These boys come from the Netherlands and show you what the Metalcore Genre has to offer ever since their start in 2012. At their live shows there is no chance of standing quietly; they have the talent to stun everyone and make the crowd go wild. JD and Sem took their time to talk to us in Vienna, so here is a little "behind the band" from us.
An interview with Sem and JD
Why choose „The Royal“ as the band name? Is there some story behind?
Sem: That´s a funny story, I think JD could tell you that.
JD: Oh, it´s a pretty stupid story. Alright, so we used to have a different name. We used to start out, and our first band name was „From Our Perspective“. I don´t know what happened actually; We thought it was, like, a bit too unoriginal, maybe.
Sem: We didn´t like it too much, it was not.. It was like, if you´re saying the name it was like not nice to say, so we just had to find something else.
JD: So what we did: one day we were playing a game on PlayStation and somewhere it said „The Royal“, it was like an Olympics game, the arrow shooting stuff, you know, archery; The archery was called „The Royal Archery“, so we were just like „The Royal“ hmm, and, well, here we are.
You´ve been officially a band since 2012, but how long do you know each other?
Sem: I know him already for a long time.
JD: We are the only people that knew each other before the band. Really, so we were, we share a common best friend, actually, and he knows the other friend way longer, like all of his life. I´ve moved to the place where they live and I met them, so I knew him already, and I think after 3 or 4 years of knowing Sem, another project with a other guy just died down, and I´ve asked him to join a band, to make a band, we did this and then we searched for all the other members around it.
Was there ever a replacement at the beginning?
JD: Pim, the guy with the long beard, he came into the band pretty quickly after we´ve had some trouble with the old guitarist; and actually we were planning, well.. we were booked for our first tour in Holland, he joined us for the tour, and then after we´ve asked him if he wanted to stay, because he was playing in a different band, but he liked what we´ve been doing, so.
How would you describe your start in the music scene? How was it from the early days on?
Sem: It was pretty difficult; because we did everything in a different way, like, everyone around us had the mentality that you have to play, like, so many shows to get the respect you need; But we were like „no man, we are not gonna do that, we are just gonna make music, we are gonna record everything as good as possible, and release it, and just show the people who we are.“ And then the people were like „what the fuck are you doing, why do you have this high quality stuff when you´re not even playing one show.“ And we were like - we don´t care, we are gonna prove you that we can do this anyway, so.. and at the end everybody shut their mouth, so that was good.
JD: Bought some merch as well,haha.
So, was it clear from the beginning in which direction you wanted to go with the band and which genre, or was it like „let´s just start“?
Sem: Not really, but we were just writing stuff that we liked, so.. It was..
JD: It´s still not there where we´re going.
Sem: Every album, or every song that we write we choose, like, a different kind of a style, or a feeling, or..
JD: I mean, right now what we´re doing is writing a new album that is totally different from all of the stuff we´ve done, and we´ve always said, like, we need to give the band the room to breathe and the room to evolve their music, so we never say we´re going there, we always say like „right now this feels good, and we´ll see, maybe next album is a different thing."
How would you describe your hometown music scene?
JD: Hometown music scene? D-E-D DEAD.
JD: We´re from a small place.
Sem: Yeah, so there´s not really a scene or anything.
JD: We are the only metalcore band from our place. Well, listen, okay, so after this some clarification, so: the band is located in Eindhoven, but our hometowns are different places, but Holland is really small so we just come together.The music scene in Eindhoven is amazing, so if we were to say Eindhoven is our hometown, then we have big bands like we have „No Turning Back" and we have big festivals, I mean „Dynamo Metal Fest“ is there, „Sound Of Revolution“ is there; they call Eindhoven the Rock City, and that´s why, it´s just amazing. But the small places where we live actually.. There´s nothing there.
Which bands inspired you and had a big influence?
Sem: August Burns Red that´s like my all time favorite; then I would say the old Northlane that´s the more heavier stuff, yeah, for me that´s kind of it, I like to combine the two styles together. And then like the old school stuff, like As I Lay Dying or something like that.
JD: I used to listen to a lot of thrash metal and stuff like that when I was younger, I used to be in a trash metal band as well, and that´s why I like the fast riffs and stuff like that. This guy is more about.. He is really good at making grooves and making, you know.. patterns and stuff like that, and that´s the combination we tried to make.
How is your song writing process? Who usually comes up with the idea in the process?
Sem: We have 3 people that write our songs, so it´s me, JD, and our drummer, Tom. We all write, like, parts for songs, or we try to write whole songs, it depends on how the ideas, or how inspired you are, and then the lyrics part, me and JD are writing the lyrics for the songs, and we just try to combine all of our ideas together, and make sure that everything works, and if it doesn´t work we just scrap it and look forward for new ideas.
JD: I totally agree, I mean we used to have a really different writing process than we have right now, and the old writing process was pretty stressful, but the process that we have now is making immediate preproductions without the demo version, just go straight into preproduction,and that works like a charm for us; we just come together with the ideas, and just throw them out not thinking about it too much, I mean, it´s amazing.
I personally love this song Counterculture from your album Seven, the question is: How did you come up with the idea of the song?
Sem: JD saw a documentary about the whole earth and the climate change, it was a documentary of Leonardo DiCaprio “Before The Flood”, so it was that concept to keep in mind, and I had to write lyrics for it.
JD: I think musically-wise we´ve some hit points in the album where we say we want, at least, a song like this, and this and this, and then we are just gonna see what balance the rest of the album needs, and we´re just gonna write songs like that. For Counterculture we wanted more of a carrying song, so the song is pretty ambient, also the guitar is not really out there, so the attention goes more to the lyrics than to the music, but the music carries the message, and that´s why we did it.
What´s your favorite song of yourself? From everything you´ve ever made.
Sem: I think.. I have a few, but I think my favorite to perform is “Thunder”, and just a listening song.. I would say it´s “Dreamcatchers”.
JD: Hmm, that´s a good one agree on the two.
So, your tour started in UK, and now you´re in Vienna, you have so many dates left; How is the tour going?
JD: Yeah, the tour is pretty good, we´ve had some great show so far, it´s just a long one, and a hot one, because it´s like 30 degrees everywhere, and we don´t have air-conditioning in the van; and that really takes a toll on your energy, for sure; and we really need to work on our energy management right now, get as much sleep as possible, get some good food and stuff like that, because normally I just go piss drunk every night, and I don´t give a fuck; but this tour I have to make sure I have my energy and keep it going, because we aren´t on the half of the tour yet, and it´s still a month to go. The shows have been great. The people have been great. Our photographer is a bit of an asshole, but.. No we love him; check out jameskbarbosa on Instagram.
What was one of the best moments while touring?
Sem: I think for me the nicest moment was getting back to the UK Tech-Fest; I don´t know why, but I liked the whole vibe, so it kind of felt like going home, in a sense, but it´s just a show that is like familiar.
JD: That´s a good one, though. I think one time we were in Zürich, at night, we drank with a friend, and then went for a swim, at night, at lake Zürich, at like one in the morning, that was pretty cool.
Sem: Dude, you miss the crazy stuff, man; we went from a mountain with dirt bikes..
JD: Oh yeah, I forgot about that, that was like two days ago, that was so cool. So two days ago we went to Elm, in Switzerland, there´s a big mountain there, and they rent out tricycles, like it has no motor, just the brakes, and you go with it off the mountains, and you go like 70 km/h it´s crazy. We like to do some cool stuff when we tour, you know.
How would you describe your band to someone who doesn´t listen to your music? To a random person who doesn´t know you, how would you describe it? Not in a sense of genre, but what you are, as a band.
JD: I think if you´ve never listened to The Royal and I would have to describe, or tell you what you have to expect if you listen to us, or see us live – what we like to do is bring back the old-school vibe; we used to have at the old metalcore shows, like back at 2010, but we combine it with modern elements, I think that´s the best way to describe it; I think we want to give people the experience back that we used to have, back in the day; Because I personally feel that´s what´s been missing.
Sem: If I had to be really quick, I´d say: fast, heavy, melodic, oriental, a bit.. here and there.
So, the last one: In your songs, you motivate people to stand up, and raise their voice and that´s a pretty huge message you share, but is there some other message that you would like to share to your fans, supporters, or people in general?
Sem: I would say, do something that makes you happy, because we are all surrounded by people who are doing stuff that they don´t like or regret, and for me I don´t wanna live that way; I am, like, really happy that I can play music on stage, and give the people a certain feeling just to let them release all of their energy on our show; that´s important for me; it´s just difficult – there´s a lot of negative stuff in the world, and I don´t wanna have that around me, I just wanna kill it.
JD: Yeah, for sure. That´s the thing for me as well, do what you wanna do. Look for your talent, don´t just look at what people tell you, or what you learnt in school; open your eyes, make your own ideas, make your art, make whatever you wanna do. If you wanna become a lawyer, and you think that´s fucking cool – become a lawyer. If you wanna become an artist, or you wanna paint – go paint. You know, life is hard anyway, but you´ve gotta fight for it and do it.
Sem: Because when you are 80 years old you don´t wanna look back a your life and be like “aah, I regret all of the stuff I did, and now I´m here."
JD: Time is priceless.