Interview: Royal Blood frontman Mike Kerr on album number two, How Did We Get So Dark?

Following on from the meteoric success of their debut album, we had the chance to have a chat with front man and bassist, Mike Kerr, on the eve of the release of their second album How Did We Get So Dark, which is in stores now.

How is it releasing an album the second time around in terms of press and the process?

I mean, yeah, we’ve done enough, to say the very least.  We kind of know what the drill is but I guess in every sense we kind of know what we’re doing a bit more, whereas before we were a bit like rabbits in the headlights.

Royal Blood has an extraordinary sonic output – is that a deliberate direction or is it a by-product of how you play?

I think it’s a by-product of everything really because I started out as a piano player and I’d played keys in bands before, kind of taking the role of a bass player, and always searched for something big and rocky.  I guess Royal Blood was when I felt that I refined my own sound and that’s when the songs started coming because of the sound we had, you know?  I always find when you have a new guitar, or a new instrument, something you’re unfamiliar with, there’s always some song living inside it but when I kind of stumbled across my bass sound it felt like there was a whole band living inside it.

I saw you play in King Tut’s tent in 2014 at T in the Park in Scotland – did you have any idea of how big Royal Blood was going to become?

I think at that point it felt like big already, you know what I mean?  We had a massive crowd of people who were singing along to all the words of the songs so at that point it felt like the lid had been blown off.  At that kind of moment it felt like we were in the middle of it.  It was kind of hard to gauge the temperature of what was going on.

How Did We Get So Dark?seems to have a higher level of craftsmanship and weight of experience behind it – is that a fair assessment?

Yeah, I hope so.  We’re three years on from our first album and in between the two records we’ve been a full, proper touring live band so I guess our experience as musicians, not only individually but collaboratively, has grown so massively and I think that kind of shines on the album a lot more.  Not only our experiences recording – I think across the board we’ve come quite a long way.

Did you experience any of the second album trepidation?

It kind of felt like a privilege really, I mean, we were in the situation where we had all the time we needed to be creative and make something that we could be proud of so there’s nothing daunting about that, it’s more of a gift, if anything, than a curse.

After everything you’ve achieved to date are there any particular milestones you’d like to achieve, or are you happy to go where the wind blows?

Yeah, kind of go where the wind blows really, I mean, all of our ambition looks towards the music, really, and what we can achieve there.  I think everything we’ve achieved so far kind of in terms of the fan base and any kind of commercial success that’s mainly been a by-product of the fact that we’ve put a lot of work into our music.  Our only real kind of goal is to improve as a band.

How Did We Get So Dark? was released through Warner Music Australia on Friday 16 June 2017.