Over the last couple of years, the bombastic two-piece power-train of drummer Ben Thatcher and bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr have brought rock back to the forefront of the popular music scene.
Having initially turned heads with the explosive singles ‘Out of the Black’, ‘Little Monster’, ‘Come on Over’ and ‘Figure it Out’, their eponymous Gold selling debut album and scene stealing live performances have cemented the band’s position as one of the most exciting prospects in rock music for years.
In addition to tour dates in the US, Australia and Europe; 2014 felt the ground shaking rise of RB at the Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, Download and Great Escape festivals. They are also shared the bill with self-proclaimed fans The Arctic Monkeys at their huge Finsbury Park shows in May, and were main support for Pixies at Summer in the City, Manchester.
2015 began with the news that Royal Blood, alongside Iggy Pop were to be supporting Foo Fighters on their UK and US tour.
And as if any more confirmation of the band’s rising status was required, in February they were presented with the BRIT Award for Best British Band by none other than Jimmy Page.
WORKING WITH BEN
I’ve known Benji for a few years through my work in the Brighton drum store, where a significant portion of my time was devoted to the perpetual replacement of his enthusiastically employed cymbals.
Being closely associated with the local music scene and drumming community, it wasn’t long before word started filtering through that RB were much more than your average indie rock group. As soon as we heard the demos, it was apparent that these guys had something a little bit special.
The music spoke for itself, but what immediately impressed was Ben’s solid powerful style and confident, lean musicality. As well as being an all round lovely fella, his humble and professional attitude made up my mind…
I approached Ben in the autumn of 2013 with the intent of producing a snare to fit perfectly into the band’s sound without the need for tweaking, dampening or adjustment. The design we settled upon was one of a full, fat tone with a woody ‘crack’ . We also endeavoured to minimise unwanted overtones. The desired drum would sit comfortably with a medium/low tuning, and perform equally well cranked up high.
In the end, he came away with two snare drums of similar architecture. One a 6mm walnut/birch hybrid with an outer ply of Smoked Eucalyptus and the other a full birch of just 4.5mm thick with a Gloss Movingui finish.
Both are 14″ x 7″ , thin ply shells for body and depth of tone, augmented with reinforcement rings for stiffness. Each drum has the top bearing edge fully rounded over inside and out, creating a ‘baseball bat’ style surface for maximum shell/head contact. This helps to create a the fat, controlled quality from the batter side.
The bottom edge has a more conventional contact area to retain sensitivity, although a gentle round over towards the outside helps to temper and dry out unwanted overtones from the snare side head. The snare beds are cut deep and wide to complete the dry, powerful, yet sensitive character of the drum.
We employed slim, beautifully machined tube lugs for low mass and shell contact with the ability to withstand high tension loads. The ‘live’ drum was equipped with the road ready, smooth and robust Trick GS007 snare strainer and Ben-proof die cast tension hoops. Both drums are furnished with leather tension rod washers and gaskets all-round.
- 14 x 7in
- 6mm Birch Shell
- Hand finished satin Smoked Eucalyptus
- ‘Baseball Bat’ roundover top edge
- 10 x Full length vintage style tubes
- Trick GS007 Chrome Strainer
- 20 Strand Wires
- Die cast hoops
- Leather gaskets / rod washers