Brighton duo Royal Blood have made a huge mark this year - all with just two actual recordings.
Drawing parallel lines by playing in various bands and attending gigs when they were in their teenage years, bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher finally combined early this year. They ended up swapping instruments and trades before settling on their current dynamic.
“The only serious band I was in before this was one called Hunting the Minotaur, in which I played bass - but all my parts were on the keyboards,” Kerr reminisces. “I’d never actually touched a bass in my life.”
A handful of songs, a clutch of new ideas - Royal Blood also sport a curious, grizzly looking crest. Their ‘band artwork’ features two female bodies sporting a tiger and deer’s heads respectively. Kerr actually sees the art as an extension of what the band is all about. “We liked the idea of there being two different characters representing the band,” he divulges. “Not literally, but we always liked the idea of there being two sides to Royal Blood: a dark side and a light side. At the moment it’s just a bit of fun but I’m sure we’ll get more obsessed about it as time goes on.”
Royal Blood’s sound is one of enormous proportions; ‘Out Of The Black’ is a startling rollercoaster ride through blues-tinged alternative rock that echoes bands as new as Drenge and established acts as big as Queens of the Stone Age. Right now, all signs only seem to point to a ‘dark side’, so it’ll be interesting to see how Royal Blood tap into their ‘light side’ in the future. ‘When [you] get down to just a few people playing music – in our case bass and drums – in the rawest form, sometimes you just end up playing heavy blues music,’ Kerr elaborates. ‘I find that really interesting.’
Keeping things in narrow confines, they’re releasing their first 7” themselves. “Because of the way everything’s happening so naturally, why let anything get in the way of that?” Kerr explains on the band’s decision to create Black Mammoth Records. “We like the idea of keeping everything homegrown for now, and just watching things develop - it felt like a sensible thing to do. The tracks are doing much better than we anticipated and we’re having radio play now, so I think we’re making the right call there.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Somehow, Royal Blood’s first experience of fame involved Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders asking if he could wear one of their t-shirts on stage at Glastonbury. “We got one of our mates to make us a t-shirt and someone handed it over to him. We still don’t have any merch!’
Royal Blood’s debut 7’ single is out on 11th November via their own Black Mammoth Records.
Taken from the November 2013 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.