QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Mats Lilja (Royal Punch Club)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Mats. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, are you alive and well? How are the other guys of Royal Punch Club?

Mats: Hello! Thanks for doing this interview with us!

In these pandemic times, Royal Punch Club is doing fine so far. No one in the band has caught the virus as far as we know.. yet.. Fingers crossed.

Pix666: Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. What kind of music does Royal Punch Club make?

Mats: R.P.C is quite a new Swedish rockband formed in 2017 which consists of me, Mats Lilja on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Sigvard Järrebring on guitar and ’backup-vocals’, Björn Henriksen on bass guitar and Johan Nyman on drums. I would say Royal Punch Club delivers good rock songs aimed at a wide audience.

Melodies are hugely important to us and I feel that every song needs a great hook, something that sticks or speaks to your heart. All of our songs usually gravitates to the core of that. We like to believe that a song should survive the test of just the vocals and one acoustic guitar. With that in mind, we try to write and produce good rock-songs to the best of our ability.

Pix666: What was your inspiration to become musicians? What are your favourite bands?

Mats:  When I was 12 years old me and some friends started a band. Our heroes at that time where bands like Kiss, Judas Priest, Dio, Scorpions, Iron Maiden and Accept, just to Mention a few.

Playing music has been a part of me ever since. But when I first heard Nirvana and bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, Something clicked, and I instantly felt at home musically. I’m quite sure each and everyone of us in the band have got some favourite band that the other ones don’t like but hey.. a little bit of inspiration from this and that is what hopefully makes it interesting when a song is being created/written.  At least thats what we tell ourselves:) I also think no matter what genre- ’a good song is always a good song,’ if you know what I mean? We are inspired by everything good between metal to classic.

Pix666: You’ve been with Royal Punch Club for about 4 years now. What were the best or craziest experiences with the band so far that you will never forget?

Mats: I’d say finally getting our debut out is the best one. Just the feeling that all our hard work over the past few years has paid off and also the boost you get from it as a band is a great experience. It’s what makes you want to continue and set the bar even higher for the next one. The craziest..well, the pandemic with all the restrictions making it impossible to play the songs we just released, that’s pretty crazy for sure!!

Pix666: In 2020 you released your debut EP. How were the fans’ reactions to your songs so far?

Mats: The response has been great! Our songs really seem to have resonated with people. We’re so thankful for all the encouragement and kind words we’ve received.

Pix666: What difficulties did you face in working on the songs and finishing the EP due to the Corona restrictions?

Mats: Actually we didn’t really face any difficulties recording it. Everything was recorded long before the pandemic. The only thing we thought of was when to release it. At first we thought we’ll wait until this thing blows over. But when we realised that that wasn’t going to happen in the near future, we just released it.

Pix666: in December 2020, the video clip ‚Grand Illusion‘ was released. Where did you shoot the clip? Who was part of the team? Were there some funny moments during the shoot that you would like to tell the fans about?

Mats: The video was shot here In Alingsås (Sweden) by a friend of ours, Patrik Skoglöv, who is a fantastic photographer. It took a day in his studio at his house where he lives. Well, we actually had an idea of dressing up in drag for parts of the video. Wigs, skirts, makeup and all of that stuff, but luckily someone talked us out of it!

Although I still believe it could have worked, ha ha! I guess I have to convince the guys that it’s going to be a great idea for another video.;)

Pix666: The trailer for a new song is running on Facebook. When exactly will this song be released? Is this perhaps already a hint of a Full Lenght Royal Punch Club album?

Mats: The new single will be released on the 29th of April. It’s going to be something different from what we normally do and we hope our fans will like it!

More songs and singles will follow, and they will all probably end up on a new EP further down the line.

Pix666: The pandemic unfortunately still has us in its grip, in Germany we are even in a lockdown again. Nevertheless, is Royal Punch Club already planning some concerts for the secons half of 2021?

Mats: Yes, we have some plans but no dates have been set yet. We really want to make it safe and still enjoyable, so maybe at the end of summer if everything goes well. It’s going to be here in Sweden, that’s as much I know. Can’t wait!

Pix666: Can you remember your last concert at all – and how much do you miss something like that?

Mats: We miss it a lot! We’re dying to perform live! So far there’s been zero gigs. Yes, we’ve all done live shows before obviously but we can’t wait to play and perform as R.P.C. It’s going to be fantastic!

Pix666: What is the current situation in Sweden and especially the mood among the people?

Mats: I would say that we’re all pretty hopeful. Although the vaccinations are taking longer here than expected, we’re still starting to see the end of this. Maybe not as soon as we’d hoped, considering that summer is coming and everyone is hoping  to see more restrictions being lifted in time for their vacations.

Pix666: As a musician, you certainly spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to get your mind off things – are there any interesting hobbies that you pursue? 😊

Mats: Well I’m actually a bit of an enthusiast photographer. I shot and made the cover art for all of our singles including this new one. There’s a lot of similarities in creating/composing an image and writing songs, and I guess it’s the creative aspects in both that really attract me.

Pix666: At what point or level do you see your band in about 5 years, or in other words ¬- what are your dreams and wishes as musicians?

Mats: Hopefully we’ll still be making music of course and that we’re able to reach more potential fans with our songs. We would love for our audience to have grown which would enable us to travel and perform around the world, and come face to face with real people!! But most of all we hope that the joy and inspiration of making music is still there and that it continues to drive us forward as a band.

Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?

Mats: Our new single is something that we’re very proud of! We wanted to test our limits by doing something unique with our broad musical background. We dug into our classical skills and formed a space and a sound landscape we never could have dreamed of. We’re still a little shocked by the result and are eager to deliver it to our fans.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck with the new song and stay healthy!!!

Mats: No problem, thank you!


photos © Marcus Björkman