Royal Thunder Talks "CVI"
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 16:35:06
When heavy music is good—genuinely good—there's nothing like it.
There's a certain magic that happens when raw guitars, immense rhythms, and intense vocals converge within the landscape of one song. Its power stands unmatched. Royal Thunder wield that power with the kind of finesse and fortitude legends are made of. In fact, the group's delicate moderation of Mlny Parsonz mystical, magnificent howling and Olympus-size riffage makes CVI one of the most vibrant and visceral albums in recent memory. Royal Thunder are as alive and kicking as hard rock can be in 2013, and it only feels like the beginning.
In this exclusive interview, Royal Thunder vocalist and bassist Mlny Parsonz talks CVI, influences, playing at the apocalypse, and more.
Did you have one vision for CVI?
It was really surprising to us. We've had some of this material since we started out, and some of it came about close to before the recording. We sat back and listened to it before it was done. We were like, "Seriously?" It's not that it's super heavy, but we had no idea it would be as heavy as it is. It was the first time we got to really sit down and listen to ourselves. It was collection from beginning to end of where we were and where we were at that moment. It was more interesting than anything. It inspires me to want to have more of a focus with this next one. Now, we're taking a couple of songs from the album—"Parsonz Curse", "Whispering World", and "Black Water Vision"—and actually turning them into acoustic tracks. I play piano on one. I'm not going to do vocal overdubs. We're going to keep it pretty straightforward. It's challenging, but it's fun.
What's the story behind "Black Water Vision"?
I don't really get too into what the songs are about. In a nutshell, it's definitely a spiritual journey and an experience I had in a situation. It's a story of me coming out of this spiritual movement and the things I went through to get out of it and moving on. It's a very deep, personal song for sure. There's a lot of anger and remorse at the same time. I'm also expressing a lot of empathy.
Is it important for you to include a visual element within the lyrics?
Yeah, I try to write and do it without having some sort of thing I'm aiming for. However, I like to write in a way that people can interpret the songs however they want to. A lot of what I write about is very personal and open. That's important. It's so weird though. There are people listening to this music and experiencing it like I'm doing with other bands. Sometimes, I think it might be more fulfilling if I was more honest so I'm tempted to be way more honest on the next album. I'm tempted to, but I don't know how it'll go. It's like I'm always so vague all the time, but how cool would it be to like a band and actually know what's up?
What influences you outside of music?
I love movies. I love to read. I'm an art nerd. That's always been my interest. I think a lot of my inspiration comes from listening. I'm a very visual person. I can close my eyes and see shit all the time. I think that might come out into my lyrics. When we do a song, I'll nail down the bass parts until I don't have to think about them anymore. That's when I start closing my eyes and letting it speak to me. Then I start seeing things. Different emotions or experiences will pop up. I let the song tell me what it's trying to say. That's what happens a lot.
If you were to compare CVI to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
It reminds me of post-apocalyptic blues. I imagine us setting up after the apocalypse with remnants of buildings and bodies falling from the sky. We're just sitting there playing. Nobody's fucking watching, but we're playing and taking it all in. Did you ever see that movie Dead Man? Neil Young did the soundtrack for it, and Johnny Depp's in it. It's pretty fucking weird. It's black and white, and it makes you feel uncomfortable. It's really good. I feel like the vibe of that movie could be compared to CVI.
What's your favorite song from the album right now?
Honestly, I don't ever fucking listen to it [Laughs]. The one I enjoy playing the most is "Blue". Whenever we play that live, it's so easy to get lost in. I look forward to it.
What artists shaped you?
I grew up listening to a lot of grunge artists that I still listen to now. I really like The Cult and Type O Negative. When we're on tour, we listen to Type O Negative all the time—every album over and over again. I don't know what it is about that band. I like a lot of old blues. I like Jeff Buckley. I listen to Nina Simone. PJ Harvey has a really badass album called White Chalk, and it's one of my favorites. That's what I listen to mostly. I've always loved Alice in Chains.
What's the next phase going to sound like?
It's a different place. There are weird off-times. You're just going to have to hear it.
Have you heard CVI?