It’s no secret that the rise and rise of Royal Blood was, well, frankly a bit ridiculous. After whipping up a storm on their tiny first headline tour all the way back in 2013, it wasn’t long before they were sharing stages with Foo Fighters, hanging out with members of Metallica and collecting BRIT Awards along the way; things really did hit fever pitch early on for the duo.
Now it’s been three years since their earth-shaker of a debut was released and the Worthing pair - guitarist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher – have managed to stay rather tight-lipped when it comes to details about its follow-up (until now - Ed). But, despite the fact they may have set up studio in the back of their tour bus along the way, one thing is for definite: it’s sure as hell not gonna be about touring.
“Looking back we probably should’ve taken a bit more of a break!” Mike Kerr begins, thinking back to where the story of their next record really began. “We literally got a flight in from America when we were last over there, and then went straight back into our little rehearsal space and started writing.”
After spending so much time touring, it’s no surprise that the duo found themselves returning to the place where it all began so quickly, but as they soon came to learn, there was more to be resolved before their second album could really begin to take shape. “It’s been a very long period for us to not be on the road, and quite a strange one too,” he laughs, explaining how things began to pan out for the pair. “After being on the road for three years, it’s what I imagine coming out of prison must be like! Just very bizarre! A lot of it was just about readjusting and finding normal life again because no one wants to hear songs about a tour bus! It was very much about getting back to real life again. I can assure you,” he confirms, “the record is not about touring.”
It's what I imagine coming out of prison must be like!
— Mike Kerr
As for taking stock of their achievements thus far, returning home gave them a much-needed chance to finally let them sink in. “It's hard to be in the moment and take all of those things in when it's going on, but as soon as it stopped, it was time to reflect. The moment we came off the road, it was like, 'Shit, what was that all about?!' You don't really realise that until you stop. We allowed that time to reflect, but also think about what we wanted to do next, and why we wanted to do it.
“Obviously, there's no denying that we have somewhat responsibility to ours fans, and to the people who have invested in our music so far,” he continues, detailing the sense of pressure that can so easily creep in after successes. “But, I think it always has to come down to why we're doing it. We had to take ourselves back to why we started the band and why we made the first record; just for the enjoyment and the love of playing together. After playing the same ten songs for three years – and being three years older as a band – you change and your musical tastes develop and it's an opportunity to dig deeper and to think about what we could differently with what we've got. We're a limited band by default, so it's been about how do we make something better and something we can be proud of again. I would say we've grown up a lot and we're one level up on our craft.”
Photo: Pooneh Ghana / DIY
Taken from the February 2017 issue of DIY, out now. Subscribe below.