May 31, 2018 Interview – Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood
In most cases, Rock-n-Roll bands are configured as 3, 4, or 5 pieces, but why not 2? That’s right, 2 musicians coming together to tear it up with a wall of sound that would give most traditional 4-piece Rock bands a run for their money. Doing just that, Vocalist/Bassist Mike Kerr and Drummer Ben Thatcher came together to form Royal Blood some 5 years ago. Hailing from the UK, the 2-piece band quickly became a success story, earning several awards for their 2014 international chart-topping debut album leading into their impressive 2017 follow-up, How Did We Get So Dark?
Remaining red hot, with “I Only Lie When I Love You,” Royal Blood attained their third No. 1 single on the chart and 5th trip to the Top 5, proving they are a force to be reckoned with. Sharing the stage with acts such as Foo Fighters, and most recently Queens of the Stone Age in 2017 in to 2018, Royal Blood are currently bouncing around the USA on a headlining run of shows guaranteed to garner even more fanfare. Taking time out of the hectic touring schedule, one half of Royal Blood, Ben Thatcher, sat down to chat about the wild journey of the band and plans for new music, plus more.
CrypticRock.com – Growing up with a love for music, you came together to form Royal Blood some 5 years ago. In that time, you have released 2 well-received records and toured the world. How would you briefly describe the experience thus far of Royal Blood?
Ben Thatcher – Fucking mad!
CrypticRock.com – (Laughs) Straight and to the point. The band’s sound is defined by you two handling all the instrumentation. Was it an asserted effort to make this a two-piece act from the start?
Ben Thatcher – Yeah, kind of, we both had been in bands before with other musicians. When we started this with just us, we kind of realized we didn’t need anyone else to come in. The dynamic has been a strong part of our relationship and it just felt natural and easy being the two of us.
CrypticRock.com – It has worked well. Your sound possesses a raw energy, heard both on your debut album and 2017’s How Did We Get So Dark? Sometimes modern Rock records can be overproduced, thus resulting in the music losing its potency. Is it important for you to create a sound that has a thick, less polished tone?
Ben Thatcher – Hmm, sort of, I think we love playing songs live, and it’s trying to capture that on record. Bringing that energy, rawness, whilst adopting a contemporary sound that doesn’t sound too polished I guess.
CrypticRock.com – Right, that live vibe is certainly present. Speaking of How Did We Get So Dark?, we are approaching the 1 year anniversary since its release. What challenges did you face when writing and recording the album, seeing it followed up the major success of your 2014 debut LP?
Ben Thatcher – Definitely a new experience for us, we had only made the first record for us really, suddenly there’s people that are waiting for it. It definitely adds a different aspect to it. It took a little time, but we were really excited being in the studio and getting these new tracks down.
CrypticRock.com – They always say you have your entire life essentially to write your first album. That in mind, How Did We Get So Dark? was a strong sophomore effort paving the way for the future. Where does Royal Blood go from here? Are there new song ideas in the works, and could we expect some new music sooner than later?
Ben Thatcher – Couple of ideas in the incubator, yes, definitely keen to move on to the next record pretty swiftly. Once we finish this run, then we’ll be heading straight into the rehearsal room to get started on some ideas.
CrypticRock.com – That is good news! As you stated, the band is currently in the midst of a North American run of shows. Doing some dates opening for Queens of the Stone Age, you are now out doing headlining shows. How were the shows with QOTSA and how has the start of your headlining run been?
Ben Thatcher – QOTSA, those guys, we love them. It has been amazing touring with them, we’ve learnt a lot and so grateful to them for taking us out. Mike has injured himself so he’s in a bit of an awkward position, but the shows have been great!
CrypticRock.com – Awesome. You recently played New York City and have a list of shows lined up in the USA through mid June. When performing live, you stick to a two-piece. Some fans may not be as keen as others, meaning, not everyone realizes you are only two guys creating this large sound. Do you ever find some people in the crowd surprised to see you performing with just two musicians on stage?
Ben Thatcher – (Laughs) Yes, a lot, certainly at the beginning. Fortunately, we’re playing to more people who actually have come to see us nowadays! Previously though, it was the interview question we got asked every single interview. It was actually our blog for a bit, “how do 2 people make so much noise?”
CrypticRock.com – (Laughs) Well, it certainly is a question everyone has on their mind because you guys certainly have a very full sound. Your influences appear to be from a more Classic Rock and Blues Rock background. That in mind, tell us a little bit about your influences?
Ben Thatcher – Probably more of a broader, cross-genre than people may think. Obviously we love Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, but also a fair amount of Pop and Hip Hop too.
CrypticRock.com – Interesting, it is always good to have a wide range of musical tastes. Last question. We also cover Horror and Sci-Fi films on CrypticRock. If you are a fan of either or both genres, what are some of your favorites?
Ben Thatcher – Not specifically, it’s been difficult to catch up with much cinema, but hopefully we’ll have some downtime too to catch-up!