Interview by Karan Dutta
Camden’s Underworld recently played host to Spanish metal act Lords of Black. Fronted by lead singer Ronnie Romero (recently off tour with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow), LOB was playing their first UK show in on 5 December 2016. Just before sound check, I caught up with Tony and Ronnie to get their thoughts on the new album, their tour and upcoming plans for 2017.
MGM: So, I think the first question is with regards to the second album. It’s been very successful. It’s been out for almost nine months now. What’s been special for you guys about it and how do you feel about the album and its reception?
Tony: Right. The whole this with this new album is because it’s been released and distributed worldwide so that makes a huge difference from the first one which was a self-released album.And it is cool too because it’s kind of becoming a cult album, very respected and loved album by the fans, very underground, but this new album is a game changer because at the same time, all the Rainbow thing with Ronnie and all the frontiers deals and a worldwide release is coming in a short period of time, so we got to get known by the whole world, if you will, very quickly and that makes everything very special around this album. Also, the songs, I think they are more focused and more straight to the point than with the first album because we already had the live experience from the first tour so we knew how the people were going to react to this kind of stuff or passages, so unconsciously, we were writing this album with that bite in mind, an album to be intended to be played live mostly, so.
Ronnie: Hey! I’m Ronnie.
MGM: Nice to meet you. Okay. Cool. So that actually is a very nice segue way into my second question which was about the composition process with the album. You’ve said it’s tighter, you had a more defined idea of what you wanted the sound to be given what you’ve done with the first album. So, talk me through the process. How do you guys sit down and compose, do you write a guitar lyric or do you come up with the vocal melody and then you start from there…what is the process
Tony: It depends on, but we know for sure we have a special something, some riff for a lick or vocal melody or even the title. Maybe get us to a whole different level of the story where – because we’re lucky enough to – we live in outskirts of Madrid, very close to each other that makes very easy for us to get to together and compose and share ideas.
Tony: Not only through emails or whatever but actually all of together. That’s a very cool thing.
Ronnie: That – yeah.
Tony: Always Ronnie and me eye to eye and doing the demo thing and we got the demos on the songs in the first stages pretty close to the result of the end because of we really…
Ronnie: It was a very, very long process of interpretation, so.
Tony: Yeah. It was very long and conserved preposition.
Ronnie: But what’s completely different between the first and the second album in the composition is, I guess, in the first, we’ve been looking for something, you know, obviously because the first time…Working with each other and in the second one, it was very, very clear about the sound
Tony: We got to know each other very well…
Ronnie: Yeah. Yeah.
Tony: With the first album and the whole tour experience on and that – because of the first album, it was like put together in like one month or one month and a half.
Tony: And that was the first time Ronnie and I were working together and it was magic. It was beautiful…
Tony: But we were only following our instincts, and this time, knowing his best things to do, knowing my best and weakest point, you came to…
Ronnie: And I know what you’re looking for…
Tony: That’s right.
Tony: So, I think – I assume it would be getting better and better after album because I’m already thinking on the next one right now and putting the first pieces together right now, so I have the premonition and the feeling that it’s going to be even better.MGM: Okay. So, lots of touring in the last year, all over the place. I mean, I notice you guys gone out to…to Japan and…some of Czech Republic, Austria, Western Europe. What’s been the toughest crowd?
Tony: You mean a dead audience? The most difficult to…?
MGM: Whatever you define as difficult. Whether it’s dead, whether it’s you know they just didn’t get the music, or…?
Tony: No. No. No. Really.
Ronnie: I think every place was different, of course, because we played the first time in too many venues, but probably the German people was a little bit hard to…
Tony: You think?
Ronnie: Not, the Japanese…Not the Japanese of course.
Tony: Yeah. but they are really into it and really love it, but they (the Germans) just react in a different manner.
Ronnie: Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Yeah.
Tony: They are more reserved, but I know that they are really driven and really…
Ronnie: And I think they enjoy the music in other ways…
Ronnie: then the other crowds…
Tony: Also in Holland.
Tony: Even in Holland, they are very different from the north…and the south
Ronnie: Yeah. It was, you know.
Ronnie: We know Holland and those crazy people.
Ronnie: Yeah. It’s really surprising because I don’t expect that.
Ronnie: …that kind of things but in Japan was really crazy too. Yeah, but German people is like enjoy the music in a different way, I think.
Ronnie: They’re looking for details and something…
Tony: Well, Japanese guys too, but they were over the top. They were lovely!
MGM: So, which brings me to what’s been the most enjoyable concert for you guys or venue where you guys had played?
Ronnie: I don’t know. I enjoy very much Japan.
Tony: Yeah. Tokyo, Japan was…
Ronnie: Because a very, very big audience, I don’t know, maybe 11,000 people.
Tony: Yeah. Around 10,000.
Ronnie: 11 in the morning, so what’s real, I don’t know, weird.
Ronnie: In a way, but the other night in Netherland, the second show…
Tony: It was great.
Ronnie: It was completely crazy too. I don’t know, it’s…
Tony: That’s right. Yeah.
Ronnie: …I think in every single show have something special for us.
Tony: Yeah. Milan. So, at the Frontiers Festival was great too. Ludwigsburg in Germany was beautiful also, but definitely, Tokyo was special, and I got to tell you, we were really looking forward to this show in London. London is, you know, one of those towns you want to play.
Tony: It’s like, you know.MGM: Fair enough. So, on tour, behind the scenes stories, fans always love to know about that stuff. What have you not put on record so far to tell us about what goes on backstage or on a tour or between the band?
Ronnie: We’re really, really regular normal guys.
Tony: Really. We wake up and straight…
Ronnie: We never going through something that’s crazy or something. We’re just trying to do our best.
Ronnie: And the music obviously is the first for us every time, every day, working hard, and that’s it.
Ronnie: We don’t have any…
Tony: Yeah. Maybe compared to some bands, we are pretty boring.
Tony: Like more musician…
Tony: We’re not definitely Motley Crue or whatever.
Ronnie: Of course, man.
MGM: Yeah. So, no pianos out of hotel windows…
Ronnie: No. No. No.
Tony: Only a little…
Tony: No. No. Right.
MGM: It will come with time, I guess.
Ronnie: Not like the stories that Ritchie told me of Deep Purple
MGM: Well, that’s a good transition into my next question which was with regards to your recent work with Rainbow, high profile. You kind of mentioned it was a great honor for you to play with Ritchie…
Ronnie: Of course.
MGM: …a childhood icon for yourself. What’s been most enjoyable about the project for you?
Ronnie: About Rainbow, it thinks it’s everything.
Ronnie: The first time, at the very beginning when Ritchie called me and I’ve been talking with Carol with Ritchie with Candice and I met them and we had our dinner in Germany, in Munich, it was completely, I don’t know, it’s like a dream come true for me because I am a really, really big Rainbow fan for, I don’t know, maybe when I was 7 years old, you know. My dad used to listen to every Deep Purple and Rainbow music. So, every moment with Richie’s very special. They’re very, very special.
MGM: Okay. So, lots of speculation about what might happen next with that project. I know you’ve kind of said you would like to work with them going forward as well.
Ronnie: With Rainbow?
Ronnie: Yeah. Yeah. We have already confirmed a few shows next year.
Ronnie: And I think that’s it for a moment because I don’t know that – I don’t think so that Ritchie wants to make too much more because they have this quiet band with…
Ronnie: ..like enjoyed his wife and the music that he’s really loved. This renaissance music and medieval music and whatever and just looking for fun for a few days and I think that’s great for us, that’s great for the audience, of course, it’s great for the fans and that’s it. That’s it.
Ronnie: Few more shows next year, probably in June and that’s what we’re on. Yeah.
MGM: Right. So, for you guys, Lords of Black, upcoming tours for next year? Have you identified where, what are your markets, where you want to go promote yourself?
Ronnie: We have a lot of work this time.
Tony: Yeah. For next year, obviously, we’ll be writing and recording the new album for a tentative release maybe for the fall or maybe beginning – very beginning of 2018, but for sure, we’ll have some of the summer festivals that we can’t say now but we have some of those confirmed by now. It’s going to be a huge step because doing clubs and headlining is very good. You have to be on the road and feel this – the whole experience getting the band stronger and tighter every night, but also those summer festivals, you got to get to as many people as possible in just one shot, so it’s very good and very cool to have maybe 20,000 or more people in those festivals and get to a wider audience in just one concert. So, we are really looking forward to that opportunity and taking Lords of Black to a wider, broad audience.
MGM: Are there any, what I call frontier markets that you’re currently not aware of where you have fans so places like India or South America. I don’t know if you know you guys have fans in India.
Tony: Yeah. I didn’t know that, but I expected that sooner or later, that was going to because that market is kind of new and is opening a lot.
Ronnie: It’s like the Russian market or the Chinese market for us.
Tony: Yeah. But India has been a regular with Iron Maiden in the last years.
Ronnie: In India?
Tony: Revolutionary and it’s a big country with one of the most populated countries in the world, so it’s going to be a great market.
MGM: So, I can give you an example. I was at the first Maiden show that was played in India of 70,000 people…
MGM: I wasn’t even, I mean, people, there was no place to leave bags or anything. People threw them in a pile, didn’t care if they lost their stuff.
MGM: It didn’t matter. They were just there for the music and Indians as fans love metal.
Ronnie: Right.MGM: So, pass times on tour because the tour is stressful, there’s lots of stuff going on when you’re traveling.
MGM: How do you guys de-stress?
Ronnie: I have Netflix!
MGM: Any favorite shows?
Ronnie: I am –watching some Marvel series.
Ronnie: I just had been watching Dare Devil and I’m starting to watch Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. I love it.
Tony: Yeah. We all love that and movies or listening to music in our headphones during our traveling. I love to go out of the hotel and do some sightseeing. I love that.
Tony: But we really love traveling. It’s one of the most beautiful things of – out of being a musician actually.
Ronnie: And searching a good beer and everything.
Tony: Right. Being –socializing with local people.
Tony: And just enjoying life. It’s one of the best and most beautiful things. If you don’t like to travel, if you really feel like miserable out there…
Tony: …you can’t tour. You can’t be a touring musician. It has to be for someone that really liked to be out of their home. Yeah.
MGM: Fair enough.
Ronnie: That’s true.
MGM: Favorite songs in the album?
Tony: You’ll see tonight that we’ll play like our best of both albums and we all have different favourites but Nothing Left to Fear and When Everything is Gone from the first album are pretty remarkable, maybe Merciless, Everything You’re Not, Cry No More, the one which we dedicated Phil Lynott and Celice are very important. Also, maybe Shadows of War, Ghost of You.
Ronnie: Shadows of War is a kind of song that they – it’s really a surprise to me.
Ronnie: On shows because I don’t have too many…expectations on that.
Ronnie: …On the album, but in the shows, it’s a killer song and the people really love it.
Tony: Yeah. Sometimes, you think you have a strong song and doesn’t relate very well to the live situation and vice versa.
Tony: You have a – I don’t know, not a favorite during the recording and it becomes a classic favorite.
Tony: So, you never know.
MGM: And the stuff like that influence your writing process…
Tony: That’s right.
MGM: For future songs, then you kind of – you have…
Ronnie: At least…
Tony: Yeah. At least unconsciously. Absolutely.
MGM: Okay. Yeah. So, this is a question and it comes back to your Marvel point, so if you guys had one super power, what would it be?
Ronnie: Probably doing the best song ever.
Tony: Like Living on a Prayer or something like that.
Ronnie: Yeah. Something like that.
Ronnie: Yeah. Yeah.
Tony: Yeah. Actually, we may…
Ronnie: I’ve been thinking just something like yeah, the Kill the King or…
Tony: Oh, yes.
Tony: Even the whole concept of the Lords of Black image and everything, it has to do a lot with those superheroes doing the good even from the shadows and anonymity, so that’s pretty much the Lords of Black concepts like Batman or Dare Devil or Super…
Ronnie: Doing the right.
Tony: Doing – always doing the right.
Ronnie: Yeah, so.
MGM: Fair enough. I’ll wrap it up because they’re going to start getting loud. Any last words for your fans?
Tony: Well, most fans for this interview if U.K. or anywhere?
MGM: Global. It’s global.
Tony: We love them all and we are very happy to be on tour and growing every day the Lords of Black family. Sooner or later, we will try to be also in those places that they have not the experience of having us playing for them yet but we’ll do for sure, and we love to play in India sometimes in the future.
MGM: Brilliant. Thank you guys very much.
Tony: Thank you so much.