Born and raised in the concrete jungle of East London, England, Marc Royal (a.k.a. T.Power) is best known for his unconventional approach to the composition and production of electronic music. Since 1992, Royal has left a long-lasting imprint on the evolution of electronic music in the UK and is touted as one of the pioneers of “experimental” or “progressive” soundscapes within the genre. Over the last twenty-four years, Royal’s work has produced over 200 releases on various international recording labels and five top-100 singles on the UK Singles Charts, including the breakthrough track,“Shake Ur Body” (co-written and co-produced with Shy FX), which reached #7 in 2002. A self-proclaimed “studio rat”, Royal has, on rare occasion, been coaxed out of seclusion to headline numerous shows in the UK, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US, and has performed at a number of music festivals across the world, including the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival in 2006 with former collaborator, Shy FX.
Surrounded by the stark, grey elevations of East London's Tower Hamlets, Royal found solace in two things as a youth: music and an insatiable curiosity for deconstruction - the former led to his chosen career path, the latter provided the solid foundation for his approach to sound design and music composition. Despite his deep appreciation for music, Royal never felt the urge to pick up a musical instrument, let alone learn to play one. In fact, it wasn’t until his early teens, when Royal was introduced to electronic music, that his love for listening to music became a quest to understand the processes involved in creating the very sounds that had captured his undivided attention. The synthesizers, drum machines, and samplers of the early 1980s became the choice instruments of experimentation and the deconstruction of drum loops harvested from a collection of James Brown vinyls provided the principle components of his first true analysis. Using a ZX Spectrum and a simple drum machine interface, Royal began exploring the creation of electronic music by importing tape-recorded sounds into a drum machine via basic computer coding. It was during these initial days of experimentation that Royal discovered the creative platform from which he could explore the possibilities of electronic sound design that would later characterize the bulk of his work.
In his early twenties, Royal was working as a full-time graphic designer, but his newfound passion for creating electronic music eventually led him to make the most significant decision of his life. Royal left his job as a graphic designer and decided to pursue a career in music with one objective in mind: make your mark within five years or walk away from music altogether. Within a year, Royal formed the breakbeat hardcore group, Bass Selective (along with Nigel Samuel, Paul Clarke, and Richard Hay) and signed his first record deal. Bass Selective’s track, “Blow Out Part II” - considered by many as one of electronic music’s most memorable anthems - was released on DJ Only Records, a sub-label of Sound Of The Underground Records (S.O.U.R.) in 1992 as part of “The Expansions EP”. A year later, the group disbanded and Royal emerged with the recording alias, T.Power, and a new record contract as a solo artist under S.O.U.R.
Within five years, Royal’s bold and progressive style was turning the heads of highly esteemed music industry veterans. Royal’s potential as a bonafide electronic music composer and producer became more evident with the release of “Mutant Jazz” in 1994, which was co-written with Nigel Samuel (a former member of Bass Selective, a.k.a. MK-Ultra). Considered today as one of the genre’s absolute classics, “Mutant Jazz” helped stretch and redefine the parameters of electronic music, as well as that of S.O.U.R, which had been branded as a strictly “ragga jungle” record label.
In 1995, Royal’s first personal album, “The Self Evident Truth Of An Intuitive Mind”, earned him critical acclaim and a promising review by Neil Strauss of The New York Times: “The sounds on this lush, innovative CD are so well-chosen, sequenced and placed by T Power’s mastermind, Marc Royal, that in addition to fusing the electronic dance-music styles of the moment -- intelligent techno, jungle, ambient -- he manages to transcend them.” The album, which was written and produced in only four days, has since gained recognition as a pioneering release that pushed the boundaries of drum and bass even further. That same year, Royal also launched his short-lived own imprint, Deep Thought Records, recording under a new alias, Atomic Dog, which saw the release of three singles.
A year later, Royal decided to take a sabbatical from drum and bass with the release of his second album, “Waveform”, in 1996 under Anti Static Recordings in the UK, followed by its 1997 debut in Japan by Avex Trax, and again in 1998 by Airbag Records in the US. The album was engineered by Cris Stevens, with whom Royal had worked with on a number of previous projects, including Bass Selective’s first release under S.O.U.R. During this time, Royal and Stevens joined creative forces to form the group, Chocolate Weasel, which resulted in the release of “Spaghettification” and “Music for Body Lockers” - both under the UK-based independent record label, Ninja Tune. In 1999, Royal reemerged as T.Power, experimenting with nubreaks under Bochit and Scarper - a breakbeat label established by Vini Medley and Martin Love, the founders of pioneering Jungle record label S.O.U.R.
In the aftermath of his initial album successes, it was clear that Royal had made the mark he intended to within the first five years of his illustrious and prolific recording career. As a follow-up to the whirlwind of album releases, collaborations, and intermittent tour dates, Royal returned to drum and bass in 2001 with a string of releases as a result of his collaboration with Andre Williams (a.k.a. Shy FX), which later led to the success of their highly credible drum and bass single, “Shake Ur Body” (featuring the vocalist, Di). Released on EMI’s subsidiary, Positiva, the single received widespread support from both club and commercial DJs before climbing to #7 on the UK Singles Chart, and has been credited for introducing drum and bass to wider, mainstream audiences. The drum and bass duo released “Set It Off” on Pete Tong’s F.F.R.R. in 2002 and “Diary of a Digital Soundboy” under Digital Soundboy Recordings in 2005 before parting ways to pursue separate endeavours.
With over a decade’s worth of work under his belt, Royal decided to take a much-needed sabbatical to focus on refining his craft and is currently exploring new processes that delve into a more organic, introspective, and humanized approach to sound design and music composition. Inspired by the patterns and forms found in nature, Royal aspires to inject music into said patterns and forms to create “living pieces of music”. To do so, Royal draws inspiration and knowledge from a number of disciplines, including quantum physics, astronomy, mathematics, and sacred geometry, to name a few.
In 2014, Royal’s decade-long inquiry produced “The Lazy Nine” - the debut album written and produced under his own name, Marc Royal, and his own label, Adastra Recordings. The album presents a notable departure from the top-down approach utilized during his earlier years as a composer and producer. To date, “The Lazy Nine” album is what Royal considers to be his most fulfilling musical endeavour yet. When asked what fuels his passion for music twenty-four years into his career, Royal replies, “I want to try and compose something that’s never been heard before. I’m not sure if that’s even possible anymore, but I have to try ... because for me, the journey and the process is ultimately more important than the end goal.” And so it seems that Royal’s early love for music and relentless curiosity for learning new things has never left him.