Devil's Dozen

Last weekend I found myself in the heart of the Okanagan, steeped in business meetings and such—but did have time to attend a Social that found some of the top local Musical Artists there relaxing and jamming!  Now, I was overwhelmed by the variety of Talent and the caliber.  Some were Veterans, some were just starting out on that long road of establishing themselves—but all are worthy of a story being written, and that is just what I plan to do!  Beginning in September, I will be writing a series of stories on what I’ve always said about this part of our province…stories on the Rich and Varied pool of musical talent!  I would like to say to those that I met and talked with—thank-you for making me feel part of the community and sharing those precious Talents that you all have and filling my evening which such heartfelt Music! 

Now, for this weekend, I’m very pleased to offer up my latest interview with Royal Hunt’s founder, chatting about the brand new album—their thirteenth and perhaps their finest thus far!...

Bruce:  Andre, congratulations on another suburb effort! When did you actually gather everyone to record this your thirteenth album?

Andre: Thank you very much. I´d say the writing started about 6 months ago – more or less usual for our albums –and the last couple of months were spent on the actual recordings.

Q: Now, did you approach these sessions with a set of music pieces already written, or did it develop over the period of the sessions?

A: Usually it goes like this (and last year was no different): I got home after the tour, had a couple of weeks off, went back to the studio to see how many bits I had in store from previous sessions, canned most of it, got the main idea from the book I read ages ago and here you go – an album in the making. Slowly the musical ideas came along, the general sound / atmosphere materialized, guys started coming by to criticize the hell out of it and next thing you know – you´re recording! It´s that simple, really. As far as the sound goes I´ve been toying with the idea of bringing some “modern” production technique / sounds to the party and – in combination with classical instruments – the album ended sounding more contemporary than our previous releases yet still containing all the trademark elements of Royal Hunt. We´re very fortunate to have a recognizable, signature sound today – we worked hard to achieve that… even during the times when it was not to our favor. But after a bunch of years we kind of “crystallized” that uniqueness throughout songwriting, arrangements, production…and most importantly – a special atmosphere on each release.

Q: With “Show Me How To Live”, and “A Life To Die For”, there was a definite theme…Is that the case with “Devil’s Dozen”?

A: There´s a story behind every album... So in this case: some years ago I read a novel (the title escapes me, unfortunately) about man buying an abandoned house in England, around 19th century. A chain of unfortunate events change his life for the worst and one day, while he restlessly walks around the house, he stumbles over a chest full of letters on the attic.  Letters from people he never knew to a previous owner of the house whom he never met. Day by bay, as he gets more and more intrigued, the stories from letters starting to take over his life…Of course, with some mystical and dramatic ending. While working on songs for our new album I remembered the story and tried to write lyrics just as these letters: from one unknown person to another, stories without a beginning and – most of the time – without a definitive ending.  Kai Brockshmidt – our graphic artist –started working on the album cover with “13” in mind (it´s our thirteenth studio album after all) so I suggested using an old idiom (13 = Devi l ´s Dozen) which resonated well with somewhat mystical story my lyrics were based on. So here´s the result: the guy´s burning with a huge XIII behind his back, letters flying everywhere – a strong, almost apocalyptical image that compliments both the lyrical concept and the musical content which – this time around – is quite diverse yet (as usual) large sounding".

Q: DC Cooper’s voice is so strong, does this fact allow you to have more leeway in how you arrange and write…what I’m asking here is simply with each album that you create, you seem to push the envelope, and everyone-not just yourself and Mr. Cooper, but everyone seems to meet all of those challenges with ease!?

A: I strongly believe that an artist has to evolve – it´s not something you can easily pre-program, it should come naturally…yet you have to have a specific mindset. I love pushing the envelope with each of our releases and feel privileged to work with such a bunch of great musicians – Andreas Passmark, DC Cooper, Jonas Larsen and Andreas Johannsen – who all have the same mindset as me: we never settled for a “good enough” result, we always pushed it to the point where we technically/physically couldn´t make it any better… and then 2 weeks after the release we´re all bitching about how we SHOULD have done it better.  That´s the greatest thing of being a part of this band – everybody´s obsessed with getting better so your work is never getting stale.

Q: In previous interviews, we talked about your inspirations; however I never have asked you about your influences. So, who are your influences?

A: As for keyboard players’ it´s been Jon Lord, Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman… giants in my book.  Producers/mixers: Peter Collins, Terry Brown, Chris Lord-Alge. In general: I´ve always stated my main source of influences being Classic Rock (Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Queen) ,Progressive (Rush, Genesis, Kansas) and Classical music

Q: So here we are with album number thirteen and the obvious question is when can we hear this grand music live?

A: We´re working on tour dates as we speak, but only some festival´s been confirmed so far: ProgPower USA (Sept 12th) , LoudPark Japan (Oct. 10th) and Rockingham UK (Oct 25th).  But tour we will – come hell or high water … keep an eye on any of our pages for dates: Visit Royal Hunt's Official Site http:/ /royalhunt .com/ , Like Royal Hunt on Facebook: facebook.com/royalhunt, follow Royal Hunt on Twitter:twitter.com/royalhuntmusic and listen to Royal Hunt on Sound Cloud soundcloud.com/royalhuntmusic.  Please subscribe for the Official Newsletter.

Q: Although a “Royal Hunt” show is an event all unto itself, but do you have something different in mind, as far as the performance is concerned?

A: Plenty of ideas as always, but a surprise wouldn´t be a surprise if I told it now, right?

Q: In this day and age I know how difficult it can be with setting up tours and the like, however are you looking at possible places where either you haven’t been yet, or haven’t visited in a long time?

A: In recent years we´ve been able to add a few “new” territories to our tour schedule every time: last year we visited Taiwan and Ukraine for the first time… so let´s see how the next tour will look like, looking forward to visit more countries.


ROYAL HUNT “Devil’s Dozen”
( Frontiers Music s.r.l.)

It’s finally here! The new “Royal Hunt” album ‘XIII-Devil’s Dozen’ and it will not disappoint! For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom this group getting any stronger, but they have! This, the group’s thirteenth release smashes every boundary “Royal Hunt” has set in the past!

Opening with “So Right So Wrong”, they set the musical stage with pure muscle and melody! “Royal Hunt” gives us brand new perspectives on what Hard Rock should be, and manages to give us some surprises in the effort! “May You Never Walk Alone” rips it up! Everything from D.C. Cooper’s singing to Andre’s keys, to Andrea’s bass explosions to the six-string flourishes of Jonas’ and the unbelievable pounding pulses and runs of Mr. Johansson’s drums, this one song has it all!

On “Devil’s Dozen” we have eight selections that are pure driving Rock! Each are awesome, and when listened to together, yeah! You guessed it, just off the scale!! For an absolute ocean of sound, full of sophisticated under currents you only need to pick just one track, but picking them all will give you a sonic experience seldom heard! “Royal Hunt - XII Devil’s Dozen” this is what Hard Rock is all about, and then some! BA (93/100)

Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Zamboni Brothers:  August 27th & 28/29th   Linus:  Sept. 3rd   Crosstown Bus:  Sept. 4th & Sept. 5th   Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 10th    Young ‘Uns:  Sept. 11th & 12th

Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Steve Jones:   August 28th & 29th   Paul Gibbons:  Sept. 4th & 5th/6th            Dustin McGifford & Annie Scott:  Sept. 11th    Paul Gibbons & Joey Richards:  Sept. 12th

Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro (Penticton): -Every Sunday-Blues/Rock Jam & Showcase hosted by TR2 (7pm-10pm)     

Dream Café:  Ron Sexsmith:   Sept. 24th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   The Pistolwhips:  August 27th    House Of David Gang:  August 28th   Invisible:  August 29th   Wild Son:  Sept. 4th

Fernando’s Pub:  Tiger Moon:  August 28th    Floyd Meets Brown:  August 29th

The Green:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:   August 29th

Minstrel Café:  B-Tones:  August 29th   Papa King:  Sept. 5th  Brent Tyler:  Sept. 9th   The Keys:  Sept. 12th

The Naked Pig (Vernon):  Local talent highlighted every Sunday Afternoon!!

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   (every Tuesday it’s a Local Talent Night!)  Rumble 100:  August 28th & 29th           Lefty:  Sept. 4th & 5th   Hank Stallion:   Sept. 11th & 12th

Whiski-Jack’s:   Chuck Norris Band:  August 28th & 29th   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Sept. 4th & 5th    Papa Dawg:   Sept. 11th & 12th

Notable Concerts:    Cedar Creek Estate Winery:  Tom Cochrane:  August 26th & 27th

Prospera  Place:  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th  Bare Naked Ladies:  October 25th  Shania Twain:  October 27th   Three Days Grace:  November 24th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th   The Tenors:   October 3rd  Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th 

Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre:  The Tea Party:   September 29th

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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