We heard from a little bird that local legend Oliver Burgess from Theatre Royal really likes rivers and really likes talking to fish with no skeletal structure. How could we turn it down?
Howdy Theatre Royal, Hope you are all well. Lovely sounds coming from this latest EP. If you had to pick one of your tracks for our readers to listen to, which would it be and why?
I think that we’d pick track four, “Blue Teardrops.” It’s the final track so could get a little overlooked on an EP, but I think it’s one of our finest bits of song-writing. The melody and lyrics are really strong (I think), it’s a country ballad I suppose. It’s a lo-fi recording with one mic on a rickety old piano at Ranscombe studios which seems to capture the spirit of the song.
It’s a lovely track; I think our listeners will agree. You recorded the EP at Jim Rileys Studio (Ranscombe), and most of your previous releases too, what is it you like so much about the studio?
The sound at Ranscombe studios is excellent. Jim knows what he’s doing, he keeps it simple and makes it sound great. One of Jim’s strengths is his drum sound, it’s a skill to capture drums and one that lots of engineers don’t have. For us recording is easy at Ranscombe, there’s no pressure. We know Jim and he knows us and our music. He’s become a mate as much as an engineer over the years, I can’t imagine recording anywhere else. We’ve all recorded in lots of other studios and although some of them have been pretty swanky and exciting places to be, the results are never as good. Viva Ranscombe!
When and why did you start playing?
We all started as teenagers, learning Oasis and Nirvana songs I guess. But in terms of Theatre Royal, we’ve been playing together since 2009.
What advice would you give to beginners?
Focus on the songs, they’re the most important thing. Write loads of songs, even if they’re rubbish, just keep going and they’ll improve. Once you have the songs, then you can do whatever you like with them: make them noisy, quiet, poppy, experimental or whatever. There’s a knack to song-writing, some people have a natural sense of melody, but you can definitely work on it. Listen to the great song writers like Neil Young, Ray Davies, Kurt Cobain and The Beatles. Don’t copy them, be yourself, but learn from them. Think about how they structure songs, what makes them unique. You need to then find out what makes you the artist you are, don’t chase fads and trends, if you do then you’ll only ever be at step behind.
That is some really solid advice, Oliver. You have received great reviews for your EP, what’s your opinion on the release?
I like it, I think that we’d all agree. It’s an EP in what I think is the true sense as the songs all fit together in a hotch-potch kind of way. It’s quite a varied selection of songs, but there’s some kind of thread in there I think.
You have been around this scene for quite a few years now, have you noticed any changes? Anything you prefer now?
I’m always unsure of whether scenes really exist. I remember when people used to say that there was a scene at the Tap n Tin. But the way I remember it is that there was a load of bands who sometimes played at the same places who mainly thought each other were a bit rubbish… I feel that we’re a little bit separate from any scene that is about these days, not because we don’t like other bands, but we’re a bit older and do our own thing I suppose. I think that there is some really good music locally and the noisier stuff is particularly strong at the moment, all the Motherboy type stuff. I’m waiting for a really good young band though, one that makes me go “Wow, these lot are going to take over the world.” They won’t of course, but it’s always good to get that rush of seeing a group of 19-20 year olds who look the part, have all the confidence in the world and some great songs to go with it. Where are you?!
I do think that there is a lack of places to play, I’m not sure how that can be sorted out. It’s great that Homespun festivals exist as it connects bands and venues, giving some much needed cross pollination of local acts and some good promotion for all involved.
Where do you find inspiration for your own music? How personal/biographical do you like to get with your writing?
Everywhere I suppose. Our own lives, stuff we see on TV and read in books. There’s certainly a lot of auto-biographical stuff in there, mixed with the big stuff: love, hate, life, death, boredom, escapism…There’s the odd bit of nonsense that just sounds good as well.
Great Stuff. Any bands we should be on the look out for?
Not sure really. I liked Kaleidoseye when I last saw them. I don’t think they’re quite there yet, but from what I’ve seen they have some real potential. They reminded me of early Ride and some mid 80s indie stuff. The singer/guitarist had a good fringe as well, like he was in The Byrds. Young bands should have good haircuts, that should be a rule.
Nowt wrong with having a lovely barnet!
Now do you have any question for the Jellyfish?
What bands should I be on the look out for?!
Review Theatre Royal – You Sleep