Interview with Dirt Royal – Shoot me now

Dirt Royal are a three-piece Rock and Roll band from Brighton but they don’t necessarily fit into just that Category. They draw influences from punk, indie, mod and power pop culminating in a style bursting with energy and melodies. Since their formation Dirt Royal have released two full length albums including various singles. They smashed onto the scene securing support slots alongside Sham 69, Thousand Yard Stare and Bruce Foxton (From The Jam). Their new release “Shoot Me Now” is due to be released in collaboration with Snap Records on April 22nd. Here is what we think in a short quote “Shoot Me Now has a real sense of Mod and Punk rebellious attitude transported into the modern era combined with classic Power Pop Riffs” We wanted to find out more about Dirt Royal so continue reading for and in-depth look at the bands beginnings, their influences and more.  

Tell us the story behind the bands formation?


Me and Leon met at the Jurys Out pub open mic night many many moons ago, we were introduced by a mutual friend (Bitter Jake). I didn’t think much of Leon at first but we began bumping into each other on the Open Mic scene and we were both wanting to form a band. I was already playing with Loz and putting songs together and trying to find the third member but we had no luck. Loz came along to the black lion open mic and bought one of Leons CDs…. it kinder went from there.

Is it antiestablishment or something? What does the name Dirt Royal mean and who came up with it?

Quite the opposite, but I can see how it would be seen as anti-establishment. It is in reference to our sound how we write scruffy pop songs, or wannabe pop songs? The three of us are suckers for a catchy Chorus, a lot of our influences are from the Do wop era or 60s girl groups but we are also a Rock n Roll band with loud guitars and all that. I guess that is what makes them Power Pop songs. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel more just keep it spinning (see what I did there)

Who are your Biggest Influences Musically as individuals and how are they brought together to develop the bands sound?

Loz is big in to Skater Punk, Ska Punk, acoustic Punk like Frank Turner and all that sort of thing he credits Travis Barker as being his reason for playing Music. Leon loves Paul Heaton, the Who, Billy Bragg, Libertines, The Jam. My favourite band is The Clash, Strummer will always inspire the way I write. I care about lyrics a lot so people like Springsteen, Green Day, Kinks mean a lot to me. But I love gritty Indie like The Fratellis, The Cribs. I am known for going on about the Beatles too much. I think how that all comes together is The Energy and Melody of those bands. And the serious approach to writing lyrics obviously comes from listening to Strummer, Heaton, Davies, Weller and Doherty. All writers that take great pride in their lyrics (they set a good example)

The band have secured support slots with a variety of high profile bands and artists. Tell us about them and how they have helped reach a wider audience?

It really is just down to knowing someone who is putting the gigs on haha, friends of friends. I don’t want to lie and say it comes from sending hundreds of emails to them… otherwise we would of supported The Cribs by now, hint hint Jarmans!

Describe the the bands sound and how it’s developed since your formation?

I think we are a Punk band trying to write Catchy Pop Songs. Which leaves us somewhere in the middle. Some times Indie kids say we are too Punk for them, Sometimes Punks say we are too Indie or Poppy for them. The Mods however always get it, we really appreciate all the love we get from the Mod scene.

In terms of development, we just want to keep writing better songs and playing them better, Shoot me now is one of the songs that will be on album 3, the new songs are a big step up from our last album ‘Great Expectations’. We really want to push our formula whether it is using pianos, Acoustic driven songs, changing the structure around. Lyrically I am always trying to find new ways to add some charm and comedy to the nasty confrontations that inspire me. I think I got some of my finest down on paper for these new tracks. We are also working with a new producer and we love his attitude and approach to making a record, but most importantly he gets us and our sound. We went in to demo 17 tracks that we had been working on since April last year, and the plan is to make an album of the 10 he thinks are the best.

What’s the story and inspiration behind your new single “Shoot Me Now”?

Leon came up with the hook while queuing up hung over in Co op, which is odd now that I think of it because Girl in the Shop (an Oldie) was inspired in the same place. Musically it is very bouncy like The Fratellis, Dirty Pretty Things or The View, in fact we were listening to Cheeky for a reason and Bread and Circuses by the View at the time. Bread and Circuses being my favourite View album by the way.

There is elements of Mod, Punk and Indie in the bands sound but is there a particular subculture that influences the band and if so why?

You nailed it! My Mum was a Skin Head so since birth she has dressed me well, first kid in the gang to have a Harrington at school and all that. Although my mates at the time will argue that statement if they were to read this. Loz has a connection with Skating culture because that is where he comes from, but he is far too busy working to skate nowadays. We all are, I am in the toilet of the Brighton Centre doing this interview but I don’t take fag breaks and the head Chef is a big supporter in our Racket, so all is good.

What’s your songwriting process and where do you draw inspiration for your music and lyrics?

All our songs start on an acoustic guitar. Might be a verse Chorus, chorus or a mostly finished song. A lot of times we have finished each others ideas. With Shoot me now Leon had the chorus so I put some verses to it and the Johnny Marr on speed type riff, Leon then wrote some Lyrics over the verses then we showed it to Loz and he gave it the drive and started adding the dynamics of up then down then up then down etc.

Better than Worse was the first time I had done a demo of a song (written while we were in lockdown and unable to get together) It was a very basic demo and I made it very clear to the boys it wasn’t a ‘here it is, learn it’ kind of vibe. I wanted them to change and add things, the changes were things like in verse 2 when it does that heavy hitting thing that was Loz. And Leon took the verse riff and added the little pinky finger flicking thing which now listening back to the demo you can see how that tiny change just gives the studio version a lot more flare.

Vocal wise I just couldn’t hit the chorus in the high range with it sounding like I wanted to, it really got me down so Leon changed it a bit and made it sound high but not like someone is blowing a broken dog whistle, Then come recording Loz put down the 3rd part harmony on the second half of the chorus which really lifts it and adds class to the track. The progression of this song was very special and is basically what I am blabbing on about.

What can new followers of the band expect from a live performance?

Pure carnage from the first hit and strum. We are all about having fun and smashing the songs out at full energy, we love to have a joke and a chat with the audience. We like to be mugged off by our audience it keeps us on track. We have been known to get members up to sing or even play our instruments (if they know the chords and most of the words)

I heard a couple of tracks from you a few years years ago on “The Glory Boy Mod Radio Show. How has the band benefited from such radio shows championing your music?

Crucial! Alan has been supporting us from the beginning, there are many people like him that are keen to push and support new bands (like yourself). Some bands just moan about how the mainstream will not accept them and there is no support but actually there is a lot of support from good people on the underground scene. We are grateful for any kind of support! We are not fussy or will not complain about how hard it is doing something we love. We will leave that to Billy.

Lockdown was particularly a difficult time for bands such as yourself but did it help to allow you to work on new material without distractions and now that restrictions are lifted what’s goal moving forward?

It did help…. about 35 songs haha. Had to narrow it down a bit before sending stuff to the boys to hear. It helped our goal massively because the amount of creativity caught the ear of our new producer which created the situation of working on a bunch (17) for him to pick the best for an album. Not only is this a great opportunity but the journey along the way working on these songs was excellent for our progression and really fucking fun! But obviously we wanted to put out a single in the meantime and our friend and long-time collaborator Time for Action Records suggested we release the songs with Snap Records which again is another great opportunity. Lots of love for Michael & Angel.

Tell us about your upcoming gigs and the album release party?

30th April
Shortt’s Bar, Brighton
Support from Theo Defeatist and ‘The Shortts Bar open mic all stars’ Which is some of the regular performers from our open mic night we run… delinquents such as Orlagh Joyce, Jack Valero, Bibby, Our Freddie Allen and the prince of hove himself… James Brett. So loads of great music all for Free!

3rd June
The Rossi Bar, Brighton
Support from Theo Defeatist again because they are epic and Bristol Indie mates of ours The Log Coats who are smashing also. Need a 4th band to open the night though if anyone out there fancies it?

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