Royal Blood tease “instinctive” new material and “gimmick-free” arena tour

After the surprise release of 'Honeybrains', frontman Mike Kerr tells NME about progress on album number four and his friendship with Colin Hanks

Following on from their recent surprise single ‘Honeybrains‘, Royal Blood have spoken to NME about how fans should expect more “instinctive” new music as they keep on writing through their current “gimmick-free” arena tour.

The Brighton rock duo shared the first taster of new music since their dance-indebted 2021 album ‘Typhoons‘ last week, when they released ‘Honeybrains’ to celebrate the start of the new leg of live dates through the UK and Europe.

Speaking to NME, frontman Mike Kerr revealed that the song came about quickly and was only first demoed a month ago.


“I’ve been in living in New York and trying to get my teeth into new ideas,” said Kerr. “I’ve been writing ever since we finished our last UK show in Brighton [in September 2021]. We were really excited about the idea of what this could be, so wanted to try and get it done and turned around in time for the tour.”

He continued: “I got back to Brighton, we went straight to the studio and it’s been a manic couple of weeks really because we’ve been recording, mixing, doing the video, doing the artwork. It’s been fun. We don’t usually work in this kind of spontaneous way – but it’s been really exciting.”

Having been so candid about how ‘Typhoons’ dealt with his mental health issues and journey to sobriety, Kerr admitted that he felt “less inclined” to discuss the inspiration behind ‘Honeybrains’ and other new songs in the works.

“I don’t know if that’s for me to say any more,” he said. “I’ve spoken so much about my own lyrics, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m better off just letting other people decipher. On the first albums, I never spoke about the words. I guess I really got into it on ‘Typhoons’ because I couldn’t really ignore what I’d been through and I wanted that to be heard. I’d have been lying if I was shying away from the truth.

“I think moving forward now, I’m less inclined to explain things. I think that takes something away.”


As for the sound of new music, Kerr described ‘Honeybrains’ as “just who we are and a snapshot of right now”, while also revealing that more “instinctive” music would follow.

“Even with ‘Typhoons’, which was more of a departure than anything we’d done before, it’s never a designed or premeditated idea,” he told NME. “We always just follow what we’re feeling at the time. Having just made that record, we felt the most free, secure and unlimited. No thought went into this track – in the best possible way! I wasn’t writing for any reason. I wasn’t trying to write a single or the next Royal Blood song; I was just making music.”

He went on: “What’s nice is that all of our other ‘new’ music is at least a year old, but I got the final mix back of this song last week, so it’s nice for our fans to be experiencing what we’re experiencing in real time. It feels good, man. We’re just going to keep going in this direction and see where it takes us.

While unsure of when more new music would follow, Kerr did reveal that they had “a bunch of new stuff that feels really great”, adding that “‘Honeybrains’ is a sign of me saying, ‘Right, I feel like this is album four’.”

“I would like to just crack on with an album now, to be honest,” he said. “We’ve missed out on a lot of touring so we have to go out on the road, but I’m just going to keep writing on the road and see where that takes me. I think that’s going to be exciting. I think ‘Honeybrains’ in particular is going to be very orientated around the live show.

“That’s where I want to go – I want to be testing things out on the road and being on the road?”

Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood perform on stage for the first live music show at the newly opened Swansea Arena on March 19, 2022 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns)
Royal Blood at the newly opened Swansea Arena on March 19, 2022 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns)

Returning to tour ‘Typhoons’ after various COVID-related delays, Kerr described the new leg of arena dates as “long overdue”. The duo kicked off the tour to open Swansea Arena, and are currently playing dates in Europe before returning to the UK later this week.

As for what to expect from the gigs, Kerr said: “We’re going to be playing a good mixture of all three albums, we’ve been rehearsing real hard, and the show is pretty big – I’m not gonna lie.”

Asked if the band would be upping their game to become an ‘arena band’, Kerr replied: “Honestly, I think that the sound that we have and the way that we play has always sounded great in massive rooms. We don’t need an inflatable dinosaur with laser beams coming out of his eyes – but we have one of those, so that’s good.

“We’re not relying heavily on too many gimmicks, but we do have lots of lights.”

Prior to ‘Honeybrains’, Royal Blood’s last single was the ‘Typhoons’ track ‘Hold On’ – which came complete with a video starring and directed by Band Of Brothers, Dexter, Jumanji and Life In Pieces actor Colin Hanks.

“I’ve known Colin for a while,” Kerr told NME, when asked how the collaboration came about. “I came up with this initial idea for a video and was thinking about directors and who would be great. This was the first ‘funny’ video we’ve done really. When making stuff like that, it’s all about people understanding your humour and finding someone you can really trust.

“I met Colin at a party and we just got on really well. He basically loves Brass Eye and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, which for an American is really rare. He really appreciates my English sense of humour. I put the idea for the video his way and he really developed it and took it to what you see now.”

Does Kerr see the band working with Hanks again?

“Oh yeah, the way it ended was great – so I’m sure we can muster something up,” he replied. “I’m never really that involved in the videos, well – not until recently. I’ve really been enjoying it and he totally killed it.

And has Kerr met Colin’s father Tom or any more members of the Hanks family?

“No, I’ve only got one,” he laughed. “I would like to complete the set, though.”

Royal Blood’s upcoming UK tour dates are below. Tickets are available here.

25 – Bournemouth, International Centre
26 – Birmingham, Utilita Arena
27 – Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
29 – Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
30 – London, The O2

01 – Leeds, First Direct Arena
02 – Manchester, AO Arena
03 – Glasgow, SSE Hydro

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