Interview by Miriam C.
Seems that Atlanta in these days is becoming the new Eldorado for those fans that who fancy for some good sultry, psych, old-manner hard rock mixed with some good 70’s doom. Royal Thunder one of the débutante of this scene, with their album debut “CVI”, but don’t have nothing to lose in front of names like Baroness, Kylesa and Jex Thoth. Let’s the enchanting words of Mlny Parsonz, singer and bassist, conquer you.
Hi Mlny, first of all thanks for accepting this interview. Do you mind introduce the history’s band with some biography’s hints?
My pleasure Miriam, anytime! Thanks for putting this together! Well, originally RT was a instrumental trio. They would practice at my house all the time. Josh Weaver, his brother Ryan and I, all lived together, so I easily became a fan, and familiar with the tunes all at the same time. Jason Kelly was the drummer. Schedules did not permit the band to go on with Ryan and Jason. Josh had a vision, because he wrote all the songs, so he kept going. He was trying people out at the house, all the time. Finally he settled on a drummer, Jesse. Jesse asked “Who will sing and play bass?”- “Mel will probably do it”, he says. I did end up trying out, and I had only ever been in bands doing black/death metal style vocals, with the exception of one band I was in, in high school, Acedia. I sang, I played (the first RT song i ever sang on was hotel bend) and Royal Thunder just was! Time came and went, and during the making of “CVI”, our lineup changed. We parted ways, peacefully, with Jesse and added Josh Coleman(guitar) and Lee Smith (drums), they are long time friends, and old band mates from the past. The only song on “CVI” that we are playing as a 4 piece is in “Black Water Vision”. Now we are all in this together and having a great time. Good vibes are flowing and its like a mini family to us. We couldn’t have been luckier on this new lineup. The guys did their homework and fought hard during tryouts…. We were like, “Hell yes, you guys are in.”
Royal Thunder in this days is publishing its debut called “CVI”. How’s born and how’s its genesis?
We have our self titled EP and now, the full length “CVI”. The songs on “CVI” have been around from the beginning. Not all of the songs, but a lot of them. We had 3 other songs that didn’t make the cut for “CVI”, I’m hoping to get those out on the next record!
“CVI”, if I’m not wrong, it’s a Roman number. Why choose such title and what it means?If I don’t recall bad in ordinal number means 106….
106 is a number that follows us everywhere! We found it appropriate to send it off into the universe! It is mysterious and hilarious. It pops up like a joke, reminding us that it’s watching. Back in the 90’s, Josh Weaver and the original drummer Jason, born on 1/06… Found 106$. They heard a woman crying and they walked over to her, it was her money. They gave it back and went back to their friend’s house. Jason had gone downstairs to watch tv and he saw his friends grandmother in her recliner chair, he was talking to her and within minutes he realized she wasn’t responding because she was dead. She was…. Drum roll…..106! Anyone who knows us can tell you, it haunts and taunts us, daily!
The cover album seems a painting with that particular in the center. If I interpret well is a cementery, right? What you wanted to represent with this cover?
It is a famous graveyard in our city. The photo was taken by Kevin Griggs. He is a local photographer. We chose this photo from his collection of photos. It struck us and we feel it isn’t too metal, but it isn’t too rock and roll. Its just dark, and solid, moving, it really makes you think a lot of things. We felt like it represented us well. It was our taste for art and photography.
In 2009, you have selfreleased your debut EP. How the things have changed from that release and in what you feel you have improved? Also what you can say about the band, I mean how do you feel that the musical structure is changed?
We have always been kind of, the same? I think because Josh Weaver is writing the songs on his guitar, it’s just kind of a representation of who he is. In all the years I’ve known him, he is one of the most genuine, solid, honest people I’ve ever met. It translates into his song writing. We are definitely more confident and seasoned than when we first started. It was a bumpy road, but we kept walking it. And we made it here! I am very excited for the future, I have NO expectations. I can only hope that we will be doing this for a very long time.
The strange fact that I’ve happened to noticed is that you have inserted in “CVI” tracklist a song from your previous EP called “Sleeping Witch”. This means that you wanted some kind of “link” from past or what? Is this song rerecorded or it’s in its original version?
This song actually took over and kind of reinvented it’s self. I guess we just became slaves to the sleeping witch, ha. She wanted to pull back and get groovy, so she did. The song took on it’s own shape and direction, we followed and alas, the new version was born. It shows the evolution of the song, that’s why we added it to “CVI”.
According to the press release Royal Thunder is one of a few band that privilege the live gigs instead of the studio time because if you think from 2009 to 2012 are passed 3 years. Maybe you feel more confortable in the live dimension?
Well, in 2007, 2008 & 2009, we were just trying to be a band doing our own thing in our hometown. We just wanted to gig at good clubs in Atlanta and it was a slow road! We worked very hard for those 3 years and no one really knew who we were. We realized, we need to tour and see what happens outside of Atlanta. We had small gigs and sometimes bigger bands would take us out and let us open up for them. It just grew into what it is today, which is still pretty small and new but exciting none the less! We never thought we would be here. We love playing live. Finding the time to record is hard. We have a lot of “world” to cover first!
Your label recommends your album to the fans of Baroness, The Devil’s Blood, True Widow, Dark Castle, Yob, Kylesa and Jex Thoth. How do you feel being mentioned near such names and, as your artist point of view, is right put RT near these bands? Also, talking as a listener, have you never listened to these artist’s music?
Haha, some of these bands are my/our close friends/friends/new friends! We recently met and played with The Devil’s Blood and they were really nice people and great performers! Baroness took us out and gave us the honor and privilege of opening up for them as did Kylesa. I must say, I dig Laura, she’s a rad chick. DC has one of my favorite people in it, my homie, Stevie. And of course we met the talented, YOB through our Dark Castle buddies. I’m honored to be a part of that list! All of these bands are so different and they are all doing their own thing…. Much like us, so…. Hell yes, we can relate. We haven’t been around as long as a lot of these road warriors, but they have been supportive and good to us.
Now talking a little about you what you can tell about your singer background? I’ve heard that you started early to sing….
I was a metal vocalist from the time I was 14ish. I sang/keyboards in a sort of “hair metal” band in high school. Then back to metal vocals. Sometimes with my keyboard or with the bass. I did a lot of solo acoustic stuff for a long time. Now I’m doing this, and it’s by far, the hardest I’ve ever had to work as a vocalist.
Flash question: do you like more the CD format or the vinyl format? And why?
CD. I love opening them and holding lyrics and fold outs in my hand. I grew up in the 90’s listening to tapes and CDs, it’s nostalgic for me. Plus I gotta put my old ass boom box to good use! Ha
Since I’m a respectful person, I won’t try to define your music genre but I’ll leave this to you, Mlny and what I want to do is trying to define what RT plays because has been called in various way such progressive metal, psychedelic, southern rock? What’s suits better for Royal Thunder, counting all the innumerable influences?
If I had to brand it, I personally would call it “post apocalyptic blues”….. We used to call it that when we were a trio. We would try to define it on tour while we were sitting in the van typing up interviews. That description always resonated with me.
What are the next band’s plans of touring and new releases?
We just released “CVI” and now we gotta tour on it. I’m hoping I can come back from tour and work/hussle…. Make some money to pay the bills and let Josh W just take some time off and write, while I hold it down for us financially, we are partners. We are such busy people it’s so hard to find the time. I can’t wait to start writing again! We have been jamming on some of Joshs riffs, and he’s always writing in his spare time. He is a gifted song writer, he always has been. I can’t wait to hear his new material, because I feel a surge of creativity about to explode! At least within myself! And I feel confident that it is for the band as well. Well, I just wanna take a second to thank everyone who is standing behind us and showing us support! We couldn’t do this without the fans. Our fans are incredible and genuine. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you, an please come say hello to us at shows… We wanna thank you and maybe have a beer with ya! We hope to get the chance to meet you guys and gals this upcoming tour with Valiant Thorr, Holy Grail and The Kick Ass!! Until then!!!!!!!