Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Post
Formed in 2010, Elijah Nelson and brothers Mark and Jake Hoke make up the Detroit band Royal Hoax. The alternative/pop- rock group is working with Gleaners Community Food Bank on their project Rock4Hunger, while getting their music out at local schools and venue shows.
Behind the music
Nelson, Mark and Jake were originally part of the band Breathing Underwater in 2008. After one of the other members of the band left, Nelson said the three stayed together to form Royal Hoax in 2010.
While the brothers said songs from their self-titled album represent many different things, each has a different meaning based on band members’ life experiences.
“The album is eclectic. My favorite song depends on my mood and what I’m feeling,” Mark said. “Each one’s got its own unique identity. If I’m in an up- beat mood I like ‘Plenty to Burn.’ I like ‘Empty Hollow’ for the way it connects emotionally.”
Performing for a cause
“I went to Waterford Kettering for high school and they let us play a show there for the whole school at an as- sembly,” Mark said. “Since Gleaners is a great organization, we wanted to be able to merge the idea of playing at high schools with helping out and serve a deeper purpose. We decided to marry the two ideas and start Rock- 4Hunger.”
The band has helped raise awareness of hunger in addition to donations, ac- cording to Anne Schenk, Gleaners Senior Director of Advancement.
They’ve played around 30 shows in Michigan and Mark said their work has provided more than 32,000 meals.
“We were really thrilled that Royal Hoax wanted to work with Gleaners on a long-term basis with Rock4Hunger,” Schenk said. “They’re great people– really enthusiastic about not only their music but helping Gleaners. We are really grateful for what Royal Hoax is doing and hope they keep it up.”
The band has a passion for “hand and foot promoting” and interacting with fans, Mark said. They frequented the DTE parking lot before concerts, passing out music, as well as going to the mall to get word out.
According to Jake, Royal Hoax has passed out 6,500 albums in the Metro Detroit area.
“After being harassed and kicked out by security multiple times in the mall, we decided that we needed to do it legitimately and so the only way to do that was through a kiosk,” Mark said. “We took the risk and paid the astronomical monthly rental fee and it worked out — the cause helps, but the music speaks for itself. That’s what has allowed us to be successful.”
A little laugh
While their main focus is their music and philanthropy, the band also in- corporates humor and personality into their work. Their video “Shiver Shake” features a mall flash mob with a man in a giraffe costume leading the dance and interacting with the shoppers.
Jake bought the costume last minute for a Halloween party and thought it would be good for a video since people liked it. He said their sisters suggested the flash mob idea, so they combined the themes.
“Our sisters were pressing us to do a flash mob thing, so we just tried to do a spoof on a flash mob, dressing in costumes and implementing our natural personalities and random humor,” Jake said.
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