Royal Republic – roots and new developments of Adam Grahn
text: Helena Torstensson
photo’s: Royal Republic, Maria Nilhorn
Royal Republic is a Swedish rock band that was formed in 2007. Their debut album “We Are the Royal” (2010) and all three singles from the album “All Because Of You”, “Tommy-Gun” and “Underwear” has been very successful.
The band members are: Adam Grahn (vocals, guitar), Hannes Irengård (guitar), Jonas Almén (bass) and Per Andreasson (drums).
Your debut album “We Are the Royal” is very successful, you are currently touring and tonight you are playing at the Swedish Hultsfred festival, how does it feel?
Adam Grahn: “It feels very, very good! Sweden has been kind of a question mark for a while, because we spend so much time touring in the rest of Europe. We did not really know if our Swedish fans were still with us when we were coming back to do this two festival shows (Where the action is in Göteborg and Hultsfredsfestival in Hultsfred -red), but it has proven to be two very nice shows and we are keeping busy.”
Did you ever think that Royal Rebublic would become this successful?
Adam: “Yeah I did (laughs), but I think we all did. I was probably the first one to grasp it, after the first or second rehearsal I was like ‘when we record our second album after we have been touring for five years, we need to think of this and do that’. The others were not that sure and were more like ‘ let’s have our first show and then we can talk about that later’.
I think pretty soon after that, people really started to realize that it sounds pretty good. We all have been in bands before and worked as musicians on and off, but this felt like something else.
We just made up a plan and started following it step by step. We knew what it took and what we had to do, so we worked out asses off. We are still working our asses off and here we are!”
When it comes to influences, are there any bands or persons that have inspired your creative work as well as your style?
Adam: ” We all have different influences of course. I mean guitarist Hannes is a blues rock guy with the 60´s and 70´s Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin.
I am a -I don´t know what I am- I am a singer/songwriter guy with a passion for thrash and death metal. Jonas (bass)is also a metal guy and Per (drums) is actually a trained percussionist from a symphony orchestra. Everybody is kind of different but then with Royal Republic we started this and felt like…
I mean we love The Hives, Danko Jones and we love all these bands that have these awesome qualities. But no one really has everything and I am not saying necessarily that we have everything as we speak, but that is what we aim for. We have the energy of The Hives, the edge, the cool arrangements and sounds.
Then we like the stage presence of this ban, and then that is kind of how we started out. Through writing and touring we found who we are. On the next album we are going to sound even more like ourselves, because we did not tour a lot before we recorder this album. So the touring happened after.”
Then you went out on tour with a brand new album and played the songs for the first time, people had not heard the songs before, how did that feel and how did the crowd react?
Adam Grahn: Oh it has been really great reactions from day one! Even from the first show we did and I think that is probably because we rehearsed like three or four times a week and for five hours straight every day. Going through small parts, like checking out harmonies like vocal harmonies and really making sure that everything is perfect.
I was a complete asshole with the other guys acting like “no you can´t go home, no you can´t have a break you need to do your part and get it right” and then everyone started to get it.
We are still running into people that have not heard the album before, that never have heard us before and something about it seems to appeal to people. I think the songs are pretty easy, they are pretty easily accessible; you can pretty much learn them from hearing them once or twice.”
You got the crowd going, even though the pouring rain during your show. Not all bands can manage that in those circumstances.
Adam: “Well we really try to, because what makes our gigs and our show experience different, is the audience. We are pretty much doing the same thing every day and every night and I am not saying that it´s all a routine, but it has become kind of a tight routine because we did our 202 show today.”
Its a way of dealing with heavily touring I guess.
Adam Grahn (singer, guitarist): “Yeah, but what makes it different and what makes if fun ( or less fun for us) is the audience. So in order to get them with us we have to work. We have to show them that we are there for them and usually they give us something back!”
Where do you find your inspiration, and when do you write or create music?
Adam: “Pretty much everything and anything really, a lot of our songs and lyrics especially are just made up by stupid stories. About made up stupid people, who made up stupid situations. Some of them are true but “Underwear” is not something anyone of us has ever experienced, we just kind of made it up.
“Tommy-gun” is, well I don’t know where that song is about. I think for this album the lyrics were not really the important issue, it was the whole picture. We had these songs, melodies, vibes and feelings.
I just needed some words to put on my melodies: let´s just sing this and that and that is fine. It was never about reaching deep into our soul and finding the burdens and the feelings that are there, it was kind of just…it´s a party record, it´s a big party crammed down into a small CD.”
What drives you and makes you keep on working with music?
Adam: “It sounds like a cliché, but this is what I do and I don’t really know what it´s like to do anything else. I grew up in a family of musicians, my parents were both touring a lot when I was a kid and I went with them as soon as I learned to walk. At the age of five I played my first show with them on the drums.
I always had guitars to run and I have always been in that kind of world with people and I can´t really imagine doing anything else. Some days it sucks, some days I am like everyone else, thinking that their job sucks or their life sucks. Thinking like ‘I am so bored or, I don’t want to play music anymore, I wish I was a cab driver or whatever’.
In the end of the day, I always find that this is what I want to do. And of course I have some goals on the way. I want to write that ‘perfect’ record that some people and some bands have, like Metallica “The Black album” and when Green Day came up with “American Idiot.” That is maybe not the same, but it was there and an overwhelming success”.
But then you have the trouble if you make the perfect album then.
Adam Grahn (singer, guitarist): Then it´s done yeah!
Then you have to take things to another level and take it from there.
Adam: “You know it´s like never say never. I mean Metallica are probably not going to make a better album than “The black album”, they are really useless these days aren´t they. Well I am sorry, athough I am the biggest Metallica fan ever in the 90´s.”
We have spoken a bit about your upcoming album; do you have anything more to share about it?
Adam: Hopefully we will start recording it in January, and released in spring 2012. The songs that we have so far sound like us, we have the energy and we have the basic sound. I don´t think we are going to a dramatic change, but more likely expand the sound and add some new stuff.
When we for instance did the song “Full Steam Space Machine” on “We Are The Royal” then all the other songs were pretty much done. This song was kind of a wild card, it was like the only slower song temper wise that we had and we were like ‘wow can we really use this’, is this too far from what we sound like? But then we just decided to play it live, see how it feels to do it and then just record it.
Now it´s one of our hits so you never know and that is what we are doing right now trying out some stuff and seeing if can we pull this off yes we can, can we try this now…
I think that our next album is going to be a little bit more dynamic in a very good way, a bit more ups and downs. We are going to have faster songs, viciously fast songs and slower songs and we are really looking forward to it a lot, it´s going to be good to have a fresh album to tour around with next year.”
When it comes to music videos you have released three singles with videos from your album “We Are The Royal”, do you think your music videos have reflected your songs in a good way?
Adam: “Well I don´t know ‘Tommy-gun’ was kind of an accident, it was not even suppose to be a video. People seems to like it and that is kind of how that song grew.”
Did you like acting in it?
Adam: No! The thing is that I really, really hated it! Oh it was fun recording it, but then like when people said; oh it´s so funny lets use this as the official video and I was like fuck no! I wanted to do an awesome rockband video but then we just stayed with it and well now it´s the video and it´s cool I guess.
“Underwear” I don’t know, it´s cool, it´s like Bingo Rimér in action working his magic of course with a lot of cool chicks. Michelle did an awesome job there dancing at the pole. “Full Steam Space Machine” was actually my idea, I kind of wrote the script of that.
On the tour bus one day when I was like really bored and then it just ended up being the actual video, at first I was like this is a Hollywood multi-million dollar production, but then the wonderful people that we work with, found a middle way to do it.It looks good, but at the same time it looks kind of homemade so I am really, really happy with that video. But as to sum up I don’t think the videos reflect the songs that well but I like the videos.
When you listen to music, what is the most important for you?
I mean do you listen and read the lyrics or just enjoy the music part or kind of take it all in at once?
Adam Grahn: I do pretty much everything, I can sit and just have something just in the background and I can have these sessions where I just sit down in my home or in the bus, or backstage, or a hotel. I really just close my eyes and listen to every millisecond that is going on and really are feeling it. I am a music fanatic, some days I get turned on by the bounce of that song. Or I can get turned on by the heart wrecking voice of this singer or whoever or like freak out like ‘wow this is a great production’ and listen to all of these small details.”
What do you normally listen to; do you have any favorite band, besides Metallica?
Adam: “Oh well Metallica is an all time favorite that always comes back. Right now I find myself listening to a lot of singer-songwriter material like Crosby, Stills and Nash, also from Woodstock, and lot of Tom Petty right now. I think that I am actually compensating, because I have enough rock´n´roll in my life right now: it´s like that every night. So I think to level it out I listen to a lot of chill stuff during the day. I don’t know maybe it´s kind of an instinct or process”.
If you were hit by a car and lie dying at the ground , but you got to sing once song that people would remember you for, a song that would sum up you which sound would that be?
Adam Grahn (singer, guitarist): Wow! “Who wants to live forever” by Queen (here Adam breaks out and sings the chorus) or maybe “This is how we party” by Soap it would be cool!”
It depends on the mode I guess
Adam : “Yeah (Oliver the tour leader sticks his head into the room and Adam asks him what song he would sing) hey I don’t know “Who wants to live forever” is too serious…I say “Geil” with Bruce & Bongo.”
For further information about Royal Republic please visit www.wearetheroyal.com/
thankword: Adam Grahn and Royal Republic.