1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
We recorded Stone & Skin January 2016. Within the year we played a bunch of local shows in NYC and NJ and toured in Oct 2016 with our friends in the killer band Savagist for a week or two. During that we recorded with our friend Jake Davis at his studio in Charlotte for our next EP, Masterful Universe. The rest of the year I went to Budapest Hungary to live so we took a break from playing, but Jake and I keep mixing the new EP. It's sounding awesome and it's super weird. This past month we've played a good amount together, are writing more and playing some shows, also figuring out a tour for April 2017.
2.You have a new album coming out in February, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
- CHRIS (guitar) ::
I feel this release is definitely the most cohesive thing we’ve written together. With our earlier releases we would record a song or two at a time that we would write in our practice space. That usually happens in the midst of or at the end of a tour with a friend of our’s studio. We did that for a little bit. While that way of recording songs is really fun & convenient, it can be hectic & sometimes feel rushed. But this time around we decided to rent a cabin out in the middle of the woods, buckled down to see what we could write, & this full length is, for the most part, the songs we ended up with. We recorded these songs with our good friend Scot Moriarty at Backroom Studios in New Jersey in a live setting. I think we also prefer to record live. We believe it's the best way to capture the true essence or feeling of what we want to capture with our music without sounding too sterile or over-produced. It captures every little nuance & mistakes that give, in my opinion, the songs charm. They’re perfectly imperfect.
- JONNY (bass) ::
This release has a lot of meaning for me because of how it was written. I've always admired bands that have written fire albums in isolation. The whole experience in that cabin was one I'm sure we'll all never forget. Also stone and skin involved some new and unfamiliar territory for us with writing shorter songs and being able to get what we wanted to across in less time which was super interesting .
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
On Stone & Skin the ideas focus a lot around ideas of particle physics and how at the root everything is created from the same energy. The title eludes to that, and also my spin on it in the first song Saffron is how incredible the world is already, without god. God is a middle man in the equation, like :: Incredible world, God, our perception. I say the higher power confuses and complicates things, lets just keep it Incredible world, perception. For me its a humanitarian view, if we don't incorporate gratitude, commandments etc from god, we are forced to acknowledge and respect each other and the world for what all it is, in and of itself. It deserve reverence, respect and love already. It's enough.
I only wrote words for Saffron and the rest of the album is improvised live while we record. I incorporate Glossolalia a lot, bands like Cocteau Twins and Obituary do it, where it sounds like words but it's improvised nonsense. This style evokes a meaninglessness in a songs statement, like its all been said before. It attracts a more primal energy, like before language how did we communicate. I love lyrics, but the whole idea why I started singing in Thera Roya was to add another melodic element to our 3 piece, because I hear a lot of melodies and how better to do it behind the kit. I like how abstract it is, though I might write more lyrics in the future.
4.Originally the band was known as 'The Badeda Ladies', what was the decision behind the name change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Thera Roya'?
We changed it because when we added Chris in 2012, the band felt different and we wanted to have a more mysterious name than a funny, ironic one. Nothing wrong with that, Jonny and I might still do some shit as a two piece with Badeda. I picked Thera Roya because my friend Eric described our sound after a show like "Lava flowing down a mountain". We were searching for a name at that point and I really liked his description. I love old, rarely heard words, so I took Thera from the volcanic island in Greece which erupted 3,000 years ago and really fucked up the entire atmosphere on earth. Roya is a river in France to illicit the flowing part of the description. Later when my friend Anne looked up meanings, she found that Thera also was the scientific term for a type of snail.. and Roya the term for a moth. So our name means moth snail too unintentionally hah, but we embraced it and did a shirt design with Miriam Carothers using the moth snail combo.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
One show that comes to mind is when we played the 529 in Atlanta, GA with our friends in Savagist a couple winters ago. So many great things happened that night that it’s hard to pick a favorite moment. The 529 is a great sounding venue with an incredible staff & the lineup was killer. A lot of people came out, it was jam packed, & an Orange representative just so happened to be at the show. He posted a photo of Jonny playing through his Orange head on social media that same night. That was cool on it’s own but then Andre 3000 showed up the show! We stood around shooting the shit with him for a while & we gave him a bunch of merch, it was wild! He was a super cool dude. As far as our stage performance, I think we all float away when we play live. I know for me it’s my therapy time. This is the time when it’s most easy to forget about my shitty day at work or my day to day issues. Everything except my guitar is out of focus, true concentration. We put a lot of emotion into what we’re doing on stage, especially Ryan. Some people go to church but we choose to play our songs. Very loudly to complete strangers!
6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
We're having a release show February 18th at Clash bar in Clifton NJ with a bunch of our friends killer bands. We're playing with Pilgrim in march and booking an east coast tour in April. We'll probably release the new Ep in the summer, and than do a bigger national tour in the fall.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
We've released a tape on our friend Tohm's label Forced Abandonment Records last year, besides that no serious interest from labels... until a couple days ago. We are waiting for the proposal, but are totally stoked to finally be talking with one, and see what we could accomplish together. We tour a lot and sell out merch, I tell labels this, the fools don't listen !!
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge, doom and post metal?
We're pretty unknown, but we've gotten some nice reviews and fan love from around the world. We've mostly toured in the south USA.. we receive a lot of love there and have so many friends by now, it's hard to go anywhere else. I think people who like us enjoy how multi-directional we are, and what we lack in consistency sometimes we make up for in flavor. While some die-hard metal fans enjoy us, I think people can sense we like to incorporate a lot of musical styles. Listeners who enjoy a lot of genres, like us, might pick up on that.
9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Chris has Sunrot, Cowardice and Skin Pop the former being two killer sludge bands and the latter being a noise project 2 piece with our best dude Lex from Sunrot. I have another sludge band Mountain God releasing a sick album a month later in March, and also my solo project Crusasis. My solo project is like blusey, folky, sometimes punk groovy ness... I write a ton so most of it goes into that. Jonny jams with me in Crusasis sometimes, besides that he has a solo project called Mustard where he drinks a gallon of ketchup on stage.
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
To be honest, I'm not really sure I know what's ahead for certain. I know it'll likely be something different. There are bands who start out sounding one way but ended up sounding totally different. I think it could all get chalked up to being the maturing process of a band and what they're interests are. What I would like to see for thera roya in the future would be more of this constant flow of inspiration we keep having.... And to maybe have a cool walk-out song hahaha.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
We all grew up loving Neurosis, Isis, Pelican, Mastodon, Cave In, Opeth & Clutch (more so Jonny and I), Russian Circles, Godspeed You! etc. that branched out into more later on like Harvey Milk, Jesu, Boris, Melvins etc.
As we started touring more, I pretty much stopped listening to popular metal because our friends were making such good shit like Dutchguts, Foe Hammer, Rebel Scum (now Negative Graves), Savagist, US Christmas, Generation of Vipers, Umbra, Pig Mountain, Omotai.. so many more, all of these are incredible. These smaller acts influence us a lot, and old school rock or trip-hop electric stuff we all like.
We each have a favorite old school band: Jonny - CCR , Chris - Fleetwood Mac , Ryan - The Band (Levon is king)
12.What are some of your non musical interests?
Ryan: Making shit (pottery, jewelry, carpentry), outdoors, women, reading, traveling. I'm 5'7'', 14 lbs. single ready to mingle.
Chris: Drinking coffee and later beer, screen printing (HIRE ME!!!)
Jonny: Ice cream, horror movies, clown
We like laughing constantly, cigarettes and tour
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We’ll have some more new music coming out in 2017 & we’ll be doing some touring in the Spring & Fall. Thanks so much for this interview!