“One week you’ll see us in Company and the next, you’ll see us in a rock magazine,” Royal Blood’s drummer Ben Thatcher laughs. “You have Oli Sykes bigging us up and then you have Example bigging us up.” If there’s one new band treading the line between rock and ‘alt’, it’s Royal Blood. Drawing attention from both sides of the spectrum, their music is currently winning over fans left, right and centre. “It’s totally cool because I don’t think you should define people from genre to genre. We just make music.’
“Music’s just there to be enjoyed,” bassist and vocalist Mike Kerr continues. “It doesn’t matter how it’s defined. I mean, I can’t get enough of Katy Perry…’ “But then you love Slipknot,” Ben suggests, with Mike replying: ‘But then I love Slipknot! I just like good songs. The songwriting is the real core of everything. How it’s presented is just down to taste.’
‘I think the media can just manipulate you into whatever they want you to be,’ he continues. ‘You’re in the hands of people that are sharing their own opinions and they’re gonna shape you however they want to shape you.” “In the end,” ponders Ben, “you kinda have to turn a blind eye towards all of that and just enjoy doing what you love doing the most, no matter what anyone thinks.”
Now, they’re doing just that. Having unveiled their debut track ‘Out Of The Black’ a little over six months ago, things have been moving quickly ever since. With attention coming in thick and fast, the duo thought it best to write some more. “We had three songs when things started picking up,” explains the singer. “It wasn’t quite catching up, but I guess that’s why we spent so long not touring, and writing, and just being a band.
“It was just a brand new thing. We had just started and it picked up nice and quickly. It was really great to be talked about so early, but we were like, ‘Let’s get in a room for six months and get our s**t together. Go and do a tour when we have more than three songs to play.’ We’d do a few tracks, record them and come back and start afresh, rather than having one big session. It was really good because it meant that we were making one mistake at a time.”
The six months of writing and recording has put them in good stead, Ben citing the album as being “90% ready” with an end-of-summer release looking more and more likely. “We’ve gone back and re-recorded some of the songs we’d done earlier,” he explains. “I guess the ones we did first, it was only me and Mike doing it in a studio off our own backs. How it’s all evolved and the way that we play things live has changed, so we’d go back and go, ‘That song’s really good but we play it a lot differently now’. We’ll re-record it to make it sound up-to-date.”
“This album feels like we’re making a greatest hits,” laughs Mike. “We’ll record four, and pick our favourite two. Then, we’ll record another four, and pick another favourite two. You can get all of your favourites on there, even if no one knows any of them yet…”
Their current lack of releases doesn’t seem to have affected the band’s popularity so far. Having announced plans for their first full headline tour at the start of this year, by the time the duo hit the road, every date was sold out. The Face Bar in Reading, where they find themselves this evening, marks their tenth show and promises to be just as wild as their previous sets.
“Nearly every venue has been packed out,” says Mike, “so it’s been a really good atmosphere before we’ve even gone on stage. Everyone’s there to see us so it’s a different atmosphere to any tour that we’ve done before. They’ve been mental, haven’t they? Moshpits are starting… There was a fight last night in the crowd. We had to stop playing and break the fight up and kick these people out.”
“It was just a bit of a punch up,” Ben interjects, before Mike continues. “We did a gig in Sheffield and it was so crazy that the PA was nearly tipped over and we had our crew holding the PA when we were playing, so all the right things are happening! Fights and mayhem.”
Their set in Reading boasts just the same carnage, but thankfully without any technical difficulties or blood being split. Their ferocious tracks are designed to be played loud, and they make good on all their promises. The walls shake, and the packed room moves in unison. It takes about three minutes for pits to emerge in the centre of the small room, people already shouting along with the likes of ‘Come On Over’ and ‘Little Monster’.
It’s exactly what they’ve been building up to – bar the odd fight – with their time away from the road. Spending those few months in the studio was the most important factor for their live show: less to make an album, and more to allow them to play longer sets, get more people involved. “This is what we’re doing it for, to play live,” Ben admits, ahead of the show. “The whole year of preparing and writing, recording the songs is all for this moment, for going out and playing them live to people.”
Taken from the new, free DIY Weekly, available to read online or to download on iPad now.