Royal Blood (band)
Royal Blood performing in July 2017
Royal Blood are an English rock duo formed in Brighton in 2011, consisting of Mike Kerr (vocals, bass guitar) and Ben Thatcher (drums). Their sound is anchored in Kerr's unique bass playing technique, in which he uses various effects pedals to make his bass guitar sound like a standard electric guitar. Their self-titled debut album was released in August 2014. Their second album How Did We Get So Dark? followed in June 2017.
2011–2015: Formation and debut album
Royal Blood consists of lead vocalist and bass guitarist Mike Kerr (born 19 June 1990) and drummer Ben Thatcher (born 12 February 1988). The pair are from West Sussex: Kerr grew up in Worthing, while Thatcher is from Rustington. They first met around 2005 when they were teenagers, and for a brief period they were part of the same four-piece band, Flavour Country, in which Kerr played keyboards and the keytar.
Royal Blood formed in March 2011, after Kerr met original drummer Matt Swan in Brighton. They relocated to Australia, where Swan was originally from, and recorded an EP in Brisbane. The first single, "Leaving" (later re-recorded and renamed "Come On Over"), was premiered on triple j in 2012. The band played around the Brisbane and Gold Coast area, before Kerr ultimately elected to return to the UK. When Kerr returned to England, Thatcher picked him up from the airport and the two decided to form a band. Initially, the new version of Royal Blood "couldn't get a gig in Worthing for months." According to Kerr: "we ended up just playing a lot of open-mic nights with acoustic singer-songwriters." The band developed their music in the studios of Brighton Electric, and it was during these months that they were signed by Warner/Chappell Music. The band joined the same management company as the band Arctic Monkeys. During the summer of 2013, Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders was seen wearing a shirt supporting Royal Blood (before the release of their first single) during the Arctic Monkeys Glastonbury Festival concert in July 2013.
On 11 November 2013, Royal Blood released their official debut single, "Out of the Black", which came with the B-side of the re-recorded "Come On Over". In November 2013, it was announced that Royal Blood would be supporting Arctic Monkeys for two Finsbury Park shows in May 2014. In December 2013, Royal Blood were nominated for BBC Sound of 2014.
Royal Blood released their second single, "Little Monster", on 11 February 2014. The band also released a four-track EP Out of the Black, featuring "Out of the Black", "Little Monster", "Come On Over" and "Hole" on 11 March 2014 in North America.
Royal Blood performed at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in March 2014; at Liverpool Sound City festival and at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend in Glasgow in May; and at Download Festival and Glastonbury Festival in June. They performed at T in the Park festival in July, and at Reading Festival, but got cut short at their Leeds Festival show, as well as Osheaga in August 2014.
Their debut album, Royal Blood, was released on 25 August 2014 on Warner Bros. Records. Well received by critics, it was verified by the Official Charts Company as the fastest-selling British rock debut album in three years in the UK. The cover artwork, by London-based contemporary artist Dan Hillier, won the Best Art Vinyl award in 2014.
A video clip for "Out of the Black" entered rotation as part of cable network AXN Japan's "AXN Tunes" programme in October 2014; music videos aired on-the-hour as filler, in between their regularly scheduled timetabled programming.
In October 2014, Royal Blood announced details of their biggest European tour to date, starting in Germany on 10 January, and ending in Sweden on 23 March. The band, along with Iggy Pop, supported Foo Fighters on selected dates during their 2015 UK, US and Canada tours.
In February 2015, at the Brit Awards in London, Jimmy Page presented them with the Best British Group Award. In April 2015, they played the Coachella Festival in California, in June 2015 they played the Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati and, in September 2015, they played at the Rock in Rio festival, in Rio de Janeiro.
On 29 and 30 August 2015, Royal Blood played the main stage at Reading and Leeds 2015. During both of these performances, the band revealed a new song, titled "Hook, Line & Sinker". In October 2015, the band had finished touring for their debut album.
2016–2018: How Did We Get So Dark?
On 16 October 2016, a video was uploaded to the band's official Instagram account showing the band in the studio. The video showed Mike Kerr playing the Robbie Williams track "Let Me Entertain You" on piano, with Ben Thatcher recording the video and singing. The video was captioned "Day 1. Robbie Williams #royalblooddocovers". They then continued these short covers on Instagram, covering songs from Vanessa Carlton, Gloria Gaynor, Spandau Ballet, Elton John, Coldplay and Michael Jackson.
On 29 March 2016, the band released a new track, "Where Are You Now?" inspired by the American TV series Vinyl. The song was later re-recorded during the making of their second album How Did We Get So Dark?
Following its announcement on 11 April 2017, Royal Blood released their second album, How Did We Get So Dark? on 16 June 2017, preceded by the singles "Lights Out", "Hook, Line & Sinker" and "I Only Lie When I Love You." It debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.
In April 2017, Royal Blood announced four UK shows, starting in Cambridge on 17 May and ending in Leicester on 20 May. In June 2017, Royal Blood played at Glastonbury on the Pyramid Stage. In addition, on 5 June, the band announced a tour in Europe on their social media, which took place throughout October and November 2017.
2019–present: Upcoming third studio album
In June 2019, Kerr and Thatcher presented Jimmy Page with the Icon Award at the Kerrang! Awards. The following month, Royal Blood debuted two new songs, "Boilermaker" and "King", in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Musical style and influences
Kerr has named his vocal influences as Josh Homme, Robert Plant, Jack White, and Jeff Buckley. Thatcher has referred to John Bonham, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Jon Theodore, Roger Taylor, and Chad Smith as the biggest influences on his drumming style. The duo have cited At the Drive-In, The Dead Weather, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Raconteurs as influences on their overall sound.
- Current members
- Mike Kerr – vocals, bass, keyboards, piano (2011–present)
- Ben Thatcher – drums, percussion (2013–present)
- Former members
- Matt Swan – drums, percussion (2011–2013)
Awards and nominations
|2014||BBC||Sound of 2014||Nominated|||
|Mercury Prize||Album of the Year||Nominated|||
|2015||NME Awards||Best Live Band||Won|||
|Best New Band||Won|
|Brit Awards||Best British Group||Won|||
|Kerrang! Awards||Best British Newcomer||Won|||
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Rock||Nominated|||
|Best Push Act||Nominated|
|Q Awards||Best Live Act||Won|||
|Classic Rock Magazine Awards||Album of the Year||Nominated|||
Global Metal Apocalypse
|Breakthrough Non-Metal band/artist||Won|||
|2017||LOS40 Music Awards||LOS40 Blackjack Artist Award||Nominated|||
|2018||Brit Awards||Best British Group||Nominated|||
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