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Grande Royale

Grande Royale is goed bezig! Na twee zwaar ondergewaardeerde albums in eigen beheer, hebben ze hun voor hun derde niemand minder dan Nicke Andersson (The Hellacopters/Imperial State Electric) kunnen strikken voor de mix en productie, en The Sign als label binnengehaald. De plaat klinkt als een klok en de mannen zijn druk aan het touren door Europa om het plaatje te promoten. Gelukkig heeft zanger Hampus nog even tijd voor een korte update met de band.

Door: Cor | Archiveer onder hardrock / aor

Hi there guys! Last time we spoke you were busy with the preparations of the new album. Are you happy with the final result, and how are the first reactions from your audience, fans and press?
Hi man, nice to hear from you again!! We are very happy with the result! We feel that we managed to take our music to the next level and the reactions has been more than great from both fans and the press. The album is much more mature than our previous ones and I think that every song fills a purpose on the record.

I’m still very happy I could contribute a small part of your cooperation with Nicke Royale as producer of ‘Breaking News’. How did you guys get him to do the job and how was working with him? Any interesting quotes from the recording days?
Yeah, and thank you for that! Without you this probably shouldn’t have happened! Actually we just sent him a link of the previous albums after your interview with him and asked if he still was interested, and he was! We went up to Stockholm where he got his studio and stayed there for two weeks, recording every day. And he is a master of rock’n’roll. He knows exactly what he wants and how to reach it, and we learnt so much by working with him. He said from the beginning that he would have the final say in every decision, and if we disagreed we would have to come up with a good fucking reason why, haha.

In the video clip ‘Got To Move’ I noticed Nicke almost as a passionate teacher giving some directions. In your info I read that he also had something with hooks in a song and was going through a period strongly inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd. In what way did he contribute to the album other than in his role of mixer and producer?
He did teach us a lot about rock’n’roll in general, haha. He showed us bands we never heard of that really kicks ass. But he was a big part of the songwriting as well! Not that he made big changes to the songs, but he really told us where the “hook” was in every song, and then he made that hook the main part of the songs. The most weird thing was probably when we were about to record the song ‘I’m On The Loose”. At first that song was damn fast, and we were thinking about making it even faster like a real boogie-woogie rock song. But Nicke disagreed and said “Hey guys, let’s do the opposite.. we lower the tempo by 30-40 BPM”. We didn’t agree at all but he really knew what he was doing and that song is now my favorite on the whole album!

In some songs I couldn’t help but thinking of the possibility of Paul Stanley having co-written the song and Ace Frehley playing some of the guitars; seriously great stuff! Is this just my imagination or were you guys inspired by KISS also (even more than before)?
We all love KISS. We all have listened to KISS during our whole lives, so of course they are a big inspiration for us. At least the early stuff! I think we wanted to make this album a bit more “clean” than the previous two, and Nicke is the biggest KISS nerd in the world so it came natural I guess.

Did Gustav and Andy do most of the writing again, or has something changed in the writing process (other than development into writing even better material)?
Gustav did write most of the riffs, but everybody is really writing their own stuff. We now have our own studio in Jönköping and that has helped a lot. It was possible to record the riff, add some drums and then everybody could sit back home and work with their own shit to the recordings. When we met up in the studio again we tried to put it all together. So that is cool, everybody really contributed to the final results.

I saw some great musical toys in the Honk Palace (in the video clip), like amps of Gaza Strippers and other stuff. Were you tempted to use other stuff than your own; what was the gear used for the recording actually? (was Andy tempted to use Fender again for example?)
We actually didn’t use any of our own stuff except for the instruments. Gustav played his Burns Apache guitar, and I think Andy used his Gibson SG. But all the amps and effect pedals we used was the things Nicke got in his studio, it was better that way since he knows the stuff inch by inch! We used these custom built pedals for Andy’s guitar and they sounded great. I even think we got to use one cabinet that Nicke bought which was played by Ace Frehley in the 70’s and that was fucking awesome!!

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How was the procedure while recording; everything separately or together as a band as much as possible?
We played all the drums, bass and rhythm guitars together as a live thing, then we added the vocals, solo guitar and percussions to that. And I believe that is one major reason why the whole album feels so alive, because we really worked as a band.

Nicke is known for his skills with analogue mixing and recording; how were things done in the Honk Palace?
The first thing he told us when we arrived to his studio was “I don’t know how to cheat with music, so you better play your things right from the beginning”. We recorded the album digitally but the process was pretty much the same as if we’d done it analogue. No errors were allowed, haha. The recorded sound from the amps is what you hear on the album! No digital effects are done in the computer.

Last time we spoke, you said it was tough for a band to get live gigs. You hoped a label and booker would bring improvement. How are things now?
We are playing live more than ever! Right now we are on tour in Spain, then we go on to France and Germany for a total of 21 shows. Our label, The Sign Records are really working hard with promotion for the album, and we notice a big difference. The music reaches out to a whole new level of people and we haven’t had any issues with getting gigs since the release. But we want to play even more so if the readers know of a club who needs some rock’n’roll, just give us a shout!

You guys did share the stage with Imperial State Electric. How was playing together with those guys?
It was great! We supported them in our hometown and the place was sold out. And I believe ISE had a really good time because they were playing like 10 encores!! We also invited Dregen to our sold out release party a couple of weeks ago and he joined us for two songs as well. They are such great people and we are honored to have shared stage with both ISE and Dregen.

The band Marvel is also on your label The Sign Records. Any chance of teaming up with them on tour?
We actually talked with them two weeks ago and it would be cool to do something. The Sign Records have a lot of great bands that we’d like to work with. Honeymoon Disease, Märvel, Night, Hällas just to mention a few.

Playing live with different drummers can also be a handicap I know from experience. How is your new drummer doing by the way?
We have had major problems on the drummer front but now everything works perfectly fine! Our drummer now is Johan Häll and he is a monster on the drums. Best live drummer I’ve ever played with! Mackey was in an accident seven months ago and is still in recovery.

Fortunately ‘Breaking News’ is also released on vinyl again; great! The cover art is not exactly something one would expect from a rawk ‘n’ roll album though. What can you tell us about the choice for this album cover?
We contacted Branca Studio in Spain, he’s made a lot of cool artwork! We wanted the album to feel clean and timeless and I believe he got it spot on. It looks a bit minimalistic when you just see it in a picture, but when you hold the vinyl it looks so powerful! The bird, crane, is the official bird for one of the regions in Sweden (Västergötland) where three of us come from so that’s the reason.

As a final question; Is there something I have missed, that you want to share with our readers, some hot news, gossip or special message?
We would like to thank everyone for the amazing support you give us! We love playing rock music and thank you for buying the album and coming to our shows. It means everything to us!

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