Interview: The Royal Concept
Mon, 11 Feb 2013 15:34:34
The Strokes Photos
Even though it's chilly in Stockholm right now, The Royal Concept are ready to heat up rock 'n' roll.
The Swedish outfit slyly churns out anthems that run the gamut from delightfully danceable to devilishly dark. That's the central charm of their self-titled debut EP. Not only can they bust out an immortally infectious hook like "Gimme Twice", but they can examine love from a rather different perspective on "In the End". More importantly, they brandish the kind of energy that makes for unforgettable sweaty live shows. When their full-length debut drops later this year, they're undoubtedly bound to skyrocket to the top—rightfully so. They don't just deserve to be your favorite rock band, but they demand it…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, The Royal Concept singer David Larson and guitarist Filip Bekic discuss the EP, the forthcoming full-length, and so much more.
Did you have one vision or vibe in mind for the EP?
David Larson: We recorded "Gimme Twice", and that was our first song ever. Then, we recorded "D-D-Dance". Those two tracks generated some blog hype. They were on The Hype Machine. After that, we were panicking because we didn't have any other songs. We wrote ten songs in three or four days. Then, we recorded them all. We picked "Goldrushed" and "Knocked Up" because we felt they were a good complement to the other two singles. "In The End" was the last song we wrote in that session. That's where we're starting now. We're very proud of the EP, and it became a vision because we didn't have any time at all to find a vision [Laughs].
Filip Bekic: I feel the same way. Overall, the four of us like "In The End" the most, and that's where we took off when we began recording the new album. It's more of an epic sound, and there's more depth.
What's the story behind "In the End"?
David Larson: It's obviously a love song. It's the only song on the EP we felt was really about us. To me, it's about me and a relationship I had with a girl. Things started to happen with the band. It was very hard to stay in a relationship with the girl. I really liked her. "In the End" is some kind of mantra. It shows some kind of desperate attempt for me to shout out exactly what I feel. Take it or leave it. Do you have anything to say about that Filip?
Filip Bekic: Well, it's not the truth, but it's a good version. Let it be your version [Laughs]. Yeah, it's a love song. I can relate to what David is saying. To me, it's about a girl you had to let go and she tries to approach you again, but it's not the time to be with her.
How did "Knocked Up" come together?
David Larson: The two songs you mentioned are our favorites. You're going to like the new album [Laughs]. It's a dark song from a funny point-of-view.
Filip Bekic: There are three people involved, and that makes it dark. In the chorus, the girl needs someone today, and he can't be there for her right now. That's how I see it.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
David Larson: It's very important! It's so much easier for me to sing the songs if I know the stories behind them, and if there's something I want to tell people. I also feel like when you're writing pop songs, as we do, it's important to have some kind of depth behind the song. Otherwise, it can be too cheesy. It's so much easier to play the songs live and sing them in the studio, if they mean something to you. Lyrically, "Knocked Up" and "In the End" are about us. We want to continue to write songs about us. "Gimme Twice" is more about funny stuff in general.
If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
David Larson: We can take each song. For "Gimme Twice", I'm picturing a great couple driving down Sunset Boulevard. There's a happy vibe. It's like a Ben Stiller movie [Laughs]. It's the same for "D-D-Dance". That's more Adam Sandler! "Goldrushed" has a credibility vibe to it. It's got a hipster element.
Filip Bekic: That's our Juno track [Laughs].
David Larson: Is "Knocked Up" a porno movie?
Filip Bekic: [Laughs] Maybe it's an episode of Californication.
David Larson: "In the End" is a couple in the rain. She's on her way home, and he's sleeping outside her door. He's drunk, and she's helping him up and the rain starts pouring down. They fall asleep on her couch. It's very dramatic and beautiful. I don't know if we answered your question, but we feel good about it!
What artists shaped you?
David Larson: The first group that shaped us was The Strokes. They have something all four band members dig. We still go back to them all the time. Lyrically, we listen to Leonard Cohen and Rufus Wainwright a lot. Those three are very important. Then, you can add some Joni Mitchell and you have our inspirations.
What's the direction of the new album?
David Larson: We had a great opportunity to tour America on the EP. We were there for over three months. The tour helped us develop. "In the End" is a song we adore. We really found that out on the radio. That was the best platform to move on. We wanted to make the album a little more epic. There's a bit more meaning in it all.
Filip Bekic: We're working on a danceable track right now, but it has depth to it. All of the songs after the EP mean a little more to us than "Gimme Twice". It's still going to be catchable and danceable.
David Larson: "World on Fire" is one of the new dance songs to us. It's danceable, but it's not one-hundred percent happy vibes all the time. We have so much more to tell people, and the songs are better. We stayed in Sweden to finish this album as quickly as possible. We're so inspired now. It's easy to write songs again. We can't wait to tour!
Have you heard The Royal Concept?