INTERVIEW: Josh Weaver – Royal Thunder

 

Atlanta rockers Royal Thunder recently released their third album “Wick”, a gritty atmospheric album full of hard rock tunes and a blend of melody powered by the voice of Mlny Parsons. Despite being compared to such heavy acts like Baroness and Mastodon, Royal Thunder are really a different beast altogether as their influences suggest which we found out in our chat with guitarist and founding member Josh Weaver recently while the band were on tour in the U.S.

 

Andrew: I understand you have been doing shows with Brant Bjork, I’ve chatted with him a couple of tmes and  he seems like a cool, chilled out guy.

Josh: Yeah they’re all awesome people and the shows have been great man, such great performers.

Andrew: Awesome! Well you have just had the new album come out called “Wick”, I’ve heard a few songs from it  and it’s quite grungy and gritty sounding which is cool stuff. Tell me  a little about how this album came  together.

Josh: Well as a band I always felt that we are very much a live band, we live to play live and a lot of that  forged us as musicians over the years. There’s no experience like playing live on the stage, you can sit  home and practice all day and you don’t gain experience on a stage so I think from “Crooked Doors”, our last  album to now, just having that more time and this experience of being on stage and living life and all those  influences thrown together just brings out what “Wick” came out to be.

Andrew: That experience that you talk about, do you envision when you sit and write these songs how these  songs would translate to the live stage?

Josh: No not really. I think everything we’ve always done as a band has usually been very organic, we don’t  go into the studio trying to have a specific sound. A lot of it is just what comes out, comes out.

Andrew: I’m curious about the album title for “Wick”, where does it come from? I watched the video for “April  Showers” and it’s quite dark and moody and I feel the album title captures that quite well.

Josh: Yeah I think Mel (Mlny Parsons, bass/vocals) had put it kind of like a wick of a candle but almost  like you have that and you have the flame on one hand and the candle wick on the other and it’s just waiting  to be lit.

Andrew: What was the inspiration for the video “April Showers”?

Josh: That was a treatment that Mel had wrote and we worked with a guy named named Justin who did the video  and it turned out really well. I mean she wrote it and it kind of went along with the lyrics and the story of  what the song was about which we kind of let her have creative reigns on the lyrics and they’re open for  interpretation.

Andrew: Is the writing process quite collaborative between you guys? How does that all work?

Josh: Yeah it’s always been up until recently when Will (Fiore) joined the band, it’s always been and still  is the same, we might come up with a part or a basic riff or a basic idea and then bring it to the table,  bring it to the practice room and everybody throws in their own parts if they write their own parts, just a  basic structure. A lot of times we don’t even talk about it, just do it and it comes out and everything just  forms up and everybody adds their own spice to it.

Andrew: And for you personally how does that work creatively? What inspires you to come up with a melody or  a riff or an idea?

Josh: Usually it’s just me sitting down with my guitar and putting my fingers over the strings and seeing  what comes out. Maybe it’s just a lot of how I’m feeling that day or what I’m going through, just trying to  find something that matches the way I feel. That’s kind of the process for me for sure.

Andrew: I hear references to the band being compared to Mastadon and Baroness and I hear a little bit of  that as well but what sort of bands do you compare yourselves to? What kind of band do you consider to be  closer aligned to or do you think Mastadon and Baroness are pretty accurate?

Josh: I don’t think that’s very accurate. I think someone in the media got locked in to that kind of  category because we’re all from Atlanta and we were all on Relapse Records at one point so it’s easy for  people to…we’ve been called a metal band in the past and we don’t see ourselves as a metal band – and it’s  easy for people in the media to just go, ‘Oh they’re this or that’, because one person says it from a big  outlet and all of a sudden we’re a metal band because someone from a big outlet tagged us as a metal band. I  think we’re just more of a rock band, maybe alternative rock is what I would definitely call us.

 

Royal Thunder - Wick

 

Andrew: Yeah and I hear a lot of grungy sort of southern rock in there as well so definitely more rock than  metal for sure. What’s the music scene in Atlanta like these days?

Josh: It’s always hopping! There’s always something you can do, there’s always music playing every night of  the week in the city. So it’s very thriving, there’s a lot going on all the time.

Andrew: And you guys have never been to Australia? Never down to this part of the world?

Josh: No we definitely look forward to it man! Yeah we haven’t been there yet.

Andrew: Yeah we would definitely love to have you here. What have you got as far as touring plans? Where  will you be going?

Josh: Right now we finish up this US tour, after that we got some other dates that are shaping up and  definitely planning to hit Europe this year. Just tour as much as we possbly can on this album.

Andrew: Yeah obviously touring is a big part of a bands life. How do you view touring these days because  it’s  a major part of what bands need to do these days to survive. Do you enjoy touring?

Josh: Yeah we love touring, it’s what we live to do. It’s absolutely crucial, it feels good to write an  album and actually just get out on the road and get to interpret these songs live. It’s always a little bit  different than the album, you tend to change them up and make them interesting.

Andrew: So like improv kind of stuff on stage?

Josh: Yeah definitely on some of the songs for sure. There’s a couple that we will do full on just like jam  parts.

Andrew: And with setlists which is something I tend to ask a lot of people as well, as putting together a  setlist can be difficult sometimes when you have a lot of songs that you want to play. Is that something  that you guys talk together about what songs you want to play live or do you have a set kind of thing for a  tour?

Josh: No we definitely try to cater the set, we want it to be very similar to the albums. We definitely want  there to be an ebb and flow and definitely want there to be almost like a story from beginning to end, for  there to be ups and downs and contrasts through out the set just to make it interesting and also to mix up  old songs and the new songs

Andrew: How are the new songs playing out to the crowds so far?

Josh: Great! People have been really into it man, I think a lot of these tunes translate so well live. I  almost want to say that they translate a little bit better than some of the past albums, it’s just more  straight to the point and I think what we did on this album as musicians, we kind of knew what we wanted a  little bit more of. Our skills have been sharpened through the years and playing out live has really formed  us.

Andrew: I want to ask you about some of your influences and where some of you guys took your inspirations  from. You personally as well, where did those influences come from and how did you get into music in the  first place?

Josh: I grew up in a house where I had an older brother who was into rock music and was just always around  music, my mom was always into music growing up. I remember the first band really that…I mean I even  remember having the Michael Jackson “Thriller” album and that was mind blowing as a kid, I loved that album.  But the first band that really inspired to actually start playing was Nirvana, that was the one that grabbed  my attention and I was like, ‘Man that’s exactly what I want to do’.

Andrew: Yeah Nirvana was one of those bands where I certainly grew up listening to that stuff and they were  hugely inspiration for a lot of bands out there so it’s not surprising that you were influenced by Nirvana  as well.

Josh: Yeah that and I also grew up listening to The Cult and The Cure, those were definitely huge  influences. Through out the years I got into punk rock, I got into metal and indie rock and witnessed a lot  of the awesome stuff that came out during the 80’s and 90’s.

Andrew: Was there any particular musician that really sort of helped shape the way that you play?

Josh: I thought about this the other day, I think the first band that really opened my eyes to song writing  was just listening to Fugazi and realizing how everything was so thought out musically and just seeing that.  That really opened my eyes to song writing and how a band like Fugazi writes a song that has such movement  to it.

Andrew: Well congratulations on the new album, from the songs I have heard it sounds fantastic so  congratulations on your success so far as well. Thanks for your time today, really appreciated and hopefully  we will see you down in Australia some time in the future.

Josh: Sounds great man, thank you so much!

 

About Andrew Massie 820 Articles
Manager, Online Editor, Publicity & Press. A passionate metal and rock fan with a keen interest in everything from classic rock to extreme metal and everything between.

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