- - Sunday, June 7, 2015

Royal Blood is the band of the moment, a powerhouse sonic duo from England comprised of Mike Kerr on vocals and bass and Ben Thatcher on drums — delivering live shows that have left audiences sweaty and breathless. Think of them as The Black Keys with an accent.

The act swings through the District on Wednesday to perform at the 9:30 Club. Mr. Kerr checked in to talk about the band’s massive sound, the comparisons with The Black Keys and what he needs on the road.

Question: How did Royal Blood come together?

Answer: We met when we were 16. We were both in different bands. We became friends as our bands became friends playing together on a few tours. When those bands ended, the friendship remained. As I decided to try and sing and form a new band, I thought of Ben. Ben and I started writing songs together, and it grew from there.

Q: Ever consider getting a guitar player?

A: We always thought it would be cooler as a duo, more eclectic. It worked out OK.

Q: How do you get such a huge sound out of just two guys?

A: I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you. [laughs]

Q: You’re kind of the band of the moment. How has your life changed?

A: My life has definitely changed. I live on a bus now. My entire life revolves around the band and writing and playing, which is pretty good.

Q: What do you think of people comparing you to The Black Keys?

A: I like The Black Keys, so I don’t mind being compared to them. There are worse bands to be compared to. If it gets people to give our music a listen, then great.

Q: What is the one thing you always have to have with you on the road?

A: Your passport. That’s all you need. I take as little as possible with me on the road. I was told a story the other day about how Julian Casablancas, of the band The Strokes, said that during his entire European tour, the only thing he took with him was his passport and a toothbrush. I kind of admire that. The less I have with me, the better.

Q: How do you spend your downtime before the show?

A: It depends, really. Ben is really organized and tends to set up activities — visiting cool places. I like to watch TV. I like to write songs. That is what I have been doing recently. It changes as the tour goes on. I have always thought learning a language is cool. That could be a cool thing to do on the road. Haven’t done it yet. So many languages.

Q: Are you working on your next CD?

A: Yeah, we are. The wheels are turning for sure: ideas, lyrics, song pieces. Not sure what it will be like — the sound or the feel of it. [It’s] sort of secret at the moment, but I know it’s going to sound really good. I can tell you that.

Q: Are all the shows the same?

A: No, not at all. Every show we play, we try to add a special one-off thing in the set that is just for that night. The thing that makes each show special is we don’t plan what that one-off thing will be. But it always happens naturally.

Q: Does pressure come with the recent success?

A: In terms of pressure, we put the most amount of pressure on ourselves. There is no outside pressure that could trump our own.

Q: What can people expect when they see Royal Blood live?

A: Playing live is what the whole band is about. Everything we do revolves around playing live, whether it is writing songs, making records or doing interviews. We love playing live. It is all so we can get out there and play live. It is where the true spirit of the band comes through.


WHAT: Royal Blood with Mini Mansions

WHERE: The 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

WHEN: Wednesday; doors open at 7 p.m.

INFO: Tickets by calling 202/265-0930 or visiting 930.com

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