Atlanta band Royal Thunder is coming back to Athens for this first time in years bringing with it songs off its most recent release, “Wick.” Royal Thunder will be playing The Caledonia Lounge Saturday Sept. 9 with Powder Room and Mean Queen. Doors are at 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $7.
The Red & Black spoke with drummer Evan Diprima to discuss the band’s career, newest album “Wick,” and ties to Athens.
The Red & Black: When you guys started as a band, you were classified mainly as metal Southern rock, and now opinions seem to be leaning more towards rock. Do you guys see yourself more as one or the other?
Evan Diprima: I mean Josh started the band. He started the band back in like 2004. So there’s been some lineup changes. I came on board in 2012. Will came on board around 2013-14ish. So just over the years I know there’s been a lot of different things said as far as the band’s sound goes. A lot of different types of songs and vibes and stuff like that, but I mean honestly we just kind of get in a room just kind of jam out and whatever, you know, we don’t have a specific direction we choose to work in as far as the sound goes. We just kind of play what feels the best and what sounds the best. You know, I guess you could say it’s rock music – it’s just kind of how we’re feeling at that moment in time, you know.
R&B: So if you guys are playing new songs for fans on the road, like songs you may not have recorded yet, does their reaction to you guys playing those new songs affect at all how you record them in the future, or whether or not you put them on a future album?
ED: Um, I mean somewhat. We’ll, I mean we’ll take out a new song on the road like on “Crooked Doors” we wrote a song called “Time Machine” and a song called “Forget You.” We wrote those first before we recorded the record and we actually played those on tour before the record was out. So I’d say about a year before, and the reception was pretty well on them. And they, you know they started out a little differently than they were actually recorded even differently than they sound now live. But we just you know they just kinda took shape out there. But we definitely go like, you know we’ll take something out and test it out and if people are digging it we’ll kind of go from there and let the song just do its thing.
R&B: Ok cool. Did the move from Relapse to Spinefarm when you guys switched labels affect the content you were making or your genre perception of yourself as a band?
ED: As far as the sound of the band goes, no it didn’t affect the sound or how we write or anything at all. We still have full control over our sound and our music and our writing. And as far as leaving and going to Spinefarm, Spinefarm is just a much better family for us. Everyone there really cares, and really really believes in the band and you know good friends, and it feels it feels like a family. But as far as writing and the sound of the band, you know we’re just doing our own thing and we’re lucky enough to have Spinefarm to support us, to just let us get in there and write. You know, create what we want to create.
R&B: Cool. So, you guys have always had really cool album art. “Wick”’s kind of like rainbowy smoke, and some like ethereal figure above. Who designs these and do you guys have any input in the design?
ED: Yeah. We did have some input, but as far as “Wick” it was created by a guy named Portland — super rad dude, super awesome to work with. Basically you know, just listened to the record and shot us out ideas. It was actually quite a quick process with him. He kinda just nailed it from the get-go. Um, a dude named Dan Bradley actually did the “Wick” logo which is killer. Uh, but they sent us a few ideas at first. You know, it all it all started out pretty close to what it looks like now. We would just go back and forth with you know colors and certain textures and backgrounds and titles and fonts and stuff. But he pretty much hit the nail on the head from the get-go.
R&B: So, the music industry is still pretty dominated by men both onstage and behind the scenes, did or do you currently find it difficult to get acceptance from fans or like harder music scenes?
ED: No, not at actually. Mel is so tough, no one is gonna mess with her anyway. So...we haven’t had any difficulty. I mean, there’s been some hecklers here and there, but you know that can happen with any band. Either they love you or they’re gonna hate you. But as far as you know having a female in the band, there’s been no no negative reception whatsoever. And if there has been I haven’t known about it, and we just kind of ignore that shit anyway.
R&B: Do you guys have any particular ties to Athens because you’re from Georgia, or?
ED: Yeah, I mean we have friends down there you know. We’ve all played in bands in the past that’ve played Athens a bunch. We do have some buddies down there. Some bands we’re cool cool with. But we’re trying to get down there more. I feel like we haven’t played there in, like I said we haven’t even played down there – I joined the band in 2012 and I don’t think we’ve even played Athens since then. So, ya I mean definitely have somewhat of a tie there. But I’d like to grow it a little more.