David Lawrie talks about his inspirations in creating The Royal Ritual’s new album, ‘Martyrs’

By May 10, 2022 Features, Interviews, News

S] How are you?

TRR] I’m really well, thanks. I unexpectedly found myself back in the UK, after spending the majority of my adult life (so far) in the USA. It is odd to reconfigure, but it is also so wonderful to reconnect with the place I love to call home. I feel peaceful and focused!

TRR] I’m fortunate in that I have been able to make music and audio my career for so many years. I have been a record producer for many artists, and I have worked in the audio side of film and television.

I have released music under my birth name, and whilst I have been genuine with the messages I have tried to convey, the main purpose of my solo music was to attract clients and collaborators. The Royal Ritual, on the other hand, is the first time I have created music with a view to it existing for its own purpose. It really does feel like a very distilled self-expression. As well as being very liberating – it has been incredibly challenging!

S] How do you define success as an artist now?

TRR] Gosh, you are good. What a question. I don’t know whether I have a clear answer for you, but I will dig deep and try.

I can only really speak for myself here, but I feel like communication is key with art. If my art can speak to an audience, then I can at least say it fulfils its purpose. Perhaps that is success?

Creative careers cannot be measured by the same metrics as other careers, in my opinion, so I definitely do not think that financial status is synonymous with success – but by the same token, if art can be self-serving, I do think it helps an artist refine their craft much quicker.

S] Do you pay much attention to legacy, and what it means to you?

TRR] It’s interesting you ask that (or perhaps you were just listening closely), but I really started thinking about that when writing ‘Life, After’. I was going through a particularly turbulent time in my life and, as an atheist, I started to question whether we can live on beyond our years.

I love looking into the lives of composers whose music has inspired me in an attempt to understand the intentions behind their music, and in that way, they live on. I really do find a lot of joy following that trail after hearing a piece of inspirational music, and I think in some way we all would like to bring joy to future generations after we are long gone.

S] What have you learned about yourself, from the start of your career, until right now?

TRR] I have always had imposter syndrome, and as I continue to learn more about sound arts, the amount that I realise I don’t know expands exponentially. Whilst I can listen back to the sounds I was making ten years ago and hear that I have improved massively in what I am creating now, I feel I have fewer and fewer answers, and more and more questions about music production. I have definitely become much more humble about my skillset, but by the same token, I think I am finally on the uptick of the Dunning-Kruger chart.

S] What were some of the biggest challenges in pulling ‘Martyrs’ together?

TRR] The project started as a collaboration with my friend in 2019. We experimented a lot, and even started working on a couple of songs together. Unfortunately the pandemic changed everything, and it ended up becoming a solo project.

Producing the music during the pandemic, along with an ever-nearing transatlantic move, was at once one of the most challenging experiences of my career, but it was also one of the most focused times of my life. Creating the first two videos in mandatory isolation was a massive learning curve for me. I invested in some new equipment – knowing that I would be locked-down after travelling – and I created the videos for “Pews In A Pandemic” and “Glide Dog.”

Finally, the branding and admin around releasing the album itself has left me feeling quite lost at sea. This is the stage that feels very new to me – I am excited about it, though!

S] And some of the best bits? 

TRR] Everything I just said, whilst incredibly difficult and stressful, has been so absolutely rewarding. The hardest bits were the best bits, without a doubt.

S] How much does the visual representation of TRR mean to you?

TRR] I really wanted to separate this project from my birth-name [David Lawrie]. As I said before, this music is to serve itself, rather than to serve my wider career as a producer. The name The Royal Ritual came to me on a cross country drive from California to New Hampshire. I was alone in the car, and I really had a lot of time to think. That name just stuck with me.

Once I had the name, I started to see a logo in my mind. I have done quite a bit of graphic design in the past (as well as photography) so I started to develop what I consider to be consistent imagery to accompany the music. I planned it all out on the drive, and I spent the evenings in the hotel rooms on my iPad, bringing it all together.

S] What is your message to those who have supported you, and those who have yet to discover you?

TRR] I am truly thankful to everyone who has supported me so far. Thank you all so much for getting involved so early on, and to those of you to whom I turn for opinions and input, I really do value what you bring to the table.

I always wanted The Royal Ritual to be an artistic expression that welcomes people into it, rather than something that is a wall between me and the people who listen to it. I can’t wait to welcome more ritualists on board!

S] Thanks mate!

TRR] Thank you!