February 24, 2022

The dynamic rock and soul sound of The Palace

Ray Hutchins, lead vocalist for Indianapolis band The Palace, performs during WFYI's Small Studio - (WFYI)

Ray Hutchins, lead vocalist for Indianapolis band The Palace, performs during WFYI's Small Studio


The Palace is this month’s featured Small Studio Sessions band. The Indianapolis based six person funk, soul, and rock act meld influences, leading to a dynamic rock and soul sound.

WFYI’s Kyle Long spoke with the group’s vocalist Ray Hutchins, and rhythm guitarist Ben Marcus - both of whom grew up in Indiana, and lead guitarist James Knott, who emigrated to Indianapolis from England.

WFYI’s Kyle Long: I understand you have a background in theater and musical theater. And that seems very evident when I watched the band play. Can you tell us a little bit about your background in theater and how that informs the work you're doing with The Palace?

Vocalist Ray Hutchins: I went into theater trying to get something that could take this thing — I feel like singing like my Excalibur — to make it sharper, to make it better, make my performances more, or our performances more, like have more sustenance in like that power now wow factor. I just worked really hard to do that.

Lead guitarist James Knott: It makes your voice sound even more powerful.

Rhythm guitarist Ben Marcus: Whenever we read a song, there's always a pretty intense discussion about the character of the song and...

Hutchins: Yes, we do talk about like, where's this song coming from? Why is it coming up? I use all my Meisner tools — Sanford Meisner, child of Stanislavski. You know, what I've studied? And all. But yeah, I do incorporate a lot of the theater and it does help with getting people to like get into it and everything.

Long: Do you feel like you're equally rooted in both the world of music and acting? Or is there one that's kind of pulling you?

Hutchins: Music pulls me more, I have to admit. I came out the womb singing and I love singing.

Long: And continuing on this theme of theater. Ben, am I correct that you met Ray at a memorial service for a local theater personality Billy Dunn? That played some role in your coming together, right?

Marcus:  Definitely, Billy was on Broadway for a while. He was just a huge character. I mean, he's such a teacher of a person. At any time he was interested in what you were doing. He would also give you some notes and encourage you. And I know that was his relationship with Ray especially.

Hutchins: He was my mentor. I would say that. He's definitely...

Marcus: And because of that Ray came in and sang an open mic. And I just remember being blown away that this guy was singing out an open mic. And I think there was a serious bond, especially at the memorial service where Ray and I kind of realized how much Billy connected both of us.

Long: And I believe The Palace has issued three singles thus far. Is that accurate? Are there plans for a full length album? It seems like you guys have a lot of music.

Marcus:  We're in the process of recording an EP right now with a bunch of our new stuff. So, yeah.

Knott: Should be out later this year.

Long: Thank you so much for being here today. The performance was incredible. I love what you're doing with The Palace. So thank you again.

Hutchins and Marcus: Thank you.

Knott:  Appreciate it. Cheers.

Watch The Palace’s entire Small Studio Session at wfyi.org/smallstudio

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