The Royal Concept

by Jess Grant

Behold The Royal Concept, Sweden's latest indie-pop export hoping to prick at your eardrums.

You may have already heard the band's ludicrously catchy first single, "Gimme Twice," which shot straight to the top of The Hype Machine's chart earlier on in the year having been injected with a high-dosage of buzz by music bloggers worldwide. Now the quartet have dropped their self-titled debut EP and, aided by their relentless touring, are beginning to make some serious sonic waves in the US and beyond. Not bad for a band that have been together for little over a year...

In the spirit of unity, Royal Concept lead singer David Larson and guitarist Filip Bekic teamed up to answer the questions we sent over, which cover the rather saucy story behind "Gimme Twice," hanging out with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and those inescapable Phoenix comparisons.
Jess Grant (Songfacts): "Gimme Twice" was a huge viral hit. What do you think it was about that song that connected with so many people? Can you elaborate on what it is about, lyrically?

The Royal Concept: First of all a lot of blogs helped us out by spreading the song. People's comparisons with The Strokes and Phoenix led to a buzz and something that the blogs could write about. Secondly, we think it's a great catchy song with a nice mix of guitar driven riffs in an electronic atmosphere. Strong singable melodies are always a winning concept and we're fighting to bring it back in today's music. Lyrically it's about a girl that struggles to achieve climax more than once during a passionate night.

Songfacts: The "Gimme Twice" video looks like it was a lot of fun to make. How was that experience for you?

The Royal Concept: We got beat up by five cute girls the whole day, terrible really. The most fun part was meeting Phoenix, that was really cool. She's probably the best makeup artist in the world. Earlier that day she did Beyoncé and then she did us.

Songfacts: I really like the EP track, "Knocked Up." What is that one about? Obviously the title does have its connotations...

The Royal Concept: I think you're spot on. The title says it all, it's about the possibility of making a love child with a person you shouldn't have a child with. Maybe there's more than two persons involved...

Songfacts: Do you have a personal favorite track on the EP? If so, why is it your favorite?

The Royal Concept: "In the End" and "Goldrushed" are our two favourite tracks. "Goldrushed" because that was the first song we felt that we had something unique and we were spot on soundwise and it's still the sound we want to have. "In the End" is an anthem for us. David wrote a lot of ballads for the upcoming album, but we had a lot of problems making them fit with the other up tempo songs. "In the End" was the first one we felt we succeeded with. It also has the most important lyrics on the EP.

Songfacts: A few months ago, you changed your name from The Concept. So how/why did the "Royal" come into it?

The Royal Concept: Apparently "The Concept" was a really popular band name in the US so we had to add something Swedish to it. This was during the time the Swedish princess gave birth to Estelle, our forthcoming queen and everything in Sweden was about this royal stuff. So we decided to ease the burden from her shoulders and carry some of that royal weight.

Songfacts: Are there set roles in the band? Does one of you write the lyrics, another the music, and so on? Or is songwriting a collective activity?

The Royal Concept: So far, it's always the same process. David writes melodies and harmonies, Filip writes lyrics and the four of us produce and arrange it together. Povel is the most technical guy so he's the one who handles the recordings. Magnus is all about details in the production and the arrangements so he's the one who usually makes the last adjustments when the rest of us are tired of the songs. The four of us make a great team and we share all royalites equally since we all are royal.

Songfacts: Your hometown, Stockholm, Sweden, is the arguable epicentre of pop music. How had the city's musical history influenced your music?

The Royal Concept: Actually most great Swedish music comes from smaller cities like Gothenburg, Umea and Jonkoping. In Stockholm people are too busy DJing and drinking Chai lattes. But we would gladly contribute to making Stockholm the epicentre of pop music together with Robyn and Lykke Li.

Songfacts: A LOT of people are comparing you to Phoenix and The Strokes. How do you feel about that?

The Royal Concept: It's actually pretty awesome. They are both great bands and obviously Phoenix listened a lot to The Strokes when they did their latest albums It's Never Been Like That and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The Strokes listened to Television and Rufus Wainwright and we are happy to keep the chain going. In a short while maybe a lot of great bands will be influenced by us too.

Songfacts: So you have just dropped a debut EP and are at the beginnings of your career. What new sounds and ideas are you going to pursue next?

The Royal Concept: We met Steven Tyler from Aerosmith yesterday and he played some of their new stuff for us and we got really inspired. We haven't heard rock 'n' roll that great in a long fucking time and we felt that we wanted to create music with more guitar riffs and screw the electronic shit. Tomorrow maybe we'll meet Kraftwerk and they'll change our mind all over again. Honestly, we explore new musical places all the time and none of us can really tell what the next album is gonna sound like. That's the most inspiring of being in a group with creative people. To constantly get surprised by others and yourself.

July 3, 2012
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