Q&A – These Reigning Days
The British alt rock trio make their debut in India this weekend
For a band that’s only existed since 2012, These Reigning Days have an unbelievably long list of achievements. Whether it’s sharing the stage with bands such as American rock band Bon Jovi or British electronic music group Metronomy, the three-piece band make a habit of putting everything they’ve got into every performance ”“ and it shows. Comprising vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dan Steer, bassist and backing vocalist Jonny Finnis and drummer Joe Sansone, the British alternative/rock band arrived in the country this week for their debut tour of the country. Rolling Stone India caught up with them before their Mumbai show and found out what they thought of backstage politics, football and more:
What was the highlight of your Euro tour last year ”“ Germany, Austria, Scotland ”“ do you have any fun stories from the tour?
Dan: Every city is completely different. The Eurotrip was long, it was great. There was a show every night, some shows with loads and loads of people, some were smaller. But some small shows were often the best ones. But I either like stadiums or clubs. Festivals are interesting because you can play to different audiences that you wouldn’t ordinarily play to. Everyone is just up for having a good time.
What do you miss most about home when you’re on the road for a long time?
Dan: You miss your own bed. Routine and sleeping patterns go completely out the window, but you do get to see a lot of different places. I prefer touring than being at home. We may say the opposite for a bit, but when we’re at home, we miss being on tour.
Do you get a chance to hit it off with new bands on tour? You’ve got great friends in [British rock band] EofE after touring with them.
Dan: We definitely try as hard as we can to socialize with other bands and make friends. We’ve made friends with musicians in America, in Europe, or at festivals. Some bands don’t like to talk to us and they can be really cagey.
Joe: Yeah, backstage can be pretty hostile where people look like they don’t want to be seen or spoken to.
Dan: Sometimes I don’t want to speak to anyone either. But it’s nice to be nice and we like making friends, even if they don’t want to be friends with us.
Any big football fans in the group? What was it like when “Thrones” was used as the goal of the week track by EA Sports?
Dan: We like football, Joe is a Leicaster City supporter. We all play FIFA but none of us are as die-hard fans as Joe. We knew some people in LA and it happened through little leads which took off and the team behind us whose work paid off. Then the BBC used our track for the Winter Olympics. Things like that just kind of happen and it’s good when it does.
You work extensively with Yoad Nevo who has worked with The Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran and Goldfrapp. How has he influenced your sound?
Dan: We used two producers. I was listening to a lot of electronic music, and Yoad was predominately synthesizer and electronica based which fits together well with rock and roll, it’s how we got our sound. But since we’ve been working with our new producer, [Grammy award winner] Ade Bushby, we’ve been listening to different music and we’ve gotten older, so we find ourselves moving away from that electronic sound and getting back to our roots and back to the music.
Jonny: We were really influenced by Yoad in the beginning because we’d really been together a couple of months and then went straight into the studio to start on our first album, so we were still trying to find our feet at that point. So he was putting his twist on it, but we weren’t really sure where we wanted to go with it.
So do you feel like you have a better idea of what your sound is now?
Jonny: We’re more ballsy for sure.
Dan: The way the songs are written are a bit more mature, it’s all of us growing up. We’ve all got our different routines, but we do come together a couple of times a week to rehearse or get in some studio time and then fit that in with gigging. Quite often, if we have more time, we jam on stage and that’s when a lot of ideas come up. It might be a lyric idea or melody, but we take it to these guys and we all transform it into something deeper. When we write a song, we write ballads or indie tunes or something poppy, it doesn’t matter as long as it sounds good to us.
Each of you was a member of different bands before coming together, so how have your experiences prepared you for These Reigning Days?
Dan: A bit of all of our previous bands comes into this. What you’ve done before, what you grew up with, what your first experiences were, shapes who you are and kind of follows you till the day you die.
Joe: I think the big difference is that every band we’ve been in before, there’s always been sacrificing or compromising your sound just for the sake of being in the band. This band is the band that we’ve always wanted to be in, playing the music that we’ve always wanted to play. It feels more honest.
How was it opening for Bon Jovi?
Dan: It’s nice opening for bigger bands, you do get overlooked a bit but that can also be nice. They kick you on the stage, say go and that’s it. But you know it was great to play a stadium, didn’t need any reverb on the vocal. It was crazy, we loved it and it went down really well. Nobody there really knew that we were playing, but we got a lot of fans after it.
This is your first visit to India. How has it been so far?
Dan: We’ve just been around town and there’s not a lot that we’ve seen, but we went and saw the Gateway. The food is pretty nice, we went for lunch across the road to Busago. We’re flying out tomorrow morning so we haven’t got a lot of time.
Have you heard any Indian artists?
Jonny: We don’t know any Indian artists apart from Mad Orange Fireworks who are playing before us. They seem pretty good and we’re going to make friends with them, if not, then it’s going to be a long two days.
After Opera Of Love, what are you working on?
Dan: We’ve already half written the next album and we’re looking at getting into the studio as soon as we can, but I think definitely we’re going back to our roots. We want to get some strings involved, some orchestral influences as well as some straight rock n roll.
Is there anything you’d like to share with your Indian fans?
Dan: Our shows are going to be hot, they’re going to be sweaty. We’ve rehearsed a lot, we’ve worked hard on it and even though we’re tired, we’ll have loads of Red Bull and get on with it. And we promise we won’t moan at all.
Jonny: We rehearsed the show quite tightly so we’re going to play as hard as we can play.
Watch “Thrones” by These Reigning Days:
These Reigning Days India Tour
January 22nd, 2015 – Blue Frog, Mumbai
January 23rd, 2015 – The Humming Tree, Bengaluru
January 24th, 2015 – Summer House Cafe, New Delhi
*Each ticket only entitles the winner entry to the concert and not food or beverages.