Posted June 13, 2003

THE ROYAL BEAT CONSPIRACY:
MAKING YESTERDAY'S
SOUNDS FEEL LIKE TODAY


By Roberto Calabró

The Royal Beat Conspiracy are here to demonstrate us that Sweden is not only the land of the best hi-energy rock 'n' roll of our times, but a wonderful country where you can find every kind of great cool music. It's a matter of fact that they play a superb kind of "vintage" r 'n'r where a garage-beat urge perfectly fits the Sixties-psychedelic sound. While their successful debut album "Gala Galore" (Bad Afro, 2000) was a kaleidoscopic of all their primal influences, their latest effort "Dig It!" is a soul-oriented record with a garage-punk attitude and some psychedelic flavours. I met the singer L.P. Anderson and had a chat with him about his incredible band and the whole today’s Scandinavian scene.

First of all, when and how did Royal Beat Conspiracy start?

The Royal Beat Conspiracy formed in October 1997. Tord Komsell and I had previously been in Cry who were kind of a Birdman/MC5/Stooges outfit with releases on Sympathy For The Record Industry, Dionysus, Velodrome, etc. When Cry stranded in the summer of ‘97 both Tord and I felt we should start a new band to fulfill our ambitions... Therefore we started Royal Beat Conspiracy.

Your sound looks back and mixes soul music, garage-beat with psych flavours. How does this brilliant mixture come out?

Soul, Garage, Psychedelia, PowerPop, Rock-A-Billy, R and B, R 'n' R, Punk is pretty much the music I’ve grown up listening to and spend so much time listening to every day. Hopefully the music of Royal Beat Conspiracy will sound like a mix of all my favourite things...

I don’t think we’ve picked or chose a music genre to play. The music we dig has formed us.

Who are the artists/bands that are your main source of inspiration?


On one hand it is big artists like Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Clash etc who I think have succeeded in what Royal Beat Conspiracy are trying to achieve... They all knew a lot about their musical forefathers and had the style to mix it all together and also the coolness to present it in a fresh and new way to the next generations to come...The bands I mentioned are underrated!

Then I love bands like The Barracudas, The Lyres, The Prisoners, The Cannibals, The Gun Club, Fleshtones etc etc... It’s not my intention to make The Royal Beat Conspiracy sound like those, but I would like us to be an updated version of them in spirit & "feel"...

Your first album "Gala Galore" was pretty successful in the underground scene. Which are the main differences between your debut "Gala Galore" and "Dig It!" for you?


When we recorded "Gala Galore" we knew pretty much in advance what we wanted to get on tape. Already before the recordings we had the finished result in our heads.

The word has spread from mouth to mouth about "Gala Galore". I'm always happy when I hear how much people love that record. We realised it would be no idea to make the exact album (a "Gala Galore vol. 2") one more time so we had to come up with something new to make it exiting.

I believe one of the (few) shortcomings on "Gala Galore" is that every song is very true to their forefathers...that is, a soul tune had everything like it's supposed to have from horn section like Otis Redding, bass like Duck Dunn, guitar like Steve Cropper and vintage amplifiers. Basically a band trying very much to sound like their fave records. Luckily we were from Sweden so the end result came out original anyway.

On "Dig It!" we have intentionally tried to mix things up a bit more, like if it's kind of a soul song we put a "surf solo" in it... If it’s supposed to be traditional "horn section" we put syntheziser instead... All this we did to make it more original and more The Royal Beat Conspiracy.

"Gala Galore" was a very varied album including all kinds of good music styles. It is a bit like a "best of" album that an artist usually does after a long recording career. "Gala Galore" is like a collection of 15 great singles & "Dig It!" is more like a whole album with own sound and style...

With "Dig It!" we wanted to have a record that's more of a real "classic album" to get it more together... All songs that were too far out of the "Dig It!" picture were doomed to be outtakes...
Also when we did the first album none outside Sweden knew about us.

Now we have four European tours under our belt and more people know about us. Maybe this can elevate us a few steps up. These I think are the main differences. The attitude, purpose and aim are the same.

The addition of an organ player on "Dig It!" gives a wide range of sound and colours to your music. When did you realize this addition was so important for your music?

Carl Stintzing have been with us from almost day one... He joined forces in early '98 and has played on nearly all our live shows and most of our records. When we wrote the material to earlier stuff we used to demo it without Carl and then just give him a finished song to play...
Lately we've seen what he has done to our material on live stages when we have given him "free hands". We thought it was a crime to hold back a guy as good as Carl Stintzing. I think he play his organ in a very good and original way. He also adds a "respectlessness" that’s good for the music we make. He has grown more and more into being a regular Royal Beat member so now he's official.

Let’s talk about "Dig It!". I really think it's a great album, with a cool vintage sound and a perfect balance between its main elements (soul, garage and psych). Are you satisfied with the final result?

In the end it turned out pretty good I think. I don’t have enough distance to tell if it's a classic or just plain good album yet (hrrrmmm...) I’m happy with it and I long to take the songs on tour...

By the way, what are your fave songs on this album?

It's very hard to pick out favourites... We took away lots of songs when we had to decide on what songs didn’t fit on "Dig It!", so I guess every song on it are favourites in a way...

Scandinavia (and Sweden in particular) seems to be the land of real rock’n’roll these years. There’s a bunch of great r’n’r bands such as Hellacopters, Gluecifer, Flaming Sideburns, Maggots, Hives, Soundtrack Of Our Lives, International Noise Conspiracy - just to name few . What’s the "secret" of this great rock’n’roll scene over there ?


I believe one thing generate another and when the media is friendly to something everybody wants to be part of it... You also have to have in mind that for every good band there is there is at least 50 total crap ones as well... Also Sweden has a tradition of good rock 'n' roll since the days of Tages.

In the '80s I think there were more "Pebbles" albums per capita in Sweden than in any other country. Roots like this guarantee good things will happen...

What are your fave Scandinavian bands at the moment?

Peter Maniette Group is perfect and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives sure deserve the breaks they are having right now.

Your sound could fit perfectly as a soundtrack of a '60s underground movie. Have you ever thought to write songs for a soundtrack?


That would be interesting and I can hear our music has got "soundtrackability"... So far we haven’t received any serious offers...

What are your aims as a band and what are your future plans?


My aim and mission with The Royal Beat Conspiracy is to keep the fire burning.. to pass it on to this and upcoming generations. I've got so much to thank the music for so I simply have to pay something back somehow. That’s the main reason behind Royal Beat Conspiracy

Second it would be good if we could come up with a record that's just as good as the best ones there are...then I guess we will have succeeded.

 


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