WOULD you be surprised to read that Royseven recently had not one, or two, but three singles wedged firmly in the Irish Top 40 national airplay chart?
Even more intriguingly, while the six-piece rock outfit released their second album ‘You Say, We Say’ in March of this year, it was August before the record hit the top of the iTunes chart in Ireland.
Glibly, you might attribute that success to their smash number one hit, We Should Be Lovers, but that is only part of the story, as front man Paul Walsh tells City Life.
“The album itself, in terms of sales, has been a relative slow burner,” explains Paul, who caught up with City Life not long after the band played two triumphant sets in the city for Arthur’s Day 2011.
“We have done a whole summer of playing local festivals and stuff like that, so I think that definitely had an impact, and it is still selling now, which is great. I think that is the sort of band every band wants to be, where you consistently sell for a year or two on your album, rather than have a big jump at the start and then disappear,” he smiles.
But what does he attribute the album’s eventual success to, we wonder? Is it the powerhouse singles, We Should Be Lovers, Dance and the current single No Romance, which have been so securely lodged in the radio airplay charts - so central to the success of any Irish band these days?
“Gigging is definitely one thing, we had a really busy summer, and we also went on a kind of school tour earlier in the year - we knew that playing underage gigs was fraught with logistical issues, so we just went to any school that wanted to have us,” he explains. “We went in, we played acoustically and we also talked about being in a band, getting signed, the realities of it, record deals, what happens - all that kind of stuff. I think that helped us, as well as the songs pumping away on the radio helped,” he adds.
But, lest you might presume that the band’s current success was an overnight thing, you might also be surprised to read that Royseven released their debut ‘The Art Of Insincerity’ in 2006, an album that went top 20 on its release. It’s a long story, yet Paul is quick to tell it, far removed from some of his peers, who are prickly about telling tales of record company woe.
“We were with Universal, it didn’t work out, we walked away from the deal and time lapsed - from being offered another deal and being able to sign it, a few years passed. It has been five years since our first album came out and it is a shame we lost that time, but I guess it doesn’t matter, at least we can say we got a better quality record from it (second time around),” he explains.
The band were left in limbo, but were quickly snapped up Roadrunner Records, one of the biggest indie labels in the world, who were in turn recently bought out by Warner, who have taken control of promoting the album outside of Ireland “because they think it has got mainstream potential, which it does,” Paul explains.
“I think it was a rite of passage in many ways. I don’t think we knew how to write or arrange songs back then,” says Paul. “It was an apprenticeship for the band. But we still really love the album, it is a great record.”
The difference between albums is clear in Royseven’s live set, the first half of their ‘Big Top’ set a dark mix, more reminiscent of Muse, the second half a joyful, Killers-esque fanfare. They certainly benefited from recording with pop maestro Andreas Herbig second time out.
“We realise that we don’t want to lose aspects of our darker side, but also we want to be able to get on stage and enjoy and have fun, and for the audience to have fun and interact and singalong,” says Paul.
“I am glad we went for Andreas, we needed somebody who had a more international perspective, somebody who had been there before, who knew what it was like to get an album or song into the top ten.”
Of Limerick, Walsh has nothing but good things to say. They played to a full Warehouse for the recent Hot Press Freezer Sessions and loved it, and for Arthur’s Day were treated like rock royalty by one of Limerick’s favourite sons, in whose bar they performed a ‘secret set’.
“It really was a great night. I like the surprise element of it too, it keeps you on your toes. I liked doing Arthur’s Day, it was a pleasure, and we got to meet Jerry Flannery! He gave us a massive welcome and he is a fan! How weird is that? That was wonderful, that makes it all worthwhile,” he laughs.
Royseven play Dolan’s Warehouse on October 20. ‘You Say, We Say’ is out now in record stores.