“Rock music is dead” is a statement that has been thrown around a lot in recent years. Unless you’re in a band like Arctic Monkeys or Kings of Leon, it’s hard to truly say that you’ve made it. There are so many bands in our scene who never succeed in making their chosen lifestyle a career. The amount of bands who have called it a day this year bring an emphasis to this. Long gone are the days where being in a band is enough to bring home the bacon; you would need side jobs for that. Enter Royal Blood, a fresh-faced duo who are bringing hope to the world of rock music once again.
The band, consisting of Mike Kerr (bass/ vocals) and Ben Thatcher, only formed in Brighton in 2013. They didn’t endure long years of playing shows to empty pubs. No, Royal Blood are one of the lucky ones. In a short span of a year, they’ve managed to play to sold out crowds, make massive festival appearances and release the fastest selling rock debut since Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in 2011. Their self-titled album sold 66,000 copies in the first week and shot up to the top of the charts. Now, the band have also been announced to support Foo Fighters for three dates on their upcoming UK tour – including two at Wembley Stadium. In this day and age, where rock music is supposedly dead, how does a band manage to create such a stir overnight?
Let’s all face it, the flow of originality has seem to run dry. There are far too many bands creating music that sounds too similar to one another. Don’t get us wrong, we’re probably big fans of most of these bands, but if we’re being honest, they’re really nothing unique. Royal Blood, on the other hand, create something special purely with a voice and the rhythm section. My first encounter with the band was early this year, before the whole world seemed to be talking about them. Having never heard of them before, the two stepped out on stage creating a racket I didn’t think was possible coming from just two individuals. Confused, I tried to look harder for additional musicians hiding somewhere on the side, but that’s just the thing; there were none.
If you’ve listened to the album, or even seen this duo live; you’re constantly asking yourself questions like “How are there only two people in this band?” and “How does he make his bass sound like that?” Quite frankly, these guys rock harder than most bands with five/six members. Cool, calm and collected, yet ever so powerful. One of the most appealing things about the band is their use of less is more. There’s no elaborate show; they just want to play their music. Putting a modern twist on old school rock, it’s no surprise the duo have garnered so much attention. They’ve got a timeless sound that feels fit to fill out stadiums worldwide and at this stage they’re not far off from doing so.
We’re not the only ones taking notice, and lots of fellow musicians have joined the Royal Blood fan club; with one of them being Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders. The band probably owe a small portion of their success to Helders, who was one of the first people to ever take notice. He asked if he could wear their merch on stage at Glastonbury 2013. Mind, this was before they even released the Out Of The Black EP; meaning they had to get a friend to specifically make that shirt for Helders. It’s not everyday a band like Royal Blood come along, but when they do they make you notice.