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New Music To Know: Royal Blood Bring New Meaning To The Word ‘Loud’

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Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood (Courtesy Warner Bros.)

Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood (Courtesy Warner Bros.)

By Jay Tilles

Royal Blood graduated from playing nightclubs of fewer than 20 people to stadiums of more than 50,000 in just a year’s time, thanks in part to Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders.

The drummer wore the Brighton band’s T-shirt on stage at Glastonbury Festival and subsequently asked the very hard-rocking duo of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher, to open for them at two shows in London’s Finsbury Park later this month.

Royal Blood certainly keeps in line with frontman Alex Turner’s rallying cry for a return to rock ‘n’ roll. After Arctic Monkeys won British Album of the Year at this year’s Brit Awards, Turner used his acceptance speech to talk about the importance of rock, and of course, poke a little fun at its antithesis, One Direction. “Yeah, that rock ‘n roll, it seems like its faded away sometimes, but it will never die,” Turner told the crowd. “And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“I kinda feel like rock’s really the only thing I’ve done,” Kerr confessed to Radio.com. “Every time I’ve gone to write a song, it’s just always come out that way.”

The singer and guitarist also seems to agree with Turner’s assessment of the current state of rock and roll. “I guess I feel at the moment that there’s not enough rock bands that I like,” he said. “Things that inspire me rock-wise like Led Zeppelin, Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Raconteurs, Foo Fighters… The list kind of gets thin after that.”

But, Royal Blood’s debut EP, Out of the Black, which dropped in February, should give lovers of rock hope. Their first release is four tracks of blistering rock that sets them apart from their contemporaries, who seem to need four or five people to do what these guys can do with only two.

“I made this huge bass sound and we kind of laughed at first and thought, ‘What if we could do this? What if we could be a two-piece and sound like a four-piece and be a rock band?’” Kerr said of the band’s early beginnings.

Kerr’s exact set-up is a secret, but he did reveal that by using a single guitar plugged into multiple amplifiers he has the unique ability to sound like multiple guitarists. Of course, it’s no secret that Royal Blood is far louder than the average band. “When there’s less elements, things are louder,” theorizes Kerr.

The guitarist also believes “heavy” and “loud” music is not created by the instruments alone. “It’s what you’re playing that makes it loud, it’s not necessarily distortion,” he said. “We like to write heavy content.” They also like to do everything live. “We don’t have anyone extra,” he said. “Everything you hear is being played by real people.”

Playing live is where the duo’s passion lies and the guys are gearing up for three dates in the States, which include two stops in New York on May 12 and 13 and one in Los Angeles on the 15th. Kerr describes the band’s live performance as “very, very energetic” and hopes it will put a big smile on your face. “Hopefully you’ll remember why you like rock.”

 

 

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