Hidden Gems: Royel Otis

Sydney-based dream-pop duo Royel Otis have been slowly but surely making a name for themselves in the global indie scene. Founded by friends Otis Pavlovic and Royel Maddel, the enthralling band was birthed after the latter returned to Australia after living in New York, and found himself working at a bar, where he met Pavlovic, who had just finished school. Since then, the duo has released multiple EPs and singles, with especially the addictive ‘Oysters In My Pocket’ earning a lot of fan-love. GEM recently had the chance to chat to Royel Maddel to talk about the duo’s early beginnings, favourite releases and their recent UK tour.


1. Let’s start right at the beginning – could you tell us a bit about your early days as a band? 

These are the early days. We are just over two years old with a lot to learn but loving the journey. 

2. Does your home play a role in your songwriting, whether it’s a musical influence or otherwise? 

We have both grown up on the coast so subconsciously maybe but shit would roses be blue if it’s homies were too?

 3. Did you think you’d end up where you are now a few years ago?

Not at all but the eels in our local park make their way to New Caledonia every year so stranger things have happened.

4. If you had to describe your band and sound to someone who didn’t know you, what would you say? 

Frank Spencer in nice trousers with pyjama tops.

5. What do you enjoy most about being a band? Is there something you dislike?

Love the travelling but unsure of the dislikes as of yet.

6. Looking back at your career so far – what is your favourite memory?

Definitely the London show at the Seabright Arms. We were surrounded by so much support.

7. What was your mindset during the production of your new music this year, and what was the overall atmosphere like while creating and recording it?

Just have fun with it was the mindset. Try not to over think while the atmos was a sun soaked mountain side in Byron Bay. Pure lush.

8. How did the production of your new EP differ from your early work?

We had slightly less time with more pressure.

9. What is your favourite song of the EP and why?

Mine personally is ‘I Wanna Dance With You’. It’s the right amount of loose with a boot scootin’ shuffle. 

10. Is there a specific story or meaning you want to convey with the EP?

Not at all. I think we want to hear what others take from it.

11. What was your inspiration behind the name of your band? What’s the story behind it?

My name is Royel and his name is Otis. We didn’t have to think for too long on it.

12. As you all pour your hearts into your songs, do you feel that not only do you make and change the songs, but the songs also change you? 

The songs definitely hit differently live but it will take a lot more than that to change us.

13. What was your most recent tour like? Did your enjoy your time in the UK?

Absolutely loved it. The passion for live music and drive to see it over there is palpable.

14. What are your plans for the future?

More shows, more shots, more lows, more shoes, and more news.

15. Do you try to stand out from the crowd as a band, and if yes, how?

No we don’t but I think how much fun we have translates. I feel like a lot of bands have forgotten to have fun. 

16. What does music mean to you, on a personal level and the within the space of your band?

To me music is an expression of insecurity with confidence in a place of comfort. 


Royel Otis’ latest EP ‘Bar & Grill’ is out now. Follow them on Instagram and Spotify.

Written by Laura Weingrill

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