"We’re not trying to make Kid A. We’re trying to sum up what this band is" – hmv.com talks to Royal Blood
The hotter than hellfire tipped powerhouse duo Royal Blood release their self-titled debut album (which you can preview on the right of the page) this week and we caught up with frontman Mike Kerr to find out all about the album’s making.
Your debut album’s out this week, have you had it finished for a while?
“It’s been in the can for about two months. So it’s still pretty fresh.”
Did it take you long to record the album?
“We’ve been working on this album for the whole of the band’s life, which isn’t very long. I guess you could say it’s taken a year and a half, that’s everything, from writing to mastering.”
Were you in the studio in bursts? Or did you demo and demo and then go in and make an album?
“We spent our first six months really not doing any gigs, so we just locked ourselves away and wrote. Then we started doing gigs and then it was more a case of having three or four song ideas and going in and getting them done. It was fragmented, but I’m glad we did it like that, it gave us the chance to have perspective and more chance to make mistakes.”
Is the album just the two of you? Or did you bring in other players?
“It’s just us. Bass, drums and vocals, there’s the odd tambourine here and there, but keeping it true to what we do live was very important to us.”
You worked with Tom Dalgety, what was he like to work with?
“He’s like an old friend. He knows me and Ben better than anybody. He mixed most of the record as well as producing it with us. He’s the only producer I know, so I’ve got no point of comparison, but he’s good at taking a step back. He’s not very controlling, but he always makes sure the best idea wins.”
You’re signed to Warner Brothers, you’ve got big-name management, and presumably bigger name producers were presented to you?
“By that time, we were halfway through the album sessions, we’d already done ‘Out Of The Black’ and ‘Figure It Out’, it was all sounding great and we really didn’t want to disrupt the flow. We could have looked for someone else, but just because they’ve got a shinier pair of shoes on doesn’t mean they’d get a better record out of us.”
Of all the tracks on the album, which was the hardest one to record?
“Ten Tonne Skeleton, we re-wrote it and re-recorded it three times, it’s the only track on the album that was difficult to get right. There are so many versions of it, but it didn’t click until the last time.”
Is that the track on the album you’re most proud of?
“For me that’s ‘Better Strangers’, it’s the last song we wrote for the album, it summed up just how we’ve grown as songwriters and to me it’s our best work.”
How would you describe the album lyrically?
“Raw and honest. Like the music. I’ve not been writing lyrics for very long, so I’m still getting used to it. My thought process for the album was very much ‘Stick to what I know’.”
Do you show your lyrics to Ben (Thatcher - drummer)?
“In as much as he shows me his drum parts, we work together very tightly, but I don’t sit down and take him through them line by line. We’re always together during recording, even when I do my vocals, so there’s no way I’d be able to slip some rubbish lyrics by him.”
Where do most of your songs come from? Is it a riff or a beat?
“They all come from different places. I still believe that the whole process is very mysterious and no-one really knows how it works. All the songs come from us being together in the same room, we throw ideas at each other and, in every sense of the word ‘Riff’, we riff until we come across something exciting and then build on that.”
It’s a 10-track record, did you want to keep it lean?
“We’re very aware of how full on our sound is. I don’t like albums that are great mostly, but you can’t listen to all of them. I don’t want anyone turning off at track 10, we wanted it to be palatable.”
When did you decide it to be self-titled?
“We tried to name it and it felt so contrived, it’s our first record, we’re not trying to make Kid A. We’re trying to sum up what this band is. It’s a time capsule, and to me, it had to be called Royal Blood.”
Royal Blood’s debut album is out now in hmv stores.