INTERVIEW: Steve DeCiantis of Ready the Prince on Regicide, New Rock Mafia, and a whole new era
Regicide is the latest single from Toronto based Ready the Prince, comprised of Steve DeCiantis (vocals/bass) and Dan Prada (guitar). This is their first release in over a year, and as a result the pair have pulled absolutely no punches in the making of this song.
The first thing you’ll notice is how very distinctly “Ready the Prince” Regicide sounds - they’ve really found what works for them, whilst still refining and building upon it. If you’ve not yet listened to these New Rock Mafia legends, Regicide is a great entry point. Expect a cross somewhere between Kings of Leon, early Arctic Monkeys and a little John Mayer. Then throw all those expectations away, and immerse yourself in the world of Steve’s raging vocals and Dan’s fret fury. You’ll be screaming along in no time.
If that weren’t enough, the lyrics are perfectly seething too - here at Rock Coven we love a bit of pure, unfiltered rage, and Ready the Prince never disappoint on this front. Regicide is no exception. The lyrics stem from the band’s name, and the idea that “the king is dead”, which all adds up as Google’s definition of regicide is: “a person who kills or takes part in killing a king”. As you’ll discover in our interview with Steve, this takes on a few different meanings, but is mostly about New Rock Mafia dethroning the current leaders of modern rock, and taking over the kingdom that is the music industry. A narrative (and hopefully soon, a reality) we can all get behind.
Regicide is the first of three new releases from the rock renegades, and if this is anything to go by, we are beyond hyped for the next two.
Fuck the fakes.
Courtney: How have you been doing during lockdown?
Steve: It’s been a rollercoaster, as I’m sure it has been for everyone. It’s good now because we actually have things going on. The beginning was okay, because it was like “oh, this will only last a month”, so we were doing a lot of Instagram lives and stuff like that which was really fun. Then it got to the point where I just had my own kind of personal rebirth, where I felt like I needed to just delete all my shit and just focus on practicing and reading. So I took a couple of months where I was just playing a lot of piano, singing, and reading because there was nothing new coming up.
We were basically waiting for our artist Charlotte to finish the artwork for the new singles, and we wanted to give her as much time as possible, so we just let her do her thing. I’m happy with where we’re at now - it doesn’t feel as much like lockdown because we’ve released music. Long story short, it’s been crazy, but I’m happy now that the new single is out and we’re back.
How long has this song been in the works for?
We wrote the song in the summer of 2019, maybe even before that, and we didn’t record it until exactly a year ago, November of last year. We didn’t think it was gonna take this long to get it out, but this always happens! Ask any band, this kind of shit just happens. We have all these new songs that we’re writing now, that are different from the current releases. But Regicide is closer to where we’re at now so it’s good for everyone to catch up.
So would you say this is the start of a new era for you guys?
That’s definitely what’s going on, and in a lot of different ways. The cool thing about that “new era” line is that you can use that for New Rock Mafia or for our band personally. This is the first time we’ve released music in over a year, and it’s completely different - a different producer, a different studio, a different vision too. We have a lot more direction now with our sound and what we’re looking to create. It feels like we know “this is what our sound is”, but who knows how people are receiving it.
I noticed that Regicide sounds distinctly like a Ready the Prince song - you’ve really established your sound and found what works while still adding something extra to it.
That’s great, I’m glad you got that. I think we just understand the elements now that we have from writing all those songs - when I was working on Regicide at the beginning I was like okay, this kinda feels like Dead Roads vibes. We don’t really have another song like Dead Roads, so it’s kinda cool to bring that in. We’ve been a band for so long now that we can think about what we like from our own songs and try and emulate that in the new ones.
Did you have any fresh inspiration going into this new era?
I think the biggest inspiration was the first UK tour we did with cleopatrick in early 2019 because a lot of this stuff was written right after that. Just before that we also did Toronto, Ottawa and Cobourg with dubé (now called Zig Mentality). It was just the energy at the shows and seeing cleopatrick play every single night, and seeing the way the audiences react to their set. I’m always in the mosh pit, that’s my favourite part - just being in there inspired me so much.
When we got back from that tour, we wanted to make music that can give that same kind of emotion live. Not that our old songs didn’t, but we weren’t focused on that as much when writing before. Whereas now, I’m always thinking about what it would feel like to play it live. So that’s why it’s a lot more aggressive, and also because I think we tend to play the songs more aggressive live than they are in the recording. So we wanted to have the recording feel like what it’s gonna feel like live - like "let’s bring that kind of aggression to the recording". But definitely live shows was the biggest inspiration, for sure.
Live audiences are gonna to love the line “what the fuck you say when you see king”.
I have a great story about that line. We were recording the demo for Regicide last summer at Luke’s house and I was recording the vocals. I had half the lyrics done, but I was texting Luke like “yo man, I don’t even have all the lyrics but I’ll just come record it, I’ll show you some stuff and maybe you’ll have an idea or something”. Any time you can get in the same room as Luke Gruntz when songwriting who knows what can happen, maybe he’ll just say something that works. Which is exactly what happened! He helped us with this drum arrangement for a transition, and I was stuck on the lyrics. He was like “Oh, what’s the song about?” and I explained it’s a metaphor about killing the king. It took 20 seconds for him to come up to me and say “How about this: what the fuck you say when you see the king, yeah”. I just recorded it, and that was it, it was the perfect transition. So yeah, that entire section was Luke Gruntz. It was like, how did you just come up with that in 10 seconds? It’s my favourite part because I didn’t write it.
What’s the story behind the rest of the lyrics?
It really stems from the band name. On our website it said “the king is dead”. We had a show a couple of years ago, and on the Facebook event page the promoter put something about “regicide” and I was like, what? So I googled it and… holy shit. This guy just defined our band’s name in one word, so it stuck in the back of my mind. When we started writing the song, originally its nickname was Stuggy, which is some random name I came up with. The lines I did have were the screaming parts, so I was like how can I make that into a song? I knew I had the song name Regicide waiting, and it ended up just being this whole metaphor for a bunch of different things.
One of the main things it represents is New Rock Mafia, and how we want to “take the throne” of modern rock music and get our voices out there - we don't get the same attention that a lot of other bands do and we feel like we deserve it. The cool thing about this song is that you can take that metaphor in a few different ways, so some lyrics are really directed towards that, and then some lyrics are just about believing in yourself, being courageous, and standing up to bullies, whatever. The actual subject matter itself is just fun to write about - some lines are just me imagining what it would be like to live in medieval times or trying to save a kingdom. It was just a big mix which is cool because it’s fun to write a song and not have any lyrical rules.
A lot of your songs seem to have that quality, where the lyrics can be interpreted in a way that's personal to the listener.
That’s what’s funny about this song - it’s literally about killing a king, but you can take it in a completely different way. Obviously we’ve never killed a king so it’s just a made up story, but it also ties in with the band name which is cool. We’re actually really surprised how hyped about the theme everyone is, so we’re just like wow, we can say whatever we want and people get it!
You mentioned that you were recording singles, plural - what’s the status of everything at the moment?
Last November we recorded three songs, so Regicide is one of three that we’ve recorded. There’s a chance we may record more before all three come out. We don’t really know yet, but what I can tell you is that there are three songs recorded and we are in the process of releasing them. No dates are set yet, we’re just gonna see how it goes. With lockdown 2.0 we don't want to release everything right away, and then not have anything else to show for however long this is gonna go on for - so we’re gonna try and spread it out, but at the same time we don’t wanna stay away for too long.
I’m guessing right now there are no shows on the horizon?
Definitely not! Not any in person shows. We’ll see, maybe some online stuff can go down, but nothing is planned yet. We might do one or two Instagram lives - I’m working on something for Regicide, I’ll say that, but that might just be a more of a video. I get so nervous during Instagram lives, which is so weird because for normal shows i’m not nervous at all. It’s the freakiest thing because it’s you by yourself in your room, but everyones watching you and it’s just not natural. Usually I'm playing acoustic or piano like something that I'm not comfortable with, so I’m just freaking out. But when I feel like we have a cool enough set to play for everyone I’ll definitely get back on there, or with Dan too I’m sure.
How are you and Dan working together at the moment?
Earlier in the summer we were meeting up, and wrote a tonne of songs, we got a lot of good demos together. We both just got some new equipment, so we’re gonna start recording stuff on our own and then send it to each other. Sometimes Dan just needs to be on his own for like an hour or two to come up with some crazy thing, so it’s good to be apart sometimes. Once things settle down after the release we’ll definitely get back into finishing up some of the songs that we had kicking around this summer.
So are you guys a duo now?
I think we just realised okay, we’ve been a band for eight years now, and it’s always been me and Dan. We’ve had a revolving door of drummers - mainly Jordan, but there’s been other people involved. I don’t think there’s ever gonna be a third person in the band that is gonna the same as me and Dan. Maybe one day, you never know what can happen, but we feel really confident doing everything just the two of us. We’ll always need a drummer in the studio and at shows, but there’s a lot of great drummers out there who can step in and play for shows and on recordings.
We’re not a duo, we’re a trio - we just don't have a permanent drummer. I wish we did, but we just don’t. It’s a big commitment to be in a band, you don’t really clock out so you have to just really believe in it and really love what you're doing. We know there are people who are committed to drumming so if we can just have people like that involved, that’s all we really need because we can handle everything else. We do have a guy named Brad, he’s in a band called Possum in Toronto, he’s actually the guy who played drums on Torn Up. He’s really awesome and I’m sure he’ll be involved in the future. I’m just happy I have Dan, if I didn’t have Dan then we’d be in trouble!
What do you think the next few years will look like for RTP?
It’s really hard to answer that because I just hope we’re playing shows in the next few years. If you’d asked me that a year ago, I would've had a completely different answer, but now I just wanna be on tour somehow. In a way, that would've been my answer anyway. We wanna be able to tour full time, and that’s been the one hurdle that as a band we’ve not yet been able to get over. Most of the touring opportunities we get are supporting cleopatrick, which we’re so lucky to have. It would be great for us to be able to do our own tour and support other bands, even though I’d happily support cleopatrick for the rest of my life.
We wanna keep releasing music and keep hopefully building an audience, because the more people you have listening to you, the more opportunities you're gonna have to tour. It’s not like we need to be playing arenas or anything like that. When I was younger I used to want that, but now I just wanna be able to do this full time. There’s so many people who haven't been able to see us from different parts of the world.
I can almost hear the “come to Brazil”s from here!
That would be amazing you know. You hear so many amazing stories about places like Brazil, places that a lot of bands don't get to tour that often. You only usually see the really big bands going to Brazil which sucks, but you never know, we’ll see.
Who would be your dream band to support?
It sounds so corny, but cleopatrick. It doesn't get any better! It would be really cool to support a massively famous band that we love like the Arctic Monkeys or something, but there’s something special about these shows that we play with cleopatrick and Zig Mentality. It feels like you're playing in front of your friends. We’ve never experienced playing an arena, but I don't think it gets better than playing in front of two or three hundred people in a packed room and everyone’s just having a great time. Especially in places like the UK where the energy in the crowd is just amazing.
At smaller shows people know why they’re there, with the bigger shows you lose that feeling of unity.
Exactly, you wouldn't know about us unless you actually gave a shit. You decided “I'm gonna believe in this small band because I like the music and I wanna support them.” That means more than three thousand people who go see a band just because they're famous and they just wanna say they’ve seen them or whatever.
Thanks so much for talking to Rock Coven Steve! One last question: what the fuck DO you say when you see the king?
That is a perfect last question! Oh my god. I don’t think you say anything, you just kill him right there. I think you just kill him, on the spot, no words, that’s the whole thing, you say it with your eyes.
Interview by Courtney Myers
Photography by Henry Slade