Royal Blood: Everything You Need To Know About The Brighton Duo

In less than twelve months, Royal Blood have gone from ridiculously promising newcomers to one of the country’s biggest new rock bands. This week, they’re NME cover stars too. So, to celebrate, here’s a potted history of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher’s rollercoaster ride so far…

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In less than twelve months, Royal Blood have gone from ridiculously promising newcomers to one of the country’s biggest new rock bands. This week, they’re NME cover stars too. So, to celebrate, here’s a potted history of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher’s rollercoaster ride so far…

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Starting at the beginning, with a pair of Royal babies. As children, both showed glimmers of on-stage confidence (read: showing off). Ben still has a picture of his 18-month-old self, playing a pots and pans drumkit, while Mike was an “attention-seeking” child magician. For his next trick, he’ll pull a number one album out of the hat.

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More surprisingly, perhaps, Mike was brought up as part of a strict Christian church until the age of 16. He then decided to leave, later penning ‘Come On Over’ (“There’s no God and I really don’t care”) about the experience.

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Glastonbury – Worthy Farm – 28/06/2014

Mike originally hailed from Worthing, while Ben was from Rustington. However, the pair first met in Chichester, when Mike tried to hit on Ben’s girlfriend at a gig. A classic tale of friendship, you’ll agree.

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2013 was spent polishing their wares in Brighton Electric’s rehearsal rooms, writing the tunes that would go on to sledgehammer their blues-rock message into public consciousness.

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The band eventually signed to Wildlife Management – home to Drenge and some little known bunch called Arctic something or other. “The perception is that [Wildlife] picked us out of nowhere and made us stars,” jokes Mike about his label’s famous successes. “I love that. It’ll help spread that X Factor rumour”.

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Glastonbury – Worthy Farm – 28/06/2014

Royal Blood have got some things of their own to say about rock vs the rest of the world too. “Having Auto-Tune and anything like that, to me deceives the audience; even sometimes backing tracks,” railed Mike. “Anything that’s being done by a computer, to me, is not real.”

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When it comes to their own music, however, the band aren’t so open. Mike is notoriously cagey when it comes to revealing how he makes his bass sound like Thor’s sonic hammer. “It took me a long time to work out my sound and it’s mine. The fun is in the not knowing,” he says, evasively.

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Debut single ‘Out Of The Black’ was finally released on November 11, 2013. It stormed onto the Radio One A-list, hitting Number One on the UK rock chart and Number Two on the US mainstream rock chart. The ripples of excitement started turning into a full-on tidal wave.

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Two more singles followed – ‘Little Monster’ on February 11 and ‘Come on Over’ on March 11 – before the pair headed across the Atlantic for annual industry tip-fest SXSW in Austin. Unsurprisingly, Royal Blood were widely labeled one of the festival’s most promising new acts.

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One of the most defining moments for Royal Blood was watching Queens Of The Stone Age at Reading. “It changed my life,” Mike told NME.

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April saw the band tick off another box on the career checklist, when they appeared on legendary music show Later… With Jools Holland to tear through ‘Out Of the Black’. Also on the show that night was bafflingly popular “soul” boy Paolo Nutini, which we’re sure the Bloods were really pleased about.

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DDMMYYYY – HEADLINE – © 2014 Jenn Five

It’s festival season! And to celebrate, the band proved that they could be accepted literally anywhere. From Glastonbury’s hippy mecca to Download’s fervent metal-heads, wherever they went, the crowds followed in swarms.

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The biggest proof came when the band hit Reading & Leeds Festival (August 22-24). Despite their reasonably early-afternoon billing, the pair had nigh-on thousands of people spilling out the sides of the NME/ BBC Radio One tent, drumming up without doubt one of the biggest non-Main Stage crowds of the weekend.

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And, just to cement how massive the gigs were, when the sound was pulled during a final ‘Out Of The Black’ at Leeds due to time restrictions, the phenomenally loud boos rang out across the entire field.

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Shortly after, Royal Blood announced a thirteen-date UK tour throughout October and November. It sold out in two minutes, which is around the same length of time it takes to boil a kettle or say the phrase “this is a bit mad, isn’t it?” 24 times.

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Earlier this month, meanwhile, George Ergatoudis – the influential head honcho at Radio One – pointed to Royal Blood as one of the new charge responsible for rock showing “amazing results” in recent weeks, alongside You Me At Six and Lower Than Atlantis.

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And now, Ben and Mike become NME cover stars for the first (and likely not last) time! Congrats, Royal Blood. You’re completely bloody killing it.

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