Dirt Royal tell Mick Robinson about their Great Expectations

I’ve been a big fan of this Brighton band since they started a few years ago, and we’ve done some superb gigs together at The Prince Albert, Hotel Pelirocco, two landmark gigs at the Concorde and the 100 Club in London supporting punk legends Sham 69. They also played the new band stage at Rebellion and have toured Germany.

You have just released your second album, Great Expectations. How long did it take to record, where did you record it and what’s your connection with Germany?

Char – We recorded the album in Horsham at Ignite studios it was very cold, we did nine songs there then we did three songs at Russell Church’s Sea Side Studios. The tracks were mastered at Gatehouse studios. We didn’t have time to record a song called Outsiders which is shame because it’s a rip off another song I really love.

Leon – We had plenty of time Char, me and Loz just decided it was out. Did you not get the memo?

Char – We work with Time for Action records that are based in Germany – it’s just a shame we can’t tour and get out to Germany, they treat us really well out there.

What is the main inspiration behind your songwriting?

Char – On this album lyrically I was inspired by a lot of the uncertainty and repetitiveness you start to notice in the people around you once you get  past 25. I feel compared to the first album it’s a lot more pessimistic. But I’ve been told we sound a lot more vulnerable at parts.

Leon – I think with this album I wanted it to sound bigger than the rest, but when it came to the writing I wanted it to be as honest and raw as possible. The first album we wrote songs based around characters mostly with some self-reflection, but this time I wanted it to feel personal and more relatable.

When & how did the band form?

Char – I met Loz in a bar called PR6 he was playing Blink with his mate Harry. Then I met Leon at the Jurys Out open mic night – he was wearing a Libertines T shirt.

Leon – No comment. I prefer to keep this shrouded in mystery 

Who’s your biggest influence & why?

Char – The Clash of course. So many reasons but for now I’ll say because they are the best band that there ever was.

Leon – Well this is a big one, what does one look for in ones influences? Raw talent, musical prowess, cutting truthful lyrics? I dunno. I like a catchy tune, I’m well into Polka at the minute – it’s the next punk take it from me.

You met Mick Jones (from the Clash) when he was in Brighton in 2015, what did he say? 

Char – He said ‘Nice set boys. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers’. He was beyond cool and had a lot of time for creepy fans like me.

Leon – He didn’t speak to me. I saw Matt Cardle at Westfield once. That was pretty cool.

What’s been your favourite gig you’ve played so far?

Char – That’s really hard. Playing Concorde 2 with Sham was amazing. Our first gig in Germany was incredible, but all the gigs we played at 12 Bar in Soho hold a special place in my heart. I miss that place, but right now I’d be happy to play a gig at a bus stop.

Leon – I do love the Concorde 2 gigs, but we’ve done some great gigs at the Albert over the years, they can be very sweaty and lively. It was also the first stage we ever graced so it has a special place among the many venues we’ve played.

Where do you see live music going, post lockdown?

Char – Going to be a big hit I think which is bad because it wasn’t getting much support before, maybe people will want to go out more after being caged for a year.

Leon – I think there’s a lot of DIY stuff coming out now so I’m hoping the decline of the stadium show will give space for small grass roots venues to make a comeback. Instead of going to see old bastards headline the Brighton Centre, maybe people will watch a new band down the street.

What’s your fave film?

1.Star Wars (empire)

2.Toy Story

3.Rocky 1

4.Clockwork Orange

5.Batman 1989

6.The Fly

7.Drop Dead Fred

8.One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest

9.On The Beat


How are you keeping busy in the lockdown?

Char – Writing a lot and Leon has taught me how to record demos at home, so we’re just trying to get all the ideas down ready for when we can practice again. Got a lot of new songs between us, over 20.

Leon – I’ve been reading them books.

Any other contemporary bands you like, especially in Brighton ?

Char – Teenage Waitress I’m all over at the moment, The Lathums, Bite The Buffalo, and I’m loving the new Strokes album. And my mate I was in a band with at school recently showed me Cloud Nothings.

Leon – I’ve been getting into the new post punk thing, bands like Squids, Sports Club and Yak, there’s also some cool stuff coming out of Australia like the Chats and Viagra Boys

And what are your plans for 2021?

Char -Get the new songs together and ready to record. But also we were planning to record a new single so we will be getting that together ASAP I would like to get that out this year, all depends on when we can get back in a practice room together again.

Leon – Shake my tail feather, I just wanna go dancing.

If you could play anywhere in the world where would it be?

Char – New York!

Leon – San Francisco all the way.

Any advice for a band starting out right now?

Char – Write, rehearse, gig, record.

Leon – Don’t do it, get a trade or learn how to code or something.

Where can we buy the album?

Char – The physical copies of the album have sold out, but it’s still up on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and a load of other streaming sites I’ve never heard of. Actually, we did a few Dirt Royal bundles with the album, t-shirts and previous singles and stuff. There might be one or two still available at www.pipandpine.com…. quick go now

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