I first came across Londoners King Nun a couple of years back as a result of my obsession with The 1975. They’re on the same record label, so it was inevitable that they were going to pop up on my Twitter and Instagram feed at some point. The first thing that caught my eye about the band was their aesthetic – they used bright colours of yellow, red and green but still managed to make it look badass. I was lucky enough to catch the band supporting Pale Waves in Cyprus Avenue last October and was even luckier to have had a lovely chat with their guitarist James. King Nun’s live energy was absolutely stellar and I would almost go as far as to say I enjoyed them more than Pale Waves. In November 2018, they released their much anticipated EP I Have Love (it’s excellent, in case you were wondering) and embarked on a nine-date UK headline tour. In between all of this madness, I managed to get in contact with the lead singer Theo. Here’s what he had to tell me about King Nun…
Tell me a little about how you met and formed the band.
“We met in school through a bunch of little coincidences. I met our lead guitarist James through a double-booked rehearsal room; we met our bassist Nathan by being stuck one side of the railroad tracks; and we met Caius [drums] through a mutual friend. But really, I think we magnetised to each other because we had very similar interests and goals.”
How would you describe your music to someone who knows nothing about music?
“Music is organised sound produced by notes correlating to some sense of rhythm and melody. We play quite a lot of notes and our rhythms are usually quite fast but not all of the time.”
Who are your greatest influences when writing?
“It is initially my dad and his late-night Elvis Presley singalongs with me and my sister; then AC/DC and hair metal; then the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, Blondie, Television and Richard Hell and that whole CBGB [Country Bluegrass Blues] scene in general; then Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Cat Stevens…Leonard Cohen, The Shaggs, Daniel Johnstone and most importantly, R.E.M. I’ve been up and down and all over the place but I’ve always found I’m attracted to the rawer stuff. With AC/DC it was the mayhem of the live recordings. Then the CBGB scene with its masterful carefree angst in music and poetry; then folk with its no-barrier way of communication. I like wide open, raw music.”
Do you find that being associated with bands such as Pale Waves and The 1975 adds to your success? How do you feel about that association?
“Yeah, deffo. Coming out on Dirty Hit was the whole reason our first single was able to reach so many people so quickly. Their successes with The 1975, Wolf Alice and The Japanese House meant they had a huge cult following that was happy to listen to us, the new signing. We came out before Pale Waves though so, if anything, they have us to thank for their phenomenal wave of success. I like every artist on the label; it’s all great music so I’m all good with their association with us. I embrace it wholly.”
Did you enjoy touring with Pale Waves? What are your highlights?
“They are so much fun and a joy to adventure with. Highlights for us were the shows; we got really good halfway through that tour!”
Tell me a little about the new EP and what it’s like to play live.
“We recorded it at a studio in Wandsworth, South West London. It was produced by Jon Gilmore and Jo Rogers, mastered by Robin Schmidt. All wonderful people. People often know the words to the song ‘Family Portrait’ so that can be a lot of fun [to play live] when they sing along. ‘Heavenly She Comes’ is a heavy one so that’s a pass to fuck some shit up. The title track is a musical pain-in-the-arse to play but the catharsis of the chorus is a joy to perform. With ‘Greasy Hotel’, I feel a certain importance in its message. I like playing all of them live.”
How has the reception to the EP been so far?
“Wonderful (I hope). Everything I’ve read has been wonderful. The most overwhelming things I’ve seen have come from people messaging us over Instagram or Twitter. Some people have really caught onto the happy sad hippy-ish message of the whole thing and I’m overjoyed that that came through.”
Do you have plans for 2019?
“YES. I imagine we’re gonna be releasing a lot based on the studio time we’re putting in and I promise the music that comes out will be great.”
Okay, ready for some fun bonus questions?
“Go for it!”
Which song do you wish you’d written?
“The Free Electric Band by Albert Hammond. That song conjured a need to express myself that I can only strive to replicate now. If I can capture that feeling I had hearing that song for the first hundred times I’ll have done what I set out to do.”
If you had to change the band’s name, but could only change it to the name of a TV show or a film, what would the band be called?
“This is an amazing question. Thank you!… I’m gonna go with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind because I think that’s a cool name and I think I know what it’s on about and it makes me hurt and happy in a way that I hope to channel in our work.”
What would your dream festival line-up be?
“Me. Always all the time all around the clock me every day, me every stage, every platform, every loudspeaker. Me, me, me, me, me.”
You can catch King Nun’s EP I Have Love on all your favourite streaming sites now…