Festival Fast Talk
with Royal Thunder

Royal Thunder is a metal act often described with mentions of top-tier combos like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. Although they share similarities, Royal Thunder’s strengths exceed the simplicity of easy reference points. The band brings the thunder with musical epics boasting dynamic arrangements, impressive musicianship, and overarching themes as witnessed on their self-titled 2009 EP and 2012’s full length, CVI.

We got the chance to speak with Royal Thunder’s Josh Weaver and Evan Diprima shortly before their Bonnaroo set.

How long have you guys been here this weekend?

Josh Weaver: We just got here around 2 last night.

Evan Diprima: Late night.

Are y’all staying through the day?

JW: Yeah, we play at 8, so we’re just gonna stay. Tom Petty is playing after us, so we’re gonna check that out.

So, do you guys play festivals often or is this a new thing?

JW: A little bit.

Have you guys noticed a difference between playing festivals and being on the road?

JW: It’s definitely different, but they’re both cool. Festivals…you have exposure you might not have with a lot of people, which is pretty cool.

ED: Festivals tend to be a lot faster paced.

Well, you guys have a really gnarly guitar-driven sound. What main inspirations built your aesthetic?

JW:  For me the actual sound of the guitar…I really love a lot of the early sounds. Like Hendrix, Zeppelin, just all the sounds they used to have in the ’60s and ’70s. That was a really big inspiration for me as far as sound coming from the amplifiers and the guitar. But other than that, there are so many influences as far as music goes. ’90s grunge was a huge influence on me, and late ’80s goth rock kind of stuff.

You have a lot of longer pieces on your record—six- or seven-minute songs. What do you think this extra length affords your compositions?

JW: I feel like when I go to write a song, 3 minutes is definitely not enough time. It’s almost like writing a story—for me musically, it is. It’s not long enough to get an idea out. So, around three minutes I feel like I’m just getting started…

Tell me about the decision to have your last album come out on double vinyl and why that’s important to you.

JW: I think vinyl’s awesome, and it seems like its making a big comeback. I think vinyl’s a great thing, and I think it can teach this generation that it’s better to have a tangible thing in your hand instead of having a whole library of music you never listen to.

I’m proud that we have it on vinyl, and we’re able to sell it. People are actually buying it. It kinda gives you hope that people actually still wanna hold on to music and look at the artwork. So, when the album was done it just made sense to put it on vinyl.

Do either of you shop for vinyl? Or have any albums that you listen to in particular? Got any stories in getting a good find?

JW: I used to work at a retirement home before I quit….There was a lady who passed away, and she gave me all her old albums. And she loved to dance, so she had Latin and Classical and all these really old records. And it’s something I usually wouldn’t go after or buy—but it was really cool Latin music and this huge library. So, every once in a while when my record player’s working, I’ll brew some coffee and put on a random record I’ve never heard of in my life.

Well, tell me what you guys have planned for 2013? How’s it been so far, and what have you got coming up?

ED: We have a tour with Barroness that starts in August. We just got finished with a Dillinger Escape Plan tour that had a bunch of awesome crowds.

JW: We’re going to take some time off later in the year to work on the new record. We have three or four songs pretty well-rounded. There’s some material in the works, so we’ll see what we can finish.

Maybe a record in 2014?

JW: Hopefully so!

You can keep up with Royal Thunder via Facebook.

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