Today, newly minted Sydney duo, Royel Otis (aka Otis Pavlovic and Royel Maddell) share their debut EP, ‘Campus’. Following on from their recent singles, Only One and Without U, the release marks a definitive chapter for the Sydney act, out via OURNESS and House Anxiety (label home to Genesis Owusu, King Kruel, & more).
Produced by Julian Sudek (Genesis Owusu) and mixed by industry icon Dave Fridmann (Tame Impala, Flaming Lips, MGMT), the 5 track project signifies the beginning of a vibrant sonic adventure for the charismatic duo, showcasing a synergy beyond their close friendship which forms every inch of ‘Campus’. Combining their skills both as vocalists and instrumentalists, the pair craft a timeless sound that oozes nostalgia in an ultimate exploration of hope, heartbreak and loneliness through a hazy, sun drenched lens. Never ones to take themselves too seriously, Royel Otis forged an epic debut balancing brooding lyricism and consuming emotion, alongside a piece of themselves in consciously art-house references and effervescent charm.
“And I’m just so tired of my sick mind.” Shining as the lead single, Only One is an ethereal anthem of equal parts off-kilter rock, indie wonders and an ode to their love of leftfield Japanese city pop, featuring Otis’ silky falsetto over a medley of dazed guitar chords. Up next on Without U, they conjure a nostalgic, upbeat medley, propelled by an emphatic rush of drums that bridge a juxtaposition to more sombre lyrics. Accompanied by a carefree psych-infused visual directed by Byron Spencer to achieve the song’s aesthetic landscape, Royel Otis hit the mark as they delve into deeper emotions, embraced by surging, saturated chords with the added charm of an infectious hook, “…it’s a song about not being able to contact the only person in the world that you actually want to talk to. It’s full of heartbreak and darkness.”
Days in the Dark carries the darker tone from the previous track, gazing further upon themes of loneliness and uncertainty as Otis’ woozy vocals share the space with a more relaxed percussion. The ambience created by Otis’ reverb-washed words reflect a cathartic release, closing at the stage, “Caught myself grieving as I stand here alone.” Wait continues to evoke the EP’s theme of inevitability while blending Otis’ dynamic falsettos with a wash of guitar chords and airy melodies. The final track and focus single, Never Been More Sure closes the EP with an uplifting dreamscape of gliding synths, chopped vocal samples and layered instrumentation, all the while allowing Otis’ vocals to take centre stage. Showcasing the pair’s charming yet matured songwriting, Royel Otis bring their monumental debut EP to a euphoric close, expressing their assurance of their musical journey thus far, “I’ve never been more sure that I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
Since making waves in the scene with their release of Only One and Without U, Royel Otis have swiftly shaped their unique sonic and visual, receiving love from triple j Unearthed, FBi Radio, Matt Wilkinson at Apple Music’s Beats 1 and Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1, alongside online coverage from Life Without Andy, Beats Per Minute, Vents Magazine and more. Brushing shoulders with some of Australia’s greatest, Royel Otis will support The Rubens on select dates during their 0202 Album Tour, playing Sydney’s Enmore Theatre on November 11 and Melbourne’s The Forum on November 25. Celebrating Campus, the duo will also perform headline shows at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory Gallery on November 18 and The Gaso in Melbourne on November 19.
After returning from a four-year stint in New York, it was by chance that Royel met Otis after a hazy night out in a Sydney Bar. When Otis, fresh out of high school, mustered up the courage to share some of the demos he had been working on in isolation, there was an instantaneous creative click. Fusing Otis’ DIY productions with his own wonky samples he’d gathered during his time in the Big Apple, the two then started to meet weekly, churning out tunes in Royel’s Bondi sunroom, laying guitars over beats and going on long drives along the east coast to write melodies over the tracks, slowly shaping their sound. “When we started the project we wanted to capture that feeling of driving down the coast with the window down and the sun’s out”, they said. From their home studio beginnings, Royel Otis evolved to forge the concept of their debut live show, performing across iconic hometown venues including The Lansdowne, The Vic On The Park, Bondi’s The Royal, and the recent South Eveleigh Solstice Festival.
With the debut of ‘Campus’, don’t miss the mesmerising new chapter of Sydney’s most exciting indie-dream duo. Promising to be just a taste of more to come from Royel Otis, tune into the sun-soaked magic of their new EP, out now.
‘CAMPUS’ IS OUT NOW VIA OURNESS / HOUSE ANXIETY
Connect with ROYEL OTIS
With thanks to Thinking Loud