The initial lineup of American Princes began in Brooklyn in early 2002, with David Slade (vocals, guitar), Matt Quin (drums), and John Beachboard (vocals, bass). By the end of the year, the band had left New York, relocating to Little Rock, AR. The southern city’s cheap rent and central location made it an ideal base for musicians who wanted to tour nonstop – which they did, picking up guitar player and vocalist Collins Kilgore along the way.
The next two years were spent writing and releasing 2 albums (We Are the People and Little Spaces), and crisscrossing the country. The pressures of life on the road mounted, and after a whiskey-fueled punch up in a Tennessee forest, Beachboard left the band (amicably, it should be noted). Continuing in the tradition of bass players with great last names, Ryan Universe agreed to go on a few tours as a stand-in, ultimately stepping aside for Luke Hunsicker.
The beginning of 2005 marked a pivotal moment for the Princes. Glenn Dicker, head of Yep Roc, heard a copy of Little Spaces in an associate’s car stereo and got in touch with the band, ultimately offering them a deal. The album was re-released on Dicker’s label, followed by 2006’s Less and Less, produced by Al Weatherhead (Lucero, Sparklehorse, Hotel Lights) at Sound of Music in Richmond, VA.
Less and Less garnered the Princes rave reviews, making multiple year end lists, including Magnet, The Onion, and Blogcritics. Over the course of the year, the band’s live profile grew, seeing them share the stage with groups including the Roots, the Flaming Lips, Big Star, Lucero, De La Soul, Son Volt, Soul Asylum, Mudhoney, the Hold Steady, and Spoon.
By the end of 2006, Collins had relocated to Brooklyn, reversing the route the band had taken four years earlier. Additionally, Little Rock native Will Boyd joined American Princes as a third guitarist and vocalist. With Collins commuting from the Northeast for month-long songwriting marathons, the five musicians began writing what would become Other People, their latest release.
One night during this period, the band got an e-mail from a hip hop and R&B producer in New York named Chuck Brody (Wu Tang Clan, Beastie Boys, The Northern State). He was interested in recording with a rock group and, like Glenn Dicker years before, had happened upon American Princes’ music and felt compelled. Brody offered to record a song for the band gratis to see how the two parties worked together.
Luckily, it was a perfect fit. By summer of 2007, the Princes were holed up at the Fireplace, Brody’s Manhattan studio. Over the course of several weeks, the collaboration yielded an incredible collection of songs encompassing a vast spectrum of emotions and sounds. Everyone worked nonstop, sometimes going for days without sleep, pushing themselves to their physical as well as artistic limits. By the final stages, both the band and the producer knew that they had created an album that was leagues beyond anything the Princes had done previously. The end result, Other People, is the band’s crowning achievement thus far.