Royal Thunder Interview

Justin Reich

Royal Thunder’s latest album is Rebuilding The Mountain, which comes six years after their third record Wick. After that album, drummer Evan Deprima left the band, but after a couple of year absence has returned. He fills us in on the turmoil of the past few years, the new album, tour plans and other topics.

Chad Bowar: What led to your departure from the band in 2018 and return a couple years later?
Evan Diprima: I had to deal with some personal issues at the time and didn’t have the capacity or maturity to properly handle things with the whole situation. A lot of regret there and looking back I should have stuck around and we could have easily worked through all the bullshit. Things are right where they should be now however and our bond as family and bandmates is permanent. We know who we are and what we need to do.

Describe the songwriting process for Rebuilding The Mountain and how that compared to previous albums.
We started demoing in 2020. While everything was going on with the shut down and quarantines we were only able to pass files back and forth. We were finally able to get in the same room together again towards the end of that year to bring all of the ideas to life. We demoed constantly for about a year and a half, pretty much all the instrumentals had been worked out before we hit the studio. This album was prepared for the most compared to the last albums. That was a natural result of what was going on in the world at the time.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Throwing Topo Chico bottles at the wall and laughing our asses off!

What was the biggest challenge in recording Rebuilding The Mountain?
This time around the whole process was pretty easy! I think we were all so stoked to be back in the room making music together again things naturally just happened and we had worked our asses off demoing the tunes. Nothing that I can think of was too difficult during the tracking process which means we got pretty lucky! Very thankful for that!

Did you struggle with track order?
Not really! Again we had so much preparation on this one Josh already had a pretty good idea of what he wanted. I think he spent a day or two experimenting with a sequence but it just kinda happened this go round!

How has your sound evolved from Wick?
Going back to a three piece has been huge. I love everyone who’s played in the band and they have all been outstanding musicians but there’s something about the three of us in the same room with songwriting that has always worked naturally as if we can read each other’s thoughts! All in all I think we refocused and went back to the roots of the band which I think shows in the sound. The last two records were also on a click and this one wasn’t. We wanted that natural push and pull from the live show to reflect in the studio as well.

What inspired the album title?
Personal growth and improvement, restarting the band and doing it right. We are extremely thankful to be able to do this and we don’t want to take anything for granted.

What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Personally, I hope it can be positive reinforcement to anyone who is struggling mentally, in life, etc. That’s the best thing we could ever ask for.

How much attention do you pay to reviews?
Not much. I used to when I was younger but the thing I had to realize is everyone has different taste in music, production, etc! The only thing I can hope for is that people know it’s genuine and real. We don’t think about a sound or anything like that when we write. We like all kinds of music and I think that’s why so many of the albums are different.

How was the video shoot for “Fade”?
It was great! We filmed with Justin Reich at my lifelong friend’s production studio in Atlanta, Third Eye Collective. Josh had developed a killer concept for the video and Justin made it happen! We shot the whole thing in front of this huge CYC wall with different lights shining on us to cast shadows of the band in the background. Both videos for the album have turned out to be my favorite so far!

Do you enjoy filming videos, or are they a necessary promotional evil?
Filming videos is awesome, to me it’s just a big hang out with my friends and an excuse to goof around. As far the promotion aspect goes, I think you need to have videos as a band so people can put an image to music so the whole experience is there. I miss the days as a kid waiting by the TV for my favorite video to come on MTV. It added more mystique to the videos and band members having to wait and only be able to see it maybe once a day.

You have some July dates with Royal Bliss. Any other tour plans coming up?
We are working on shows for the fall as we speak!

Will you have a second guitarist for live shows, or will you play as a trio?
We’re going as a trio.

With all of you working on your sobriety, are you concerned about the temptations of tour life?
We are all in a strong place right now and know what we almost burned down to the ground so no worries on the temptations! We know what that shit does, it can ruin your life and career overnight with one small move. Weed is the only thing any of us will ever partake in from time to time now. No hangover and no regrets. No disrespect to anyone who drinks, etc. as everyone has different levels of self control, genetics, lives, problems, etc. We’ve just learned the hard way that it doesn’t mix well with us.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
My wife and I just got bicycles to ride around for exercise, that’s been awesome! Lately I’ve been play The Legend Of Zelda Tears Of The Kingdom. I love all things horror as well, I love the old stuff with practical efx, some of that stuff is amazing!

What’s the best thing you’ve binge watched lately?
Cabinet Of Curiosities, Hoarders.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Spotlights – Alchemy For The Dead, Iggy Pop – Every Loser, Monster Magnet – Spine Of God, Type O Negative – Dead Again, Boy Harsher – Careful.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thanks so much for taking the time to ask these questions and for having me on! We are beyond stoked to do this again and we appreciate all the support and massive thank you to our killer team! We are lucky and thankful to be able to play music for anyone at all.

(interview published June 15, 2022)

Watch Royal Thunder – “Fade” Video


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