Royal Blood bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr has a piece of advice for teenagers trying to impress girls: don’t become a juggler.
While Kerr undoubtedly impressed countless women with his innovative multi-layered electric guitar playing, his original hobby was juggling and magic.
“I think I like to learn, really,” he says from the road as he cruises the Ventura Highway in sunny California. “I like a challenge, you know, so David Blaine was a massive idol of mine when I was about 10; it seemed like every other week on TV he was doing something crazy – not just stunts, card magic too, which no one really talks about.
During the lockdown, Kerr decided to take the cards back.
“I’m glad I followed the music,” he laughs.
Royal Blood, consisting of Kerr and longtime drummer Ben Thatcher, is set to return to North Texas on Friday, May 13 for a performance at Gilley’s South Side Ballroom with special guest Cleopatrick.
Last year, the duo released Typhoons, their third full LP and third consecutive No. 1 record in their native England. The band recently completed a UK tour which saw them fill arenas. Kerr says the relatively smaller US tour is going well, but the audience is a little different across the pond.
“I think I find that audiences listen a little more attentively in the United States and are less rowdy,” he says. “There is a lot of haze on this stage. It’s sometimes hard to say. »
During the early planning stages of what would eventually become Typhoons, the duo recorded with producer Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, one of Kerr’s favorite bands. The sessions yielded three songs: “King”, “Space”, and “Boilermaker”, but only the latter made it to the final track listing, with the first two eventually ending up as pasted B-sides on the edition of luxury of the album.
“I think finding something unique is about mixing and drawing from multiple influences, and that’s what Typhoons is. It’s about bringing things into your world rather than just adopting another world that isn’t yours. –Mike Kerr
Why should two-thirds of the material Kerr recorded with one of his favorite musicians be relegated to bonus purgatory?
“I had changed drastically as a person,” he says, referring to his decision to get sober before the recording of Typhoons. “I changed my life and some of the new music I was writing was a much more accurate reflection of who I was at the time than some of those other songs. And it’s about creating a cohesive work, you know, rather than just putting everything you’ve created on one disc.
After his sessions with Homme were over and the success of COVID, Kerr resorted to recording a series of self-produced demos, many of which became the actual tracks, resulting in Typhoons becoming Royal Blood’s first entirely self-produced record, other than “Boilermaker”.
“Self-production is not something we really intended to do,” Kerr says. “It’s just something we’ve always done. We co-produced our first two records, so it’s always been part of the band. It always depends on the music and the songs and where we are. I don’t think we like to make decisions in advance – we want to let the music really guide us and tell us what to do or where to go.
Typhoons also betrays Kerr’s abundant interest in electronic dance music, with the band’s tight walls of overdriven bass and drums spiraling together into fierce disco grooves. As to whether or not the band will pursue dance music on future albums, Kerr says the door is always open, but he has no plans to commit to any particular style.
“I mean, there are no rules,” he says. “We can do whatever we want. That’s what’s great about this job. Uh, though, I think I’m going all the way anything is usually not something we like. I think finding something unique is about mixing and drawing inspiration from multiple influences, and that’s what Typhoons is. It’s about bringing things into your world rather than just adopting another world that isn’t yours.