Royal Blood reveal why Josh Homme got them to wear wigs in the studio
Watch Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher's full chat with Danielle Perry
Last updated 22nd Jan 2021
Royal Blood have exclusively revealed to Absolute Radio why Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme got them to wear wigs in the recording studio.
Celebrating the unleashing of their phenomenal new single ‘Typhoons’ and the upcoming release of the album of the same name on Friday 30th April, Royal Blood’s Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr caught up with Danielle Perry on Thursday night’s Evening Show for a wide-ranging chat.
Largely self-produced by the duo, ‘Typhoons’ also features production from Paul Epworth on lead single ‘Trouble’s Coming’ and ‘Who Needs Friends’, plus studio wizardry from Josh Homme on ‘Boilermaker.’
Asked by Danielle how it was working with Josh Homme, vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Mike Kerr said it “involved a lot of wigs.”
Drummer Ben Thatcher chipped in: “It makes you play different. You become a different person for that take.”
Mike added: “It’s one of many techniques we learned. Who knew?! Just put on a wig and suddenly you're a different person!"
You can watch and read Danielle’s full interview with Royal Blood below where they also open up about why the coronavirus pandemic actually made them more experimental in the studio, how the album sounds like “AC/DC at a disco”, why ‘Typhoons’ has made a perfect second single and much more.
Watch Danielle Perry chat to Royal Blood:
Read Danielle Perry’s full interview with Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher:
Danielle: It must be nice to finally announce the new album!
Mike: “Yeah, it’s strange. This process has been long. We’ve both kind of been through a lot and been on a real journey to get to this point. We really set out to make something that felt fresh and felt new and had the excitement of a debut, I guess, I think we wanted to kind of push ourselves. So yeah it's a bit surreal. And it's even more surreal that we're putting it out in the middle of a global pandemic as well.”
Danielle: How long has the album been ready for?
Mike: “It's a weird one. It’s been ready to go multiple times and I think as the situation has changed and our label have been unsure about whether to put it out or not, it was buying us these kind of extra pockets of time that we would go into the studio again and go and write and record. As a result, I think we've just slowly made the album even better and enhanced it and there's a couple of extra tracks on the record that came out of that kind of process. Also there was just no pressure, and I think this new track ‘Typhoons’ was written for no reason during the first lockdown. And at the time, it felt like we didn't even need an extra song for the album. So, (the delay) allowed us to have a lot of fun, I think, and take some extra risks as well.”
Danielle: Tell us why ‘Typhoons’ has become the second introduction to the new album.
Mike: “We talked a little bit about (lead single)‘Trouble's Coming’ and about how that track was the kind of key to the rest of this record. This kind of this idea that we could maintain the integrity of our band by being kind of riff based and heavy and in-your-face and bold, but it had this kind of fresh spin on it where we felt like we were in AC/DC but at a disco and it felt like we found this through line for like making songs that are really danceable, which historically rock and roll has always been about, you know. It felt like we had this brand new way of playing. So that was on that track, but I feel like ‘Typhoons’ really embodied all of those ideas and was a lot more garish with it and it felt a lot more fun. It was one of those songs where as soon as we had the bones of it, it was so exciting. And I think as well, lyrically it helped bring the album together and it felt like it had a running theme.”
Danielle: How hard is it to play with a quicker BPM and tempo being slightly different and groove based? Did you have a lot of fun in the studio laying it down?
Ben: “Yeah, it was different playing it. Mike came up with a lot of the beats, like demo beats and stuff, but it was fun to create around these beats, and to hear Royal Blood riffs and Mike's vocals going over these dance beats. And yeah so it was fun but it's actually harder to play than the other stuff, because the other stuff was is kind of filling in and it's quite busy where this is more laid back and sticking to the groove, which is I think harder to do.”
Danielle: I love the direction in which it's gone sonically, I think it's a really clever and creative kind of step. I love the things I've read so far about how you were saying you’re inspired by AC/DC, Justice and Daft Punk and Hot Chip. I think it fuses beautifully together.
Mike “I guess the music we've made up until this point has been so bare bones - our first record is just drums, bass and one vocal. So just adding anything is so extreme from where we've come from. Between the two of us we're the only people that really felt like we should have the authority… if we are going to add something, what it should be. And I think we're allowed us to be a lot more delicate about what that was.
Danielle: How was working with Josh Homme on ‘Boilermaker’?
Mike: “I guess at that at that particular point in time, we didn't have much material at all. But that song was the first thing of coming off tour where we felt like we had a really, really exciting tune. And we've been touring with Queens of the Stone Age for a long time and I’d just done The Desert Sessions, and I got to see Josh in his producer role in the studio. We also had a friendship. I think if we were going to work together this felt like the perfect song. Our time together in the studio was incredible. It really set us up to go and make the rest of this album. I think he's someone that obviously we've always looked up to and, yeah, he really gave us the confidence to go and be ourselves and go and, whatever it is we wanted to make, to go and do it with full commitment and no apologies. The whole experience in general was also really funny, we just had a really good time. There was a lot of wigs, a lot of wigs!”
Ben: “It makes you play different. You become a different person for that take.”
Mike: “It’s one of many techniques we learned. Who knew?! Just put on a wig and suddenly you're a different person.”
Danielle: The album closes with a piano ballad ('All We Have Is Now') and there’s all these different sounds coming in. What are you now going to have to take out on the road with you that you didn't before?
Mike: “We always have a joke about the keyboard songs from some of our previous records and it would usually get lost at the airport or someone would forget it. So, as long as we don't forget that keyboard, we should be okay. But we can't promise anything, can we Ben?”
Ben: “No. There's been moments where we we've gone to play the keyboard song and we can't play the keyboard song because we've lost the keyboard.”
Mike: “Now we have two keyboard songs. Maybe we should bring a grand piano so it's a little bit more difficult to lose at the airport?!”
The track-listing for Royal Blood's 'Typhoons' is as follows:
1) Trouble’s Coming’
4) Who Needs Friends
5) Million & One
7) Either You Want It
9) Mad Visions
10) Hold On
11) All We Have Is Now
Listen to Absolute Radio on DAB nationwide, on our free app, by hitting that play button on the bottom of your screen, via your smart speaker (“Play Absolute Radio”) and on Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media TV.