Royal Thunder

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It is often compared that being in a band is like being in a relationship of both personal and professional natures. There is the sharing and expressions of art between each musician which can be extremely private, even intimate; then there is the dependence on each other, living out of one another’s pockets and making joint decisions to better the “brand” of the outfit.

Ultimately it comes to interdependence, being mutually reliant upon one another. Georgia’s progressive-stoner-post-grunge-punk-rock quartet (catch all that?) Royal Thunder know interdependency arguably better than most bands aligned with that sound. As guitarist Josh Weaver explains, upon entering the studio to record their most recent third album Wick (released April 2017), the four-piece went into the studio with barely a new song to record, just basic blueprints of musical ideas, but this was not entirely new territory to Royal Thunder.

“We have actually done that quite a lot, this album we did it more-so than any other record we have done in the past, we went into the studio with a lot less material this time.” He describes confidently. – “It is a great experience, we have worked with Joey Jones at the Aria recording studio for years now and it’s always great working with him. There is very little stress, no pressure, we just get in there and create an album.”

To undergo such a high-pressure writing and recording method, the four-piece utilised their astounding interdependency to their maximum capacity and the rewards are career-defining. The 12 tracks which make up the third full-length are the most eclectic, engaging and emotionally driven hard rock songs the band have created.

“It’s always hard to do an album though, because you CARE about it and you want to make a great album. We never just ‘settle’ on anything. At the same time, what comes out is what comes out and we don’t try to overthink it or push it. Somebody will come up with a riff, usually me or Will Fiore (rhythm guitarist) – a basic part and then we write our parts around it.”

He continues – “We definitely all work together and I think play off one another really well, we are just a good mix of people and we are always passionate about playing music and with variety. So hopefully that translates really well.”

Translates it does, subliminally. Royal Thunder have certainly broken the barriers down from their earlier doom and sludge influence; Wick finds the woman and three gentleman exploring every avenue of interest. Comparisons to Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Blue Oyster Cult and Joan Jett are still evident, however the exploration has been broadened exponentially.

A song entitled Push for example, found near the end of the record is a haunting post-punk whimper channeling a legend of the formula by the name of Nick Cave. A swirl of piano, a string arrangement and eventually a rather lighter version of grunge guitar and minimal percussion guides the eerie track etching it into the listeners’ memory rather irresistibly amongst its gloomy character.

“We don’t really go out and try to write a part that sounds like this person or that person. But sometimes those kind of influences come out without knowing you know?
“I think we had an idea for that, once it came about we definitely knew we wanted strings on the album. This guy Matt Jarrard has played on several of our albums, he came out and it just made perfect sense to put it there.”

LP number three also incorporated the move from Relapse Records to Spinefarm Records to handle the release. Front-woman / bassist Mlny Parsonz has revealed that the outfit’s previous record Crooked Doors received minute attention from Relapse in pushing the album; so it prompted this writer to ask Josh Weaver how the new agreement came about?

“You know our contract was just up with Relapse and we were ready for a new chapter and Spinefarm was waiting at the doorstep. So we met up with them and really hit it off and connected with the people that run the whole label. It’s been a really great experience and we are really happy to be working with them.”

With such a diversified arrangement of music genres in Royal Thunder’s recipe, it has enabled the four-piece to tour immensely with an array of different bands. Without doubt this is an empowering capability to reach new fans on all spectrums worldwide; Josh also reveals that this variance only increases their adoration for playing shows on a full-time basis.

“We have had so many great times playing, Hellfest was a great big awesome memory. The shows with Wilco were really awesome. We have toured with The Sword and had a great time with The Dillinger Escape Plan; pretty much all the tours we have really enjoyed them all.”

Aspiring to comprehensively tour the globe behind Wick, the wheels are in motion to get Royal Thunder to ever corner of planet Earth that they are able to perform. However, are there any locations in particular that Mr. Weaver and co. are wishing to visit?

“I would love to do some shows in Japan or China or any of those areas would be really neat. I have never been there, so it would be fun and different to check out.”

How about with the international touring so far? What have those experiences been like for Royal Thunder compared to the USA?

“It seems like in America, it is more of a social gathering but in some parts of Europe fans are out there and they are dead serious about it. They are soaking up every moment of the music, they are there to see the bands and really just watch everything intently.”

Will Australia be on the itinerary by any chance?

“That’s definitely on our radar for sure, hopefully we will get out there as soon as possible and make some new fans and meet people. Really just check out Australia. I made a joke of it saying that we had to get down there and play with some koalas and boomerangs (laughs). I have heard it is a beautiful place and I would just love to come out there and experience it.”

Written by Will Oakeshott

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Written by Dave Griffiths

Dave has worked as a music & film journalist for over 20 years now. Aside from Heavy he does radio and various podcasts as well. He is the proud owner of Metal Cat.

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