‘A Sickness’ is the 2nd track off the upcoming album from New York-based indie rock group ROYA. Their music carries a heavy political message; The current political climate is a source of fear and anxiety for many Americans. ROYA uses vast soundscapes, blended psych-rock elements and heartbroken lyricism to address the darker abscesses of our thoughts, the ephemeral nature of life and the constant chaos of everyday life.
Iranian American frontwoman Rahill Jamaliard was recently interviewed by Noisey regarding the treatment of her family members under Donald Trump’s executive orders banning individuals from entering the U.S. if they are coming from 7 predominantly Muslim regions. “I think protesting, when it’s a huge number of people, is really amazing. It’s not false hope, because it is actually significant that you’re unified” Rahill told Noisey, “it’s really important to stay present, aware, and composed while staying informed and talking. I don’t like this idea that people are “complaining”—they’ve been criticized, where it’s like, “Come on. He’s president, like get over it already.” That is such a flawed mentality. That becomes the normalization of hate.”
In an act of defiance, ROYA released the debut track off their upcoming album the day after the U.S. Presidential Election. Appropriately titled ‘End Times’, the accompanying video footage switches between serene clips of Americana-style recreational activities and horrific images of fascism, dictatorships and famine victims. The juxtaposition between the ideal and the real is clearly illustrated as images of middle-class American families on beaches and enjoying amusement parks flashes to scenes of life amidst destruction and children pressed up against barbed wire fences. With lyrics like “And the heavens must be crying/But commercials keep us buying”, the single is very much a commentary on threat to America the incoming political administration poses and the artist’s anxiety towards it.
The name ROYA is Persian in origin, inspired by founder Rahill Jamalifard’s vision for the band. Roya is a girl’s name and it means a fantasy, mind trip or surreal, otherworldly experience. Jamalifard is joined by song writer and guitarist Christian Sawyer, bassist Alix Brown, rhythmn guitarist Tyler Love and percussionist Lyla Vander. The five-person ensemble recorded their latest album at Death By Audio studios, which is now no longer operating. After playing a number of positively-received shows at SXSW this year, ROYA has returned to New York where they are anticipating the release of their self-titled album. ROYA is set to be released June 2nd on Burger Records.