10 Minutes With… Mike Kerr

There’s zero debate about which rock band owned 2014: that’d be Royal Blood, the little band from Brighton with the big, big sound. From securing a Number 1 album in the UK, to slaying crowds at Glastonbury, Download, T in the Park and Reading/Leeds through to touring America with Pixies and hanging out with Jimmy Page and Lars Ulrich, it’s been a remarkable 12 months for Mike Kerr (right) and his rhythm partner Ben Thatcher (drums). ‘I’ve seen the future of riff rock and it’s [sic] name is #Royal Blood’ tweeted Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello in September: he may just have a point. Mike reflects upon a head-spinning year…

How would you describe your 2014 Mike?

“As the best year of my life.”

As the year began, what were your ambitions?

“Well, we hadn’t even finished our record this time last year, we were about half-way through, so I wasn’t looking much further than finishing the record and maybe trying to think about how we should tour so that people could hear it. We’d only done one tour at that point, playing about ten shows to 100 people a night, so it was very much the beginning stages.”

Getting tipped in the BBC’s Sound Of 2014 poll must have been a decent indication that the year ahead might turn out okay…

“Yeah, I guess that poll helped the name get out, not least because we were the only rock band on the list. That definitely got people talking.”

If you had to pick two or three highlights of the year that you’ll remember forever, what would you choose?

“Well, our Glastonbury show was definitely a highlight. As was meeting Jimmy Page. And also supporting the Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park. But really there’s so many good memories to choose from.”

The Monkeys championed your band from early on, so are there bands you’d like to pull along in your slipstream next year?

“Yeah, there’s a band called Tiger Cub, who we both love, who’re actually from Brighton as well: they did our first ever tour and it’d be nice if more people knew about them. It seems like the rock community is pretty small these days, and it feels like people are keen to stick together and help one another out, so I hope we can participate in that.”

You opened up the XFM Winter Wonderland show last week at Brixton Academy, a venue you’ve already sold out on your upcoming March tour. Was that a nice preview of the future?

“Yeah, I love that venue, and can’t wait to play there. It’s slightly weird to play those kind of shows, because obviously people weren’t specifically there to see us, and some of them maybe didn’t even know who we were, but it was fun all the same.”

How’s your calendar looking for 2015?

“Very, very busy. We start on January 6, and we don’t stop ‘til May… like, don’t stop at all. We have that UK headline tour, we’re going to Japan, Singapore and Australia, we’ve got Coachella, and we’ve an American tour with Foo Fighters and of course we’re opening up for them at Wembley Stadium, which should be good. By the time May comes around we’ve got a good month to hopefully start writing again, to go back to the drawing board. 2014 has been unbelievable, but hopefully 2015 will be pretty good too.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.