"This record is a break from whatever bulls**t is going on in the world" - Royal Republic talk new album Club Majesty
Swedish foursome Royal Republic don't do darkness. They don't do brooding or misanthropy. They do good time, high-energy rock and roll.
Today, they return with their new album Club Majesty, the fifth full-length effort of their career and another LP packed full of big choruses, slick riffola and big smiles.
We spoke to frontman Hannes Irengård about how they made Club Majesty...
When did you start putting together the songs for Club Majesty?
"That’s tricky to say, as some of the songs have been coming together for a long time. ‘Fireman & Dancer’ was the very first song that we wrote for the record. It became the centre of the map in a way. There is usually one specific song that gets the whole process going and that really sparks the creativity."
"On the Weekend-Man album, that song was ’When I See You Dance With Another’. Once ‘Fireman & Dancer’ was finished we knew exactly what direction we wanted to take the album in, and we kind of built the album around that one song. The album took about a year to put together, in terms of writing and making/tweaking demos."
How did you want the album to move on from what you did on Weekend Man?
"We sort of knew that we wanted to pick up where Weekend-Man ended, but to push the envelope further, and to expand our sound and writing. We made a decision early on to not be hindered by rules, or the dos and don’ts that surround the music industry. There really was a sense of ”anything goes” surrounding the whole process."
"Although we never actually sat down before this record and had a band meeting with the intention of going through what the album was going to be. I consider this record to be free from any popular ideas of what a rock album is supposed to be."
Is that how you've always worked?
"We’ve always strived to be free of any kind of boundaries, and I think the elements that some people will react to as ”new” on this record simply felt really natural and exciting for us! On this album especially, we made an effort not to leave anything out due to opinions and input of others."
What were you listening to during the writing of this album? Are there any new influences on this LP?
The truthful and cheesy answer would be our hearts! Our influences didn’t really change, but we allowed ourselves to show more of them on Club Majesty than ever before. We come from such different musical backgrounds, ranging from death metal to rap, to singer/songwriter and classical music, and we’ve always made an effort to use that to our advantage."
"This has proved to work out better than ever on this album. It’s without a doubt a rock album, but you can definitely hear inspiration from a least four different decades and five different genres. This is something we are very proud of."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"I’m not sure if there’s a theme as such. Although having written 5 or 6 of the songs we figured that it sounded like a majestic album that might be played at some sort of an upscale club. Which is one of the reasons that we chose the title! And in regards to the lyrics, one example could be for ’Fireman & Dancer’, but I promise to let you know what it’s about as soon as we’ve figured it out!"
"One interpretation could be how we tend to be multi-layered. Maybe you’re one type of person on Monday and another on Tuesday night? I sort of sense a ”Catcher in the Rye” sort of theme in there somewhere as well. But hey - your guess is as good as ours…"
"We realised quite early on that we wanted to make an album with the purpose of getting people in a good mood. A lot of bands out there deal with social and/or political issues and that’s great. The world needs that and we need people with a voice to speak for the people that don’t have one. Maybe now more than ever! But we decided early on to offer a little ”get away” for people, even if it’s only for 90 minutes during a Royal Republic show. A break from whatever bullshit is going on in their lives or in the world."
"This sort of songwriting comes naturally to us and we’re prouder than ever with the result. I do think that we’re all doing the same thing though, at the end of the day, we’re just approaching it from different angles."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"We had about 50 versions of ‘Fireman & Dancer’ at one point; some with a slightly different riff, different lyrics and melodies and NO saxophone! Eventually, we found a way. We always do. But that first track is always very important as it sets the course for the rest of the stuff. You want to make sure you have the right coordinates when you set out on the journey of a lifetime!"
"We’ve been trying out that riff in so many ways previously. I think we worked on it for two or three years! It started out being a full chord pattern. Then we took away one note at a time and it ended up being a single note riff, then it ended up being played on a 12-string."
And which came together most quickly?
"‘Can’t Fight the Disco’ was kind of a no-brainer! The main riff and groove with the percussion was just irresistible to us. It’s one of those tracks you need to write standing up, or rather dancing around. Some songs don’t feel like that right away, but only come together once you hear the final recording."
"This one, however, was a pure delight putting together! I think the influence for this track came from me listening to a lot to stuff like The Who, the old school British pop rock bands who used that kind of stuff in all of those super classic riffs. They’re all composed in that sort of way. I’m not at all comparing us to The Who, but that’s where I think we drew the influence from."
When did you settle on Club Majesty for the title? Were any other titles in contention?
"When we named the band we came up with 3 options for a name; King Average, Royal Republic and Club Majesty. When four or five of the demos were done for this album, we felt like we had kind of nailed down the general vibe of the whole thing. We imagined a rammed dancefloor more than a sweaty rock house. Club Majesty just popped right out of our memories and it fit perfectly."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We’re launching a merciless soul-rock-n-roll-disco-attack on Europe starting on June 1st, which will take us to Download Festival on June 15th. We have a great festival season lined up, and the Club Majesty UK and European Tour then starts in October. We have eleven UK show dates scheduled from mid-October to the end of October. It should be a riot!"
Royal Republic's new album Club Majesty is out now in hmv stores.