Version française ici.
This November 2013, EL ROYCE was in studio to record a brand new album. Richard (vocals, guitar) tells everything you ever wanted to know!
Where did the recording session take place? Who did the job?
We really enjoyed the way things went with the “Deaf For Life” EP (released in 2012). So we decided to go back again to the Black Desert Studio with Yoann Aubé. He also did a great job with his band (Enlightened) and their last album (Discover The Path). We knew he was definitely our guy. He’s really talented. Plus, he’s very easy and comfortable to work with. He understood straight away what we wanted and he pushed us to give our best. The recording process lasted from early November to nearly the end of the month. We recorded 10 songs. The album is about 45 minutes long.
The previous album “What You See Is What You Get” was released in 2008. Why did it take so long to go back in studio to record a full-length record?
As we say here: C’est la vie… Maybe some events made us deviate from the original plan. A year or so after “WYSIWYG” was released we decided to add a second guitar player to enlarge our sound. When Lolo (Vernier, guitar) arrived on September 2009, we focused on the material of this period and toured to promote it. We were just thinking of what was coming next when, in the summer of 2010, our first drummer announced he had to stop his musical activities. After eight years together, it was harsh. Frankly, we found it hard to get back in the saddle again. We did acoustic gigs to keep in touch with the scene, but honestly it was not the most exhilarating moments in the band… Just before the summer of 2011, Laurent Charliot, who runs here “Les Rockeurs Ont du Coeur” asked EL ROYCE to play the next edition (French for “Rockers Have A Heart” a benefit concert every year before Christmas, 1 toy = 1 ticket, gifts are given to children from families in need). This was clearly not an offer we could turn down. First, because we always supported this noble cause since the beginning. And by the way, Laurent Charliot is accidentally responsible for our band name, when he published his book “La Fabuleuse Histoire du Rock Nantais” (French for “The Fabulous Story Of Rock In Nantes” a complete encyclopedia of Rock bands in the Nantes area from the 60’s to the 2000’s, it happened that Charliot did a copy/paste misprint in an article, the band name EL ROYCE came after an inside joke based on that). Plus, the show was planned to take place at Stereolux, a brand new big venue in town. As Steff (Desideri, bass) had previously started a new project, we asked their drummer to give us a hand. Things went quite well. We started to include new material. We also considered to make a new record. As we were running out of time, our initial plan was to do it in two sessions, one in Spring and one in the Fall, and put it together in one album. But our producer Yoann, was not really fond of the idea. He thought this could have spoiled the final result. So, we agreed to his always valuable tips and we recorded the “Deaf For Life” EP instead. The idea was to just remind people of our existence… We were just setting things for the EP release when, in summer 2012, our drummer at the time informed us that his collaboration with the band was ending here. Fortunately, we’ve been lucky to get our act together in no time. Tof (Rossini, drums) joined us in September and we released the EP in the Fall. Since then we’ve set to work. We couldn’t do the recording before this November, due to different schedule obligations. Anyway, only the result counts. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. But we stood tall. Our determination remains the same. We’ve gained experience and actually EL ROYCE is probably a better band.
Ten tracks, does it seem a little short for a LP?
Nowadays, everybody seems to have an Attention Deficit Disorder. By today’s standards, putting out a record with 14 or 16 songs, is clearly total nonsense, unless you play Grindcore… The greatest records in the Rock History are hardly longer than 10 or 11 tracks. At the time, it was all vinyl-oriented and thought to fit one side of a C90 cassette. It’s basically the records we grew up with. Maybe we’re old school… We picked up ten strong and consistent songs from twenty or so demos made between 2010 and 2012. And if you add the four tracks from the “Deaf For Life” EP, that basically came from the same set, I don’t think we’ve been stingy.
Isn’t it frustrating to have to wait three, even four years, to finally hear on a record a song written long before?
It’s all part of the game. Few songs on the last Van Halen album come from demos recorded in 1977. So, we’re small players here…
Honestly, it’s probably a good thing to have time to make it sound right. Songs become better with time. Everyone brings few musical arrangements here and there. And finally for a better result. Except one, every songs have been played live. We could appreciate people’s feedback at first hand. Studio work have been important too. During the recording process, many suggestions from Yoann made improved the songs.
Is it a concept album? Is there a common thread? What do we have to expect musically?
I don’t think we can talk about a concept album, literally speaking. It’s much more a collection. All the lyrics are based around the great characters and the usual plots from B or Z-movies. It’s like a bestiary with creatures of the night, freaks, vampire slayers, zombies, ghosts, werewolves… And even an Armageddon scenario. These are topics we’ve started to develop with the last EP. I’m not a specialist, but I like to read the blurbs on the back of DVD boxes. Sometimes the teaser is better than the movie itself. Musically, we followed the path of the “Deaf For Life” EP. Maybe this time we pushed the envelope. And maybe some will be surprised… EL ROYCE is basically a Hard-Rock band with a Heavy sound. We take influences from Classic Rock, Metal, Punk-Rock and even Power-Pop. We plead guilty, we like melodic hooks. We tried to create varied but consistent album. We like the 90’s music, because there was great records with diversity and interesting musical hybrids. Nowadays, there’s too much of dull albums. It’s like listening to the same song over and over. Maybe some like it. To me it’s just boring. I can easily understand why people prefer to make their own mixtape by picking up a song or two on iTunes, instead of buying the whole record.
And now the burning question: when is it due to be released?
In 2014, definitely… At this time (December 2013) the mixing process is still ongoing. We’re still working on the track listing and the album title. So, it’s too soon to talk about it. With this record we felt the band made a big step forward. We could indeed easily released the album on our own label Novatrax. But we think it deserves a better exposure. Our wish is to work this time with a label on a licensing deal. But these things could take some time… But that’s for sure, the next album is coming out in 2014!
Tracks (alphabetical order) : Another Day | Circus | Dead In The Morning | Grave Digger | Kings With No Crown | Little Secret | Of Men And Wolves | Rise Again | The End Of The World (Enjoy The Party) | Z Town
EL ROYCE : Steff Desideri (Bass, Backing Vocals), Tof Rossini (Drums), Richard Royce (Vocals, Guitar), Lolo Vernier (Lead Guitar)
Recording rig: Pearl Drums Reference Pure series and Free Floating Snare Drum, Sabian Cymbals AAX, HH, LEGACY, HHX series , Vic Firth AS5A Sticks, Evans G2 Coated, EQ2, Puresound series Drum Head, ESP LTD Phoenix Bass, HiWatt Custom 100 Vintage Head, Marshall VBA400, Gibson 90’s LP Studio Guitars, Marshall JCM800 2210 Head, Marshall JVM205 Head, Hughes & Kettner Tubeman.
© EL ROYCE (Dec 2013)