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The Royal Ritual

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW THE ROYAL RITUAL WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

I can’t really remember life without music. I started learning as a very young child, and by age 9 I knew at that age I had found my path.

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

I started formal piano training at age 7, and it has grown from there. I picked up various instruments throughout my childhood and early teens, and then in my mid-teens I started to discover music technology. I spent any shreds of money I had on gear, and I ended up studying Music Production at Leeds College of Music for both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. From there I have been very fortunate to have had a career playing with sounds around the world.

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

The first piece of music I remember hearing that inspired me to start learning instruments was a recording of Für Elise, and I made sure to persuade my first piano teacher to help me learn it. The turning point for me to really consider music production, however, was when I heard “High Hopes” by Pink Floyd. I’ve told the story many times, but it really was the moment that music chose me. I remember taking the CD out of the hi-fi, looking at the shiny surface, and wondering how on earth something so huge could fit into something so flat and small.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

As a producer I work with various artists, and I also get to work in audio post production and composition for film/TV. It’s a very rewarding career. The Royal Ritual is starting to take more and more of my time, and it is definitely starting to become more and more rewarding. I am really excited to see where the next 12 months takes the project. 

Whats the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry? 

Persistence is key. No one gets into music for an easy ride. We get into it because we love to play and make it. Learning the skills is something on which you spend time, money, and a lot of effort. To turn the tides and make it a career requires so much persistence that it feels almost impossible. So many great musicians and producers fall off the map because they quit the endurance race. The key is to keep going.

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

I worry less about people “taking things the wrong way” than I do cancel culture. I think a good outcome of writing an engaging song is for most people to take it the wrong way, since that opens up discussion!

Cancel culture, on the other hand, is quite insidious. Firstly, I think entirely too many people don’t understand the difference between offence and insult. They are not the same. Insults have pointed intent. Offence is down to perception. Usually cancel culture is perpetuated by people who are offended on behalf of others, which is, at least to me, such a patronising thing to do. In order to say anything of worth, you have to risk offending at least some people. Being offended is not an argument, and cancel-culture is no way to have a meaningful conversation about communication styles.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

I always try to keep a healthy skepticism of everything, but when the evidence is clearly showing one thing, I won’t force myself to hold onto what I previously thought to be true.

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?

Because The Royal Ritual came together during the pandemic, it was more or less an exclusively studio-based project. Dan Kentley (RSJ) has joined me on-stage, and he has been fundamental in taking it out of the studio and onto the stage. Moving forward, I feel like the live show is the next thing to develop and grow, and that is where I will be focusing throughout 2024.

I hear you have a new album coming, what can you tell us about it?

Yes! Pleasure Hides Your Needs is the follow up to MARTYRS. It’s coming out on May 24th via AnalogueTrash, and it is preceded by the single “Modes Of Violence.” This album is more introspective than MARTYRS, and I feel like my relocating from California back to the UK had a big influence on the sound and overall direction of the album.

What was the recording process like?

Because of my wider production work, I’m quite self-sufficient in the studio, and this album was a self contained pursuit. One really interesting part of writing the album was realising that two pieces of music written long before The Royal Ritual even existed belonged on the album – albeit in a completely re-imagined way. By doing so, I was able to revisit the old recordings and extract elements, completely repurposing them for the new direction. That, along with hearing old field recordings, and them taking me back to a specific place and time (much the same way as a scent) really did strike me as a very profound experience.

Would you change anything now its finished?

I am very proud of how the album came together. I really do feel like it is a big step forward. It is, however, now months old for me, and I am already thinking about where to go next. I have learned so much from this process (as I had from MARTYRS), but I wouldn’t want to change anything. You can go insane as a revisionist, and I think the key is to take lessons forward, rather than backwards.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

I have some really incredible supporters, and without them, I don’t think The Royal Ritual could have got as far as it has. I would just really love to thank them for helping me get this far, and also thank you to the new people who are finding their way to my music, showing support in so many ways. Independent music needs you!

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