From The Medway Towns…..Meet- Theatre Royal


Today we meet, Theatre Royal, for me , it’s a whole lot of fun to talk about a cool band that’s been covered in my favorite magazine , Shindig. The music is quite fabulous, beautiful harmonies and a beat that goes back to early British invasion mixed in with some vocals that will remind you of some of the best Folk artist of the early 60’s. Refreshing to hear something that demands attention, my recommendation would be to put a hold on whatever your plans on for the next hour and just sit back and soak all these awesome vibes in. Your soul will thank you…

Hi our name is….
Theatre Royal

our sound is……
We’re first and foremost a pop band, but we take influences from the early days of Rock n Roll, through 60s Beat, Psychedelia, Country, Punk, Folk, the alternative sound of 1980s, Grunge, Britpop…

We are….
Oliver, Robbie, Brendan and Jon

We are from…....
The Medway Towns in Kent. Home of Chatham Dockyard, Gillingham FC, Billy Childish and a couple of castles.

Who are some that have an influence on you?
We have a whole range of influences but a handful of names that spring to mind at the moment are The Velvet Underground, Blur, Fugazi, The Who, The Beatles, The Pale Fountains, Robert Johnson, Buffalo Springfield, New Order… We could go on forever!

How old were all of you when you started to play and who plays what in the band

We all started playing in some form or other in our teenage years. We were all in bands previously, these sometimes featured other members of Theatre Royal. Theatre Royal have been going since 2009 and we’re now 3 albums, 3 EPs and a load of single releases later.
Oliver – Vocals / guitar
Robbie – Guitar / vocals
Brenda – Bass / Backing vocals
Jon – Drums / Backing Vocals

Can you tell us about the process you use, from writing the songs all the way through getting the songs out
Myself (Oliver) and Robbie write the vast majority of them, but Jon and Brendan have a big creative influence in shaping those songs into what they become live and in the studio, we all have a voice. It’s a pretty democratic process. A song idea will come from myself or Robbie and then we will usually help each other refine and structure those ideas before taking them to the band. Sometimes one of us will write pretty much the whole thing; melody, lyrics, structure. Other times ideas are stitched together like a patch work. Regardless of how fully formed songs are, when we take them to rehearsal they can change dramatically. I’m not sure of the process Robbie goes through when he write songs, but for me they usually come to me when I’m doing something else; reading a book, going for a walk or watching the telly, sometimes when I’m listening to other people’s music. I rarely sit down and try to write songs. Once I have a lyric or a melody then I sit down and try and shape a song out of that. I should add that Brendan wrote ‘Caught Me At The Wrong Line’ on the last album and he’ll have one on the next album as well.

what are some of the challenges you face as musicians and how have you overcome those challenges

I think that the main challenge is working on a very limited budget. We don’t have the funds of bands on big record labels so our time in the studio is quite short and very precious. This can make it tough to flesh out ideas sometimes and you have to make compromises. But it also helps to focus the mind and not labour unnecessarily over things. We record a large part of our music live and this gives it an energy that we feel a lot of modern music lacks. If something is a bit wonky we often embrace it for its merits rather than dismiss it for imperfections

1st concert you went to and age….
Robbie – Oasis at Knebworth, 1996
Oliver – Paul Weller at Crystal Palace 1997
Brendan – Supergrass at Brixton Academy 1997
Jon – Foo Fighters at Brixton Academy 1995

coolest band t-shirt you ever bought…
Robbie – Primal Scream ‘XTRMNTR’
Oliver – I had a pretty cool Primal Scream ‘XTRMNTR’ one as well, but The Fall ’50 000 Fall fans can’t be wrong’ is probably my favourite.
Brendan – I’ve never owned one.

some albums that you listen to the most.

Oliver – Bob Dylan ‘Blood On The Tracks’ it’s a masterpiece from start to finish.
Robbie – Love ‘Forever Changes’ the whole band are big fans of that album.
Brendan – Television ‘Marquee Mood’
Jon – David Bowie ‘Low’

If you could open for any Band right now who would that be .
Thes have all been about for a long while now, but probably Wilco, Neil Young or Super Furry Animals. So if any of their agents are reading this…

My youngest son is 13 and in a Band, what advice would you offer him...

Just keep going, keep trying new things and don’t be put off if things aren’t quite sounding how you would like them to. Focus on writing songs, just keep writing. They’re the fuel that powers the engine. You will inevitably write a lot of rubbish before you write anything decent, but that’s all part of the process. Also, don’t try and follow trends, if you do then you will always be one step behind.

your thoughts on the state of music in 2015…..

I don’t think it’s blowing any of us away at the moment. A lot of popular alternative music seems to be a bit clever for its own good, a bit too knowing. But there is always great music out there being made, you just have to hunt around for it. BBC 6 Music is always a good source of new music, including ours occasionally! Jon Kennedy on XFM (now Radio X) is another one for introducing new music.

Our plans for the rest of 2015/2016…..

We’re currently working on our 4th album which we should be releasing early 2016. Before that we’ll organise some live shows and release a new single in the near future. We’d like to get out and about more live (we’re open to offers) and play places we have never played before. We’ve still not played outside of the UK, so some jaunts to Europe would be good. We were all talking the other day how we would love to play in Paris.

Theatre Royal:

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From Pittsburgh, now in Florida, Cool Canadian artist wife , 4 great kids and two granddaughters!! I'm a lucky guy!

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