Five riff-packed highlights from Royal Republic’s Club Majesty
Barre chords, dinosaur-sounding licks and a hint of Toto’s Steve Lukather.
The Swedish alt-rock quartet is powered by Hannes Irengård’s (far right) versatile guitar-playing
Malmö-based rock band Royal Republic have always made a concerted effort to stay clear of the pack, with high-energy shows that have made them a mainstay on the scene in mainland Europe. Their new album has been a journey of learning to embrace, rather than suppress, their unique tendencies along with their self-proclaimed ‘nerdiness’, which has inspired a major breakthrough in the band’s creative output.
Prior to the album’s release, we spoke to guitarist Hannes Irengård about his five guitar highlights from the new long player.
Fireman & Dancer
“This tune has a riff which goes along with the other guitar playing and they just should not work together… but they do, creating this awesome rhythmical pattern. The main riff was played on a 12-string Rickenbacker, actually; it’s the guitar part from the demo. We re-recorded it for the actual recording sessions, but we ended up using the demo take because it sounded grittier.
“For this riff, I think we kind of drew influence from ourselves, because we’ve been trying out that riff in so many ways previously. I think we worked on it for two or three years!”
“This is not so much a guitar riff as it is something that could be played on trumpets and saxophones. It sounds like a horn section and that’s cool; it’s very rhythmic. It’s played in octaves and I believe Adam [Grahn, singer] played the low octave on an Epiphone Casino, and I played the high octave on a ’65 Strat which I borrowed from a friend. It reminds me of that Lenny Kravitz song Always On The Run, where Slash plays a solo.”
Flower Power Madness
“I think it sounds like Steve Lukather trying to come up with a Royal Republic riff – which is probably not going to happen! For a Royal Republic guitar riff, it’s pretty slick, it’s got this single-string pattern that sounds a bit like Lukather meets Ritchie Blackmore. It was played on a 30th Anniversary Gibson SG from ’91, which I also borrowed. I don’t own a lot of guitars myself, because I have friends that own a lot of guitars!”
“Here’s another one of my favourites, because it sounds like a fucking dinosaur playing! It’s the most stupid riff on the album, and stupid equals good in Royal Republic land. It’s just barre chords. Super simple, no fancy stuff at all, but it works and it grooves. It was played by Adam on an Epiphone Casino – it’s his main guitar actually, while mine is a Tele, although I didn’t play my Tele at all on this album. Somehow, my Tele works fantastically live, but not so well in the studio. I don’t know why that is.”
Can’t Fight The Disco
“This riff is barre chords all the way through, no fancy stuff here either, but what I like is how it sits with the bass and drums. The hi-hat goes along with the guitar and the bass is just doing its own thing, playing super straight. I don’t know how to explain it in fancy musical terms, it just sits very well and it grooves like crazy. It was played on a Casino and a Strat, and they both play the exact same thing.
“Then there’s the guitar solo, with this kickass guitar sound… I can’t remember how that was recorded. It was probably through one of the amps that one of the producers built himself, because he’s a really nerdy tech guy that builds a lot of his stuff himself.”
Club Majesty is out now on Nuclear Blast.