Atlanta four-piece Royal Thunder are busy tugging heartstrings and capturing our imaginations with ‘Wick’, their third studio album and first on Spinefarm Records. While having described it as “the hardest one to make” out of all of their records, the band are relieved to see it’s being well received. “We are really proud of this album. We put our all into it”, reveals guitarist and founding member Josh Weaver, “It’s been a really great response from families, friends and fans and we couldn’t be happier about it.” So what made ‘Wick’ so difficult to make? Their kaleidoscopic, psych-tinged brand of folk-inflected, bluesy rock ‘n’ roll seems fairly straight forward to create, so it’s surprising to hear that this particular release gave the band such a hard time. “Well this is everything to us. We have put our heart and soul into the band and won’t just settle”, Josh explains, “So there are times when you really have to dig deep for inspiration and notes to express what you are feeling. Anything done right is never easy.”

‘Wick’ is an emotionally taxing listen, particularly tracks such as ‘Plans’ with the lyrics “I thought I did the right thing, when I went back for you. It was the right thing, at the wrong time, I really, really, really loved you.” Josh makes it clear that the lyrical content is deeply personal to Mel (Parsonz, vocals) and the band are simply giving her an instrumental platform to project her voice. “Lyrics are all Mel. We all put our own parts to the music and let it be. We are all on the same page and give one another creative space”, he tells us, “Royal Thunder has always been an evolving band. Once again I think us being on the road has shaped the sound of our music and made us know more of what we want as a whole and as musicians individually.”

Making the jump from Relapse to Spinefarm would be a pretty huge deal for most bands, however, Royal Thunder were lucky enough to be headhunted by someone at the label who just so happens to be a fan and was keen to snap them up. “Someone that works at Spinefarm had been a fan for a while. She actually is the one that turned our manager on to Royal Thunder”, says Weaver, “So it was just an awesome natural thing us getting involved with them. Our contract was up with Relapse and it just seemed right, so we jumped on it and are glad that we did!”

There’s a certain intangible spiritual essence to Royal Thunder, which is further conveyed by their bleeding heart attitude when it comes to everything to do with their band. Their modus operandi is to stay true to themselves and never compromise on their artistic vision for the sake of winning people over, and this is a point that Josh is keen to stress. “We will always do what comes out of us. We never have done this worrying about what people will think. It’s music, it’s our passion, it’s what we do and we love it!”

“Always be true to yourself and stick to your dreams. There is never a easy road if you want to do something right. Especially if is something that you are passionate about”, Josh advises. From a group of such dedicated, passionate and genuine individuals, it’s clear to see how an album as heartfelt as ‘Wick’ was created – the band are not simply putting out music, they’re laying their souls bare for the world to see, and it’s a beautiful sight to behold.

(Angela Davey)