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CUSTOM ROYAL Elegant Arrangement Solutions

Custom RoyalCustom Royal launch their debut EP, Supernaut, this Friday, December 19, at Amplifier with help from Legs Electric, Ray Finkle and Slums. BOB GORDON chats with vocalist/guitarist, Mitchell MacKintosh

This debut EP’s been on its way for a while, what did you want to evoke of the band on this release?

Yeah, it’s been a long time coming! I think we really wanted to capture more of the excitement of our live performances. Some of our previous recordings have lacked the edge that makes you want to really crank it in the car and go for a drive. We’ve been playing together for a while now, and as we’ve become tighter as a band and as mates, I think our sound and our approach to songwriting has matured. I think that comes across on this EP, even though most of the songs were written quite a while ago. We can actually just leave these songs the fuck alone now and start cracking into our ever growing back catalogue of almost finished songs.

What was it like recording with Joel Quartermain at Wastelands Studio? What was his advice in terms of song structure and dynamics?

Working with Joel was wicked. I think he really helped refresh the songs we brought to the studio. We’d been ironing out the creases and demoing the songs for so long that we got a bit stuck. Having new ears listen to the tracks, and for him to sit down with us and nut shit out was so good. Just little things that had been niggling at us for ages, that got swept under the carpet, or finding more elegant arrangement solutions. It was a little painful at first to see the songs under the knife, but after we got used to the idea, and began to gel with Joel more and more, the whole operation turned from pain to pleasure. I think, for us, getting to the point and cutting dead space from the songs was a big part of the pre-production process with Joel.

What was the initial intent or vision for the band when you formed? Have you become that or something else beyond?

We’ve definitely come a long way since we started. Dion (Mariani, guitar/vocals) and I had known each other for a while so when the bands we were in ended, it felt natural to get something together. I think we were pretty much on the same page, as far as what we wanted to play and what we wanted to do. To find two other guys, Darcy (Barnard, drums) and Cam (O’Loughlin, bass/vocals) , who clicked so naturally was what really kicked the band into gear. We never sat down and decided, ‘we will play this particular type of music’. I think we’ve always maintained a pretty open-ended approach to songwriting. We try not to constrain ourselves by genre or anything like that. And, as a result, our music has really evolved over the last three years. Our creative process hinges around writing songs that we’re all stoked to play. Although whatever we write seems to come out sounding like Custom Royal.

I think trying to actively constrain the direction of the band just kills the creativity and ultimately pisses everyone off. We’re constantly working on honing our songwriting and being as tight as we possibly can, so I guess we’re in the process of fulfilling the vision of being the best band we can be.

In the way you present yourselves, Custom Royal looks very tight as a band unit or gang. With such a dynamic live show, does that feed into the way the band the band projects itself from the stage?

(Laughs) Well we’re a little obsessed with tightness. We all froth on playing really tight live shows, so if we can deliver that while having a ball and being as entertaining as possible, our mission is complete. At first we struggled a little, balancing a dynamic live show with playing well, but we’re getting the hang of it now I think. Dion has always been really lively on stage and as we’ve become more comfortable with each other, everyone else has really come out of their shells.

Now that’s the EP’s out, what are you plans looking into a brand New Year?

Next year is definitely shaping up to be a good one! We’ll be releasing the second single off the EP to kick off the year. We’re all dying to get into the studio again and begin working on the next release as soon as we get some dollar bills together. We’d really like to pick up the pace, as far as recording goes, just to keep up with the amount of material we’re writing all the time. Otherwise, playing as many shows as possible, more touring and possibly some international shows!

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