WHEN Raph Hammond and his friends formed The Royal Jellies at, all Hammond wanted was to learn the trumpet.
A few years later the eight-piece band have released its debut album, Burrows St. Poolside, and are on the Victorian leg of an east-coast tour.
“Most of us met at TAFE while we were studying music,” Hammond said.
“I wanted to learn trumpet, so I went back to study that. (Forming a band) wasn’t calculated, it was just working out who people like to play with and what different people’s influences are.
“Everybody is pretty close. We’re good friends, everyone’s flexible and generous. There’s no ‘cranky’ person in the band.”
The band’s sound drifts between a combination of pop-rock, ska and the traditional Louis Armstrong sounding jazz.
The Royal Jellies have already played in Hobart, Sydney and Adelaide.
This Thursday they play in Castlemaine before finishing up at the Northcote Social Club on October 20.
Burrows St. Poolside has a wonderful 1950s feel with some addictive melodies.
“This is probably our second or third year. We started as a traditional jazz band doing Louis Armstrong covers.
“From there we developed our own thing with elements of traditional jazz and contemporary pop.”
Hammond said the group continues to evolve as well as crossing over genres.
“We’re not one thing or the other. It’s a hybrid of (musical types),” he said.
The line-up varies between seven or eight people depend on how big the rhythm and horn sections are.
The band released its debut EP in last year as The Royal Jelly Dixieland Band.
It helped them come to notice on the Australian music scene.
They also recorded with Clare Bowditch for her album The Winter I Chose Happiness. They also opened for her during an extensive tour of Australia.
Hammond said the band has been happy with the album’s reception so far.
“We’ve had some really positive few nice words and reviews on websites and it was played on national radio,” he said.
“We spent about three or four weeks from pre-production to recording .”
The album was recorded by Marty Brown (Clare Bowditch’s husband).
“We had a bunch of songs lying around for five years or so,” Hammond said.
“The eldest are four or five years old and some new ones only six months old.”
Songs of the album encourage a “party vibe” at The Royal Jellies’ live show.
“Nothing is held back, we just go for it and have fun,” Hammond said.
“Everyone in audience likes to try bust out a Charleston.
“(Lead singer) Harriet is really good at the Charleston, so people can learn off her while she’s on stage.”