• Steve Jenkins

Interview: Royal Thunder

Royal Thunder is a haunting rock band that lures listeners in with their dark rhythms and soulful vocals. Bands like Royal Thunder are the kinds which remind people how unnecessary it can be to pigeonhole artists into specific genres when trying to explain how their music sounds, or what kind of fans will enjoy it the most. Since 2010, Atlanta’s Royal Thunder has managed to avoid a definitive categorization to their music while simultaneously maintaining, and progressing, their own distinct sound which most fans still can't quite seem to define. Although they’re not quite metal, but accepted within that scene, they’re certainly rock. However, they also have a tinge of shady 80’s psychedelia and additionally stir some colourful 90’s alt-rock elements into the mix.

We spoke to soulful vocalist Mlny Parsonz about their new album, being on the road and the evolution of their dazzling sound.

First of all, congratulations on the new album Wick, it’s a brilliant sounding record. How has the response and feedback been so far?

Well thank you. It’s been pretty good and we’ve had lots of positive feedback. Surprisingly people are actually really into it, you never know what to expect you know? When you put out a new album, you kind of think sometimes that people are going to be like ‘this is so different and weird and not that good’ so it’s nice to hear mostly good things. Also, just being on this tour right now after a month of playing shows, it’s been cool just to see people come up to the front row and just really be into it and super supportive and they seem to really like it. It just makes you think wow, this is really cool and people are rocking out to it and having a good time, so it’s all really great right now.

Are you on the road right now?

Uh huh, yeah we’ve been on the road with Black Wizard and Brant Bjork. Last night was the last night of our tour, we started on April 3rd and we finished up last night with those guys. Now we’ll be heading back home and doing some headlining shows for like another week.

Awesome. What was the inspiration for the new album? Does the title, Wick, hold any particular significance?

Um, well inspiration really just came from being on the road. When you’re on the road and there’s something that happens its sort of like a concentrated version of living life and there’s a lot of time in the van. A lot of time to think and wonder and write. Sitting there and thinking about things and allowing things to process. You’ve got a lot of time in your own head, and I think just that in itself has played a major role in what the new album is about. There’s a lot of transitioning going on in everyone’s lives and we were just doing whatever we were doing. The title Wick is just sort of the whole idea of holding a candle and lighting the flame and just staring at the wick as it slowly burns down.

You recently signed to Spinefarm Records who have released this latest album of yours. How has it been working with them so far?

It’s been great. They’re such a supportive, enthusiastic and encouraging group of people and when we joined them we truly felt like we were partnering with someone that shared our vision and that’s been the best feeling ever because we never really had that before. Previous to being with Spinefarm we kind of just did it for ourselves we were supportive of each other and that kept us going, so it’s nice to have that family kind of grow into something bigger.

Your sound has really evolved since your debut EP back in 2010. How would you say your song-writing has changed between now and then and what has been a contributing factor?

I always think of the EP as us just being babies and new to everything. We were in our early 20’s when we did that and now we are in our 30’s and it’s funny in some ways to go back and listen to it. I kind of laugh at myself personally and I’m like ‘wow’ I was a terrible bass player back then not really a great singer we weren’t really sure where we were going. I didn’t expect it to be a big deal and I didn’t expect anyone to really give a shit and I think just being on the road, that’s where all those songs evolved and developed and our sound along with that.

What is the best thing and what is the hardest thing about touring in your own opinion?

The best thing is being on the road and touring with other bands. You get to be this family for however long the tour lasts for and you get really close and make friends for life. The worst thing is parting ways with those people that you’ve shared every day with and become accustomed to. Waking up and knowing that tomorrow you’re not going to be in this club with each other playing music and having fun, that’s the hardest part for sure.

Who would you say are your biggest influences in music? Not only for yourself but as a band and as a collective.

I think as a band, a lot of us find inspiration from things that we feel and things that we go through and experience, because it’s real and you believe in it. That’s the best kind of music and as a band we listen to The Cult, they make us feel that way. The National is another one, there’s all kinds of stuff being played in the van as we’re driving around. Just mostly anything real.

Before you go, we would love to know if there are any plans on coming to Australia for a run of shows one day soon perhaps?

Oh yeah, we definitely have plans to be there. Everything is kind of already in the works and up in the air at the same time, but it is definitely a plan and something we want to happen. We always sit around and joke and talk about how we want to play with boomerangs and hold Koala bears, we can’t wait and we’ve heard some incredible things about Australia and we’d love to play there.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat Mel, and we hope to see you here sooner rather than later. All the best for your upcoming shows and travel safe.

Cool dude, appreciate your time and thank you very much, we will be there soon hopefully.

Wick is available to purchase now on iTunes and all good music retailers. You can also stream the album on Spotify. Check out our review for Wick right here.

Watch this video for "The Sinking Chair" below:

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