Two key members of Jay Z's renowned Roc Boys are coming down under soon to rip up the east coast for three big club shows. DJ Young Guru and drummer Tony Royster JR have paired up and will play Alumbra in Melbourne, as well as venues in Sydney and Brisbane that will be announced on the Added Flava Facebook page (we're giving away a double pass to a show of your choice right here). We grabbed some time with drum prodigy Tony Royster JR to talk about the shows and his decorated drumming career so far.
Hey Tony, you're calling us from Singapore. What are you doing over there?
Yeah, I'm touring with Joss Stone at the moment. We're just doing a few shows in Asia – the Jakarta Jazz Festival, playing in Manilla. It's good. I'm doing a bit of work with her but I like to try and keep myself free because Jay-Z is one of my main artists. I want to be free when he's going on tour. We’re getting ready for the Legends of Summer tour with Justin Timberlake right now.
You'll be in Australia in a couple of weeks for this tour with Young Guru. Were you out here with Jay-Z when he toured with U2?
The U2 tour was a phenomenal experience, from the arena to the stage to hanging out with Bono. Man, he's the king - he's the guy! He's a really down to earth dude too. You never really know a person until you chill with them, and he was a legend.
Comfy. It's good to know he's not as crazy as he seems on TV! You started excelling at drumming really young. You won national championships and you weren't even out of your teens. Why do you think you were so good, so young?
I was surrounded by musicians growing up. When I was three, I was sleeping in my father’s guitar case while he was rehearsing with his band. I walked to the drums and started playing them. My Dad said, “Stop that! Now do it again”. And I did. He called Mom, she was crying. That’s when it started.
You were a natural born drummer, for sure. Who came up with the idea for you to tour with Young Guru like this?
This is our first time really playing on our own together. I wanna thank Added Flava Audio Labs and JMC academy for putting this on, and Father Chris Riley and his Youth Off The Streets foundation. Playing with a DJ is something I've always done and enjoyed. I've always enjoyed the concept of live instrumentation in the club, that there’s something different going on, rather than listening to a DJ all night. It's always worked out great. I pop in and pop out and give a little something extra.
How will the night go down? What's the format?
Guru will probably be DJing the whole night. After the first hour, we'll do our set – it’ll be about 45 minutes and we might break it up into two sets. We want to still give the people a chance to relax after all drums, their ears need to relax! We'll put together a set, go through the transitions – it won't all be improv, we'll be brainstorming. This will be a great platform to try it out. People really appreciate things more out of America, because it doesn’t come around all the time. We’ll see what happens and if it works out, we’ll do more for sure.
Win tickets to a show of the Roc Boys east coast tour through Sneaker Freaker on our Win Win page. You can buy tix to the Melbourne UNKNWN Streets extravaganza featuring Young Guru and Tony Royster JR here.