Utah's Royal Bliss has almost released ten records. Depending on what you count and what you don't count, the band's latest release, Chasing The Sun is record number nine. When you consider what the band has been through, it's a pretty remarkable accomplishment. On the personal side of things, they've fallen off of balconies, taken ski poles to the face, and suffered through a myriad of hardships and personal failings. On the business side, they've dealt with what pretty much every other rock band has had to deal with for the past decade; a faltering marketplace with the genre declining in popularity and the music industry struggling to find sustainability. It's been a ride that's lasted for more than fifteen years for Royal Bliss frontman Neal Middleton and the rest of the group, but after putting in all of the hard work over the years, they're finally finding a way to handle their business in an efficient and smooth matter by managing themselves and going completely D.I.Y.
"At times, it gets overwhelming," said Neal Middleton, the Royal Bliss frontman, on the band going D.I.Y. exclusively with their new album. "There's a lot of business stuff that I have to attend to on a daily basis. By the end of the day it feels like I've had fifteen cups of coffee and I'm tired of going through emails. Sometimes it's tiring and there are bad days, and then some days it's exciting and there are really rewarding days.
"For example, recently I went in and taught a class at an entertainment school here in Salt Lake. I went in and talked to four different classes about record production, band management, touring, and record labels. There were all of these kids in this class. I went in there, and until I started talking, I guess I didn't realize how much I've learned about this industry. I told them that I started doing this because I love making music, but nowadays it's a small part of what I get to do. It's the reason I do what I do, it justifies all the business, but it's turned into just part of what I do. When we started in music, we got thrown into the fire. Since then, we've figured out pretty much everything on our own and that's how we do things now. Along with the rest of the guys, I do all of this on top of everything with my personal life. It's never-ending but it's more rewarding when you see all the progress and you know that you're directly responsible for it."
With the band's business, Royal Bliss is comfortable with where they're at. More important than that, musically they might be better than they've ever been. The group's new album, Chasing The Sun is ten tracks of what might be the best music that they've ever made. Talking with AA about the new album, Neal explained that how good it is and the way they made it ultimately led to the band being able to accomplish what they've been able to as a do-it-yourself band.
"We were relaxed with this record," started Middleton. "We recorded at home and we did it in spurts. When we first went in, it was probably May of last year. We spent a couple of weeks laying songs down. Kevin and Adam from Candlebox came out and helped us write. They hung out here and we did a couple of songs with those guys. We went in the studio a few months later and recorded a few songs and we did that every so often. We didn't have a game plan to do a new album. After we had ten songs, we loved what we had. We were proud of the ten songs and we decided to just release them as a record.
"From there, things grew. "Cry Sister" hit radio and it did amazing with our own radio team. We've done everything on our own with this album, we're completely independent. We formed our own record label with Air Castle Records. We did our own promotion and got our own distribution. This has always been what we wanted to do with Royal Bliss. It all kind of fell into place, and it all started with those songs, making something we loved."
The new album from Royal Bliss, Chasing The Sun is available now. The band has announced touring plans to go along with the release of the album. You can find those at https://www.facebook.com/royalbliss. On a side note, Middleton recently opened up his own Restaurant, Bar & Club in Salt Lake City - The Royal. More info on the venue is available at https://www.facebook.com/theroyalslc.