Interviews

A Chat With Mike + Ben of Royal Blood

Royal Blood Interview with Mike Kerr + Ben Thatcher on May 22nd 2015

We caught up with Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr of Royal Blood. The boys from Brighton have blown up in the last 14 months, taking the world by storm with their punchy rock anthems. If you haven’t heard about them, then you have probably been living under a rock somewhere.

We also caught their show at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver. You can check out our full gallery and recap of the night, right here. These boys proved, yet again, that they can rock.

Concert Addicts:
Let’r go right into your releases. You guys released your 4-song EP Out Of The Black almost a year and a bit ago. But when you guys went to the studio album, you moved all the songs over except for Hole.

Mike:
I know, cheating isn’t it?

Concert Addicts:
I mean the Japanese version got it, but was there any reason behind that? Did it just not fit with the rest of the album?

Mike:
The thing is that when we started recording was when the band really started. So we went in and did our first five tunes in a few days, just after a few months of playing together. At this point no one knew who we were and nothing was happening, that’s what we had in our pockets. So essentially that was like our EP, but it was coincidentally the first half of our record, really. It was more of thing where the EP came out, and we loved the recordings so much from our demo sessions that we actually decided to put them on the record. So nothing is re-recorded basically. It was more of an artistic decision as to how we wanted the record to sound. But ya, In hindsight looking back, that is essentially what happened.

Concert Addicts:
The only reason I ask, is because that was one of my favourite songs. I mean all the songs are great, but that song in particular hit a chord with me. When I saw the album get released I was like – Where’s Hole? Then I realized I had to go get the Japanese version.

Mike:
Ya, funny enough though its one of our favourite songs too, but we didn’t feel like it worked on the record. In a world of iTunes its like, you could rename the album if you want, you know. Let alone reorder it.

Concert Addicts:
That makes sense, you have to do whats right artistically and what fits together. You guys have been touring pretty much non-stop since the beginning of 2014, just on the road constantly. How has that treated you? Like are you mentally drawn out? Any physical injuries or anything like that take its toll on you?

Mike:
You know its like anything really, you take it in stride, and it starts becoming easier. You get used to it. I think its safe to say we are pretty used to it; touring and living this kind of life style.

Concert Addicts:
Its just become part of your life, and its just like a job.

Mike:
Ya, like taking time off feels weird. Going home feels weird. We’re always itching to play and do what we do. So I mean its all good man.

Concert Addicts:
I was looking at the tour dates, and there is gaps in there but do you really get any down time? Or is it going back somewhere, and you are working on things outside of the tour?

Mike:
Oh I see, ya. We do a lot of travelling. So a lot of those days off you see are traveling.

Concert Addicts:
So a few days to get there?

Mike:
Sometimes, ya. But I see it as two or three days of doing nothing. Its time to like think. Its time to watch films. Its just being away from home, so a day off you are still out and still on the road. So that’s the catch. Its great. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Concert Addicts:
I heard you say it before [prior to our interview], it’s the best job in the world. That is totally true. You get to do what you love, and not many people can say that.
I know that touring has been your primary effort, but have you guys hashed out any new material? Or working out any new material?

Mike:
I mean like, ya. We’ve always been writing since the record came out, but definitely we’re gonna get that ball rolling now. I mean, we still have a lot of touring to do.

Concert Addicts:
But nothing in the pipes to be released any time soon?

Mike:
We’ll let you know when we know.

Concert Addicts:
I saw you guys on the BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge, where you guys did the cover of The Police’s Roxanne. Which was awesome, by the way. What’s it like on the Live Lounge? Is it a collaborative effort with their team to choose the song you’re going to play?

Mike:
It depends, really. They usually consist of playing something of their A list. But I mean that one was a particular special one because it was based around the Brit Awards, and it had to pick a Brit Award winner. So its difficult really. If you’ve ever watched any of the Live Lounges, you’re normally watching an artist that’s made some kind of a compromise.

Concert Addicts:
Oh okay, so like choosing something halfway between their genre, and another genre.

Mike:
Ya, well its all a bit tongue and cheek, and it’s a bit of fun. A lot of bands will try covers of other bands that don’t sound anything like them. It’s an interesting approach to like try and cover someone. It’s a kind of hit or miss kind of thing.

Concert Addicts:
That is what I think makes it really interesting to watch it. Because you see bands covering songs that you are not sure, if its like they are playing around and it’s a bit of a joke, or it’s something that they really love.

Mike:
Ya, it’s a bit of fun right.

Concert Addicts:
There are a lot of famous two-piece bands; Death From Above 1979, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and Japandroids , which are local to Vancouver. Some of those bands, that is sort of their formula. They stay with the two-piece thing, and they never veer away from it. Then other bands, that’s just where they start and they grow and bring on other artists, and add more layers as they grow and mature. Do you guys see yourself as being a permanent two-piece? Or do you guys see adding in layers? Or will that all just happen naturally?

Mike:
I think like you said. As long as we’re growing in one direction, that to me is the most important thing. For instance The Black Keys decided not to stay as a two-piece but they also made the decision to progress and to grow and to mature their music, and that’s the way they felt to do it. Whereas other bands may not feel like that’s the way they need to grow. We’re working on our second record, and its like we’ve got a lot of time to do that, if that’s what comes around. But right now, we’re just enjoying this world. I can’t see that far into the future.

Concert Addicts:
Well, that makes sense. It sounds like the best way to do all of that. We actually had a fan provide us with a couple of questions to ask you.
Do they record their songs on guitar and then just switch to bass when they perform them? Or is it all on bass?

Mike:
All on bass.

Concert Addicts:
Do you have session members when you record? Or do you record all the parts yourselves?

Mike:
All the parts ourselves, ya.

Concert Addicts:
They will be pleased to hear that, I’m sure. How do you feel about being on the tour with the Foo Fighters?

Mike:
I mean, once you get over the fact that they are as big as they are and everyone know who they are I think I am really interested in playing with a band that has been touring that long. And that has kept up a consistency of playing to that many people. That’s what I find most endearing about them. They continue to be that good, and I want to know why. I’m gonna find out.

Concert Addicts:
Also Dave Grohl famously goes on tour with bands, and then ends up jumping on the drums with them. In the past he did it with Cage The Elephant, and others. I would love to see that, and I am sure many others would love to see that happen between you two.
The last thing we like to ask everybody we talk to is – are there any artists or bands out there that you guys are listening to that are maybe lesser known bands that you love and think other people should invest time to go listen to?

Mike:
Ya, umm. There’s a band from Brighton that I’m listening to at the moment called Cessna Deathwish. Like a small Cessna plane that’s on a doomed journey. They’re a brand new band, and they’re worth checking out. There is another great band from Brighton called Tiger Cub. We’ve brought them up on tour with us a few times and they still seem to be like our little secret, when we come to places like Vancouver. So they are definitely worth checking out.

Ben:
Turbowolf, another band that we’ve taken out on tour with us in the UK. Who have just released a new album, and its brilliant.

Mike:
Ya, we only take out amazing bands on tour with us. But, if you want to blame me later its fine.

Concert Addicts:
Ha ha, well that’s great, I like to find out about music I’ve never heard of, and share it with the readers.
Well I guess that’s pretty much all we have for you.

Ben:
Cool.

Mike:
Awesome.

Concert Addicts:
Thank you guys for your time.

Mike:
Thank you.

Ben:
Thank you.

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