song, something like around that. And one of our managers said, "You should do 'Murder on the Dance Floor.'" And this was like, in July of last year. And then Saltburn came out, you know, it had Barry dancing around with his everything out. And, and so they were like, "Oooh, it'll be a good idea to do this." But we only had an hour to put it together. So we just made it like, as raw as possible, but still paying enough homage to the song, you know?

Bill DeVille: It's a great tune. And one thing I noticed about many of your songs is that they're very danceable yet, you know, there's still guitars in it and stuff. That's kind of, you know, that's not not all music is dance music is made with you know, it's driven by guitars. And that's a cool thing. 

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah, for sure.

Bill DeVille: Yeah.

Roy Bressington: I hadn't thought about it. That's cool.

Bill DeVille: Yeah. And that that works for you really well. Where do you think guitars fit in? I mean, so much music nowadays is, you know, electric guitars aren't even part of it anymore.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah. 

Roy Bressington: Which is a shame.

Bill DeVille: Yeah.

Otis Pavlovic: I feel like any, I don't know, any good song can start on a guitar, and even like music they're is, I'm sure a lot of ideas they're coming up with maybe would start on guitars and then they just move it to more like... but yeah, I don't know. 

Roy Bressington: I don't know.  We usually start with drum beats. So maybe that's where—

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah.

Bill DeVille: Well, that's where the danceability comes from, it all starts with the drums, as they often say, you know, back in the engine room, that with the bass. And I see you you've done another cover of the Irish band the Cranberries, "Linger."

Roy Bressington: Yeah.

The Cranberries
The members of the Irish rock band Cranberries, singer Dolores O'Riordan (sit), bassist Mike Hogan (L), drummer Fergal Lawler (C) and guitar player Noel Hogan (L) pose on January 18, 2012, in Paris.
JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Bill DeVille: What inspired you to cover that song? It's such a classic.

Otis Pavlovic: Such a good song. We were like, we had to do a session from Sirius, and I think it was the day before or something, was it the day before? I can't remember.

Roy Bressington: Yeah.

Otis Pavlovic: Or a few days before. And we were just like, what do we do? We were going through ideas again, and then we've always like, loved that song. We were even thinking about doing it for the Triple J Like a Version, but we never like rehearsed it or anything, and then we just went we'll give it a crack. It's such a, it's a great song.

Roy Bressington: It's such a good song, like, didn't expect for it to do as well as what it has, but the inspiration was just kind of being forced to do it. Now the cover, because we couldn't do "Murder on the Dance Floor" for them.

Bill DeVille: A friend of mine did some videos with the Cranberries. And he said what a sweetheart that the late Delores O'Riordan was, a real sweetheart of a person.

Roy Bressington: It's such a sad story.

Bill DeVille: Yeah, it's a very sad story. Also on your album, you know, the first single that we played was the song, "Fried Rice." Such a cool song!

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah!

Bill DeVille: What was the inspiration? I mean, you got a bowl of rice in front of you, and it's like, "Ah! Let's come up with a song." How did that work?

Roy Bressington: Not quite. We were... we were doing a session with another producer just to see how that felt working with him. Rob Brinkman. Yeah. And we went out for lunch and had some wines, and then — it was a really nice wine bar, actually. And we got back in the studio, and we're just laughing, playing around and just having fun. And it just kind of, it just came out a little naturally. Like, two hours. So it's like, we were just throwing in ideas about stupid, like, they all mean something. But it's like, it's just funny. Yeah, we were just having fun.

Bill DeVille: Well, it's a strong debut. Congratulations on the new album. What's the, what's the music scene like in Australia now?

Roy Bressington: Not as good as everywhere else.

Bill DeVille: Yeah?

Roy Bressington: Well, it's just...

Otis Pavlovic: There are good bands coming out of Australia. I think it's actually getting a lot better. 

Roy Bressington: It's getting better.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah. 

Roy Bressington: It is. For a while there, it was just like...

Otis Pavlovic: A bit of, maybe a dull point.

Roy Bressington: Yeah. Unless it was like, there's really good punk bands in Australia, especially in Melbourne. And then really good, like psych bands coming out of Perth. Sydney has like a bit of both. But it was, I guess, it was just DJs. No one was going to see bands that they had never heard of. So you'd go to a show and it would just be like, just their mates there, pretty much. Whereas I find like here and in Europe, people, a lot more people, tend to just go out just to see live music and not even know who it is. I mean, I think that's cool. But it's getting better.

Otis Pavlovic: There's a big, like, EDM scene in Australia.

Bill DeVille: Yeah.

Otis Pavlovic: But there are, there's some good, there's some good dance coming out.

Bill DeVille: We hear a lot here in the States about Triple J in Australia.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah. 

Bill DeVille: What's the, what kind of a station is that?

Roy Bressington: They drive. They drive the whole music scene.

Bill DeVille: The whole thing?

Roy Bressington: Yeah.

Otis Pavlovic: Them and like, there's like FBI as well, and like a lot of other ones. But like Triple J are kind of like the main...

Roy Bressington: They're the main ones.

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah. 

Roy Bressington: They tell everyone who is cool.

Otis Pavlovic: They play, like, up and coming bands. 

Bill DeVille: Yeah. It sounds like it's good for music in general.

Roy Bressington: Yeah, yeah. They give high school bands a shot and everything. It's really good.

Bill DeVille: I saw that you guys went to, or I heard you went to your first baseball game yesterday in Kansas City, which is kind of fun as you're Royel Otis and it's the Kansas Royals.

Roy Bressington: The Royals! Yeah, yeah. It was a good game.

Otis Pavlovic: Got some merch, which you can see.

Roy Bressington: Because it was cold. It was actually really cold!

A baseball player watches the trajectory of a batted ball
Amos Otis played for the Royals from 1970 to 1983.
Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Bill DeVille: I still remember the first time I went to see a Kansas City Royals game, it was back in the 70s, and their centerfielder was named Amos Otis! .

Roy Bressington: Amos.

Bill DeVille: Amos, A-M-O-S. And he was a great centerfielder. They were a good team back in the day, so that's kind of cool. You got to see the Royals.

Otis Pavlovic: We didn't know how it worked. I didn't know the rules at the start, but figured it out by the end.

Bill DeVille: That would be like me watching a rugby game. 

Roy Bressington: Yeah. It was, they hit a couple of homeruns which is fun, fireworks, everything.

Bill DeVille: Yeah!

Roy Bressington: Everyone loses it.

Otis Pavlovic: Really exciting, yeah.

Bill DeVille: And they got the waterworks out in the outfield. 

Roy Bressington: Yeah, the waterworks.

Bill DeVille: I saw a promo shot of you and one of you, I think it was you [Roy] were wearing a Sonic Youth Dirty T-shirt. 

Roy Bressington: Yeah, yeah!

Bill DeVille: I used to have that T-shirt. Are you a Sonic Youth fan?

Roy Bressington: Yeah, well, Leonardo is like one of the best guitarists, I think.

Bill DeVille: Oh, he's an awesome guitar player.

Roy Bressington: Yeah, I just, the only thing I've not liked of Sonic Youth is that Narduwar interview they did with him, and they're like, really bullying. It's just like, "Ouch, that hurts." They seem mean. But yeah, not yeah, that show, I wish it was, like I was trying to find like an original one of those for a long time. But it's just that cheap copy. 

Bill DeVille: Yeah. Who are some of your other musical idols?

Otis Pavlovic: Sonic Youth, I'd say too.

Roy Bressington: King Krule. I really like King Krule.

Otis Pavlovic: Pixies.

Roy Bressington: Pixies.

Bill DeVille: Yeah! Huge fan of Pixies. That's awesome. 

Roy Bressington: Yeah. Death Grips. I really love, like, love Death Grips, but I wouldn't say it's like an inspiration. I mean, the way they phrase their vocals I think is rad.

Otis Pavlovic: Modern Lovers.

Bill DeVille: Ah, the Modern Lovers, Jonathan Richman.

Otis Pavlovic: So good.

Bill DeVille: Yeah. Well, yeah, it's so nice chatting with you guys.

Roy Bressington: Thank you so much for having us, Bill.

Bill DeVille: Yeah, it's been a pleasure to have you here at The Current.

Otis Pavlovic: Thank you.

Bill DeVille: It is Royel Otis, and the brand-new album disco Pratts & Pain and we're here with Otis Pavlovic. Did I say your name right?

Otis Pavlovic: Yeah.

Bill DeVille: Yes. And Royal Maddell. Congratulations on the fine new album.

Roy Bressington: Thank you so much.

Bill DeVille: Pleasure to meet you, and take care of yourselves.

Roy Bressington: Pleasure is all ours, mate.

Bill DeVille: Cheers.

Roy Bressington: Thanks.

Royel Otis - Pratts & Pain
Royel Otis, 'Pratts & Pain,' released on February 9, 2024.
Ourness Records

“Sofa King” performance (note: language advisory)

The Current
Royel Otis perform acoustic version of "Sofa King" in The Current studio

Songs Performed

Sofa King

Song 1 is from Royel Otis’ 2023 EP, Sofa Kings; song 2 is from their 2024 album, Pratts & Pain; both releases are available on Ourness.


Otis Pavlovic – vocals
Roy Bressington – guitar


Host – Bill DeVille
Producer – Derrick Stevens
Video Director – Evan Clark
Audio Engineer – Eric Xu Romani
Camera Operators – Evan Clark, Megan Lundberg
Graphics – Natalia Toledo
Digital Producer – Luke Taylor

Royel Otis – official site