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Writing Your Way Out of Lockdown with Regal Cheer

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Regal Cheer has just finished recording their debut album that is probably going to set your ears on fire and melt the skin off your face. The two-piece formed from a shared love of the supergroup Dogs on Acid and TV show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson are a short & snappy indie-punk band from Brighton, UK.

Born in a pandemic, Regal Cheer found themselves 100% ready to go as soon as UK venues opened up again to the public. I spoke to Max & Harry about recording the new record, why it’s better to be in a two-piece and the pros & cons of writing & releasing music during a global pandemic.

What’s inside?

  1. Two Members, One Flat and a Band
  2. Writing & Releasing Music During a Pandemic
  3. Recording Your First Full Length LP
  4. The Eye Opener

Two Members, One Flat and a Band

What’s it like being a two piece?

Easier? I mean, speaking from my experience, the first band I was in had five members, then it was four, then it’s three. Now it’s two. It’s a lot less stressful. You don’t need a million group chats and writing is a lot simpler. It always ends up being a majority vote, you know? If we both don’t like it, then it doesn’t make the cut. So it’s really easy to be like, “nevermind and then we’ll try something else ” without hurting too many people’s feelings.

We are both hyped on being a two piece. It’s fun, because it’s like, everyone in the room is keen. It’s easier to organize stuff as well. Scheduling practice is as simple as asking “Wednesday? Okay, let’s do it.” We live together now so It’s not even a message, It’s like “are you free on Wednesday?” shouted from the next room…

Has living together helped the writing process?

I think so. It’s different from what I imagined though, which was a “production line writing tunes”, it’s way more relaxed than that.

I have a set  up with a couple of pads and Max has a little amp. If Max is working on a riff he will pop into my room and ask “what do you think of this?” and we can just work on it there and then. It means we can write and mess around with stuff at home and use time with practice space to make the stuff we have written more polished and decent.

Sometimes Harry is playing Elder Ring or something and I play a riff and he replies “ah sick man” obviously not listening and I’m like “you slay those goblins, you don’t care right now, you get those potions or whatever and I’ll show you later”.

Does being a two-piece change your recording process at all?

When we record I think we try to make it as easy as possible. Similar to when we play live? I think we share the same mentality of not wanting to have loads of crap going at once that could lead to something that could go wrong. We want everything to be as simple as possible. We’ve talked about getting ambitious and getting crazy samples but I’ve seen so many bands do samples and stuff and it’s gone wrong. I can’t be bothered with that. We want to be as true to live as we could on our records. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles and stuff that isn’t going to be there when we play it live. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s more representative of what you’re going to get when you come and see us live.

I’ve never played bass or anything on one of our recordings. It’s a guitar going through a bass amp, maybe not hitting all the strings or whatever. So it doesn’t sound crap but yeah, just trying to keep it as legit as possible.

Last thing we want is to sell somebody on something that they’re never gonna be able to see. Unless we find another person, and then it kind of takes away from all the convenience we have right now as a two piece and the convenience is what we’re after.

Writing & Releasing Music During a Pandemic

During the pandemic, we wrote almost everything over voice notes and sent them back and forth on WhatsApp. Max would send a riff over and then I’d come up with a drum pattern and send it back and we’ll try and put it on top of each other. The records essentially sounded crap it’s gonna sound like because we just couldn’t get into a room for eight months.

When lockdown restrictions started to loosen up, a friend got us in on a deal at a practice space where you could rent the whole building out, so we followed covid guidelines, tested up and when we were in the all clear we recorded our first two EPs over a weekend.

Did you find it frustrating releasing music during the lockdown? 

I think it was a bit of both, it was frustrating but also I personally think it was always a pretty good excuse if it was to all to go to hell. “Oh no one listened because it was the pandemic” kinda’ thing. The pandemic was also a time when natural serotonin was running pretty low so releasing anything you can to get you there was like “oh yes please, give me them likes baby”.

What was the reception like once you could finally play in front of people?

I was kind of overwhelmed to be honest because we didn’t really know what to expect with obviously being a new band in Brighton that has 2 million bands every 10 meters and you wonder if people were going to be up for going to shows for a new band that they didn’t really know and stuff like that. 

Our first bunch of shows, coincidentally with another band who were playing their first shows called Bone Idol, went really well. The fact that Regal Cheer & Bone Idol both got to rip the plaster off together was really nice. The second show of the weekend was in Brighton which we somehow managed to blag a headline slot at the Prince Albert, which doesn’t make sense. The other bands on the bill were way more established than us.

I was appropriately whelmed by the response at the show because there were a lot more people at the show than I thought. I was like “this is cool, I’m happy with this.”

Recording Your First Full Length LP

We recorded at Brighton Electric with Tom Bjorn from Public Body, he’s an absolute legend and made the whole process very easy. The first recordings that we did for Regal Cheer were with our close friends Seb & Jordan, so recording with someone I hadn’t known for years made me a little bit almost unnecessarily apprehensive.

Tom pitched the idea to us after a gig and was keen to do it because we would be something a bit heavier than the things he normally does. A lot of his previous projects were R&B stuff, solo singers and stuff like that. He was chomping up the bit to just try stuff out and try different amps and stuff. He saw us play a bunch of times. So he knew what the setup was like. So he kind of was a bit like a duck to water. He was keen, so we were really keen. 

We recorded 10 songs in two and a half days, the songs are short man. Like the whole thing’s about like 17 minutes long. All killer, no filler…

I’ve never been in a band which has released an album whilst the band’s has been still active, so I’m currently skeptical this will all happen. The first band I was in released the album eight years after we recorded it. I was asked “when did you record this?” a lot and I’d respond “when I was 17”. The other album was with The New Tusk which was released maybe six months after we broke up or something. That was one of the big promises Harry made to me when asked me to be in the band.

Harry got down on one knee and promised him we’d release an album. I was like “don’t make promises you can’t keep mate”…

The Eye Opener

Any advice to anyone starting a band?

Try and record everything.  We record all of our practices. I have this archive of all these song ideas. One of the songs which we just recorded actually was something we found when we were flicking through the old media files on my harddrive before recording. We found this 80% finished song that we just forgot existed. It was quite nice finding that in the bank. The bank is great and 100% recommended. Another one would be to slide into promoter DMs, people say they hate it but it’s surprising what a few emoji’s and a bit of polite chat can get you.


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