Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher are childhood friends who shared a love for rock-and-roll music growing up. With Kerr's vocals and bass and Thatcher's drums, together the pair created Royal Blood- manifesting their love of rock into a full-fledged rock duo sensation. The British duo have been making hits for a while now, amassing a dedicated fanbase for good reason.
Their knowledge of rock shows in their own music, playing into guitar riffs and big drumbeats that meld perfectly together. Their music quickly tops the UK charts, and together they earned the highly coveted Best British Group at the 2015 BRIT Awards- beating out One Direction, Clean Bandit, Coldplay, and alt-J. Since 2013, the band has put out four flawless studio albums, most recently Back To The Water Below.
The aforementioned album was a stylistic shift for Royal Blood, who abandoned their normal sound and tailored each song specifically- choosing instruments that sounded right for specific tracks. They completely produced the track independently, and they stayed true to Royal Blood by having fun doing it.
It can feel risky for artists to change up their sound completely, but with the duo's growing confidence in their ability to make major music...there was no better time than now. With the success of their previous album, Typhoons, Royal Blood was able to create a full album unlike anything they've ever done before. It worked.
Back To The Water Below consists of 10 flawless tracks (and two bonus singles on the Deluxe version) that switch from graceful piano melodies to dream-pop bass runs seamlessly. It blends genres of pop, rock, and alternative without missing a beat, which is a sign of a band that knows who they are. You can listen to the album here:
Their performance at Sea.Hear.Now told me all I needed to know about Royal Blood: their confidence and swagger radiates onstage...and the new tracks like "Pull Me Through" truly encompass this new era.
Kicking off their North American headline tour at Sea.Hear.Now 2023, I sat down with singer and bassist, Mike Kerr to talk the new album, tour, and more!
RB: The inspiration is kind of always about reacting to the album you made before it, you know? So the album we made before was during COVID and lockdown, so it felt more like a studio album. With this album now, we made it for the live shows. Playing live and going back to that simplicity and who we are again is the main sort of inspiration.
PD: Would you say you had playing live in mind when you wrote the album?
RB: I think we always do. We get a lot of ideas- or beginnings of ideas- on the road when we were touring. So I feel like, yeah, it was always on our minds.
PD: This kicks off your North American tour- what are you most excited about with performing live?
RB: I think it's just getting to be with our fans and getting that connection. We don't get to come here as often as we'd like...and as COVID proved, you never know when the next time is that you're going to get to be together. I think it's about being in front of people.
PD: You’re childhood friends who shared a love for rock- who were your favorite artists growing up?
RB: Favorite artists would be The Beatles, Queen, Rage Against The Machine, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and Jeff Buckley.
PD: If you could summarize the album in a few words, what would they be?
RB: I would say melodic, English, and rock-and-roll...which I'm counting as one word.
PD: Songs like “Pull Me Through” are a bit of a stylistic shift for you guys. Were you consciously doing this while writing or did it just happen?
RB: It's mainly something that's just happening. I think when we start ideas that sound fresh, that's usually the kind of reason to continue with them. I think when you're writing and you feel like you've done it before, it's not really inspiring.
PD: What are your favorite songs to perform live?
RB: "Shiner In The Dark" is my favorite at the minute and a song called "Waves", which is the last track on the album.