INTERVIEW: Royal Blood, Out of the Black, Into the Spotlight

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Most bands can create a powerful sound with about four or five members and the same amount of instruments. But not Royal Blood. No, you see, Royal Blood are capable of creating twice as big a sound as normal bands with half the members and only a bass and drum kit to do it on.

Best mates since fifteen, bassist/ lead vocalist Michael Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, met as most young musicians do, in different bands, touring the same circuit. Impressed by each other’s playing abilities and passion for music, the two joined forces in 2012 to form Royal Blood.

With a single EP to their name, the duo are already causing quite a stir felt throughout the UK that is leaking its way across the globe. People became curious about the pair when Arctic Monkey’s drummer, Matt Helders, was spotted last summer sporting a Royal Blood tee during the Glastonbury festival.

Their four song EP, Out of the Black, an electrifying first effort, caught the attention of not only some well-known musicians, but radio stations in the UK and abroad. Influenced by Queen, The Beatles and a messy breakup, Out of the Black is a bold first statement that has left many wanting more.

“The first songs were all written quite far apart from each another, so over the four tracks, you get a strong sense of who were are as a band, musically and lyrically, and it paints a picture of what’s to come,” said Kerr.

The band is putting the final touches on their soon to be released full-length debut in between their rigorous touring schedule and hope to release it in the fall of 2014.

“There’s a slow song, which was really hard for us, especially to get the dynamics in there, but we’re really proud of it and it’s one of my favorites on the album,” said Kerr. “I feel like we’ve kept interesting enough, despite the lack of members. There are a few tracks on there that kind of take you places that you wouldn’t necessarily anticipate us going. We’ve pulled off some weird shit on this album that really works.”

With such down to earth demeanors, it’s a wonder that such bold and brash sounds come from the two and their chosen instrument. Often compared to the White Stripes for their brand of thick, bluesy rock and roll, lead by heavy distorted bass and minimalistic membership, their United Kingdom upbringing mixed with a southern rock influence creates a distinct and distinguished sound that comes off smooth and seductive.

But with two people at the helm of a rock band, an unusual number for any band, regardless of genre, would there be obvious limitations for them when it came to not only live performances but sound production capabilities? Kerr merely sees it as a matter of perspective.

“I think when there are two of you, there come a lot of challenges, which are essentially limitations,” said Kerr. “It’s about embracing the things you can’t do. The premise behind the band, really, was ‘how can we do this with two people?’ and that started making me think about developing a sound and a style from that concept. I think the very nature of the problem is not just the obstacles in the way, but how to find the correct resolution.”

The pair from Wales has a busy summer ahead of them, embarking on a headlining tour in North America and teaming up with the Arctic Monkeys and Pixies along the way. Instead of attending the summer festivals that he frequented as a teenager, Kerr is excited to be on the other side, performing at the upcoming Glastonbury and Reading festivals.

“To be part of them, it’s quite nostalgic for me to go there, let alone play,” said Kerr. “I’m also really looking forward to coming to the states and playing Lollapalooza.”

But Kerr and Thatcher are taking things one step at a time, despite the success that is seemingly being thrown at their feet. Rightfully earned and hard fought for, they are determined to keep their focus on the ultimate prize; getting to make music for a living.

“For me the greatest reward that I’ve seen so far from my mild success is the freedom to make music everyday and not worry about anything else,” said Kerr. “To make music and play music every day is enough for me. I don’t think there’s such a thing as making it because there’s always another step.”

Be sure to check out the pair when they make a stop near you this summer and see for yourself just how big of a ruckus two guys from Great Britain can cause.

 

Out of the Black available now on iTunes!