Artist of the Week Interview: Royal Blood
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 09:25:10
Royal Blood Videos
One-half of the UK new rock royalty, frontman Mike Kerr, dissects major label full-length debut, hints at new music, talks James Bond, and more.
Royal Blood are our Artist of the Week. The pair of Mike Kerr [vocals, bass] and Ben Thatcher [drums] have quickly and deservedly earned the title of rock ‘n' roll saviors. Their self-titled full-length debut [Warner Bros. Records] stands out as a hyper-charged blast of hypnotic emotion ignited by a booming bass wallop, artfully destructive drums, and Kerr's immense voice. It's a minimalist sound that hits with so much power it could very well revitalize the genre. They count Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Lars Ulrich amongst their many high-profile fans with the former even presenting them with the "Best British Group Award" at the prestigious BRIT Awards. They quite literally ripped up the stage at Coachella this year and will join Foo Fighters for select dates of their stadium tour.
So why these lads now? Well, they're phenomenal musicians who have been able to breathe life into rock on their own terms. They don't pull punches, and they connect each time they let one loose. Royal Blood is one of those classic debuts that we'll be pondering as fans for decades to come. This is the start of something very, very special, mark our words. Many will follow, but they are the first of the new rock royalty. Our Artist of the Week, Mike gave us the lowdown on the group's flawless first offering, discussed finding inspiration in James Bond, talked what he's been listening to, and so much more.
When you think about your debut album now, what sticks out about making it for you? What's the clearest or best memory from the process?
It's weird really. Making the first half of the record, we didn't even realize we were making an album. We were just gathering ideas we had written in the first two months of the band. We were just doing that so we had recordings, but we ended up using those demos for the record. Half of our record was done almost hand-in-hand with the forming of the band. I really remember those times in the studio. Listening back, it's mad really because we did most of it in two days in a very modest studio between Christmas 2012 and New Year's Eve because it was so cheap [Laughs]. It only cost like 300 pounds! It was pretty naïve, but it was definitely really fun. We were truly buzzing off of what we were doing and excited to show people. We honestly didn't think that anyone other than our friends would hear it.
Those songs comprised the EP, right?
Yeah, that's exactly it.
How different were those sessions versus recording the rest of the songs?
At the time the EP came out, we were in full swing of writing the rest of our record. A lot of the tracks on the EP ended up being on our record anyway. It was just like finishing off what we started, which actually took a lot longer than the initial first half of the record. It was very split up. We would be touring, and then we'd be coming into the studio for two or three days at a time, writing, and coming back and recording in pockets.
Even though you recorded it that way, the album feels like a complete thought.
Yeah, thanks! Once the first half was done, the ball was rolling, and it was pretty clear what kind of record we wanted to make. We had certain boundaries in place by the amount of members in our band, and it was pretty clear we wanted to make a record that could be played live in its entirety just by the two of us.