Matt Koch interviews Ben From Royal Blood!

August 29, 2017

I had the honor and pleasure of sitting down with the drummer of one of Jimmy Page’s favorite bands- Ben Thatcher from Royal Blood, a few weeks ago when they were in town to blow the roof off The Showbox:

It was an incredible show and if you missed it, you’re in luck because they’re playing the Gorge this Sunday with Guns N Roses! Seattle’s own Ayron Jones and the Way are opening up this epic show and you can get tickets right here.

I think it’s fitting Royal Blood is opening for GNR because much like when they released Appetite, Royal Blood came out with a furious debut that re-set the bar for what rock bands can and should be doing.

I’d been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to said debut album for YEARS, and Royal Blood did not disappoint with this year’s “How Did We Get So Dark” which features the number 1 single, “Lights Out”:

You’ve probably heard this one on KISW by now, and you can probably tell why it’s the number 1 rock song in the country. I think it’s cool how Ben utilizes the tambourine towards the end… You don’t hear that every day!

Another song I think we could be hearing on KISW airwaves in the not-too-distant-future (And I have NO insider knowledge on these types of things, it just sounds like a radio single in my professional opinion), is “I Only Lie When I Love You”:

This time Ben goes full cowbell on our asses and just like the tambourine, it’s wonderful.

I think the heaviest part of the album is the climactic final 30 or so seconds of “Hook Line and Sinker”. See for yourself:

I’ve been obsessed with this band for over 4 years and STILL can’t believe there are only two of them making all that noise.

So those are 3 big, kick-your-teeth-in anthems. I’d now like to highlight two of the “deep tracks” on the album. Well, as “deep” as you can get on a 10-song album that clocks in at barely over a half-hour…

The first is the last song on the album, “Sleep”:

I think this song reminds me of another awesome drum-and-bass two piece: Seattle’s own Year of the Cobra (whose shirt I’m wearing above). Their sounds are vastly different, the main similarity here is just how much more epic the drummer makes the song by letting it breathe. It’s an interesting concept cuz you’d think with only two instruments you gotta step your game up and fill all the space... But really the magic lies in that space, and sometimes it’s best to just let it be. Jon from Year of the Cobra is an absolute wizard at this trick, and Ben uses it phenomenally on “Sleep”.

I want to close with the weirdest song on the album. Anyone who's ever spent five minutes with me probably knows I don’t think weird is bad. Weird can be bad for sure, but weird can also be good.  “She’s Creeping” is definitely the good weird. I think you'll agree:

Oh snap, Ben’s at it again… MORE COWBELL!

This is the weirdest song on the album but probably also the grooviest. If it was your first time hearing it, I assure you it’s not enough. Hell, that was probably close to my hundredth (or more) and I still haven’t gotten enough!

The whole album “How Did We Get So Dark?” is a masterpiece. As soon as “Sleep” ends, I’m always ready for it to start back at the top with the opening title track…

If you haven’t spent a considerable amount of time with it, consider this your invitation to. Also, I’m jealous because you’ve got dozens of re-listens coming your way to pick up on all the cool nuances sprinkled throughout... Cowbells and Tambourines are just the beginning. I didn’t even touch on Mike or his magical bass rig’s superpowers! Needless to say, there’s a whole lot of awesome crammed into these 10 songs.

Road trips, plane trips, driving around town with the windows down… wherever I’ve gone, this has been my album of the summer, hands down. It’s fitting that for Labor Day Weekend, the ceremonious end of summer, I’ll be heading to the Gorge to see them play songs off it. Hope to see you there!