For our next band spotlight, we chat to Theo, vocalist from London alt-rockers, King Nun.
What ideas and themes inspire King Nun?
Making the best music we can inspires us. We want to inspire just as we have been inspired by the music and art that we grew up with, and continue to grow up with. That’s what keeps us together at the foundations I think; the thing that keeps us writing. We want to share the freedom that we find in self expression directly and personally. We love music that has purpose. Passionate music that connects to you and commits to itself, which draws us to a lot of rock-ish music because when it’s done right it’s so unapologetic and so visceral. What I’m trying to say here is that we like music.
How important is the visual element of the band?
It’s very important to us. We’re very aware that an image can fill a lot of space between a listener and a band. We’re big fans of using surreal imagery that reflect the kind of fear, loathing and awkwardness that we often write about. For out first single, Tulip, we had one of us drowning in yellow liquid. For our second single, Hung Around, we had us all buried under a heap of vines, amps and guitars. Its all a little masochistic, but I think that’s quite important to our type of music.
What ideas went into Hung Around and Sponge?
Hung Around is a really old song of ours and went under a lot of changes before it came out the way it did when we recorded it for the final time. It originally came about when I [Theo] was trying to sabotage a particular practice of ours by looping this weird little climbing riff. It turned out the guys loved it and turned it into something very close to what the recording is now. The words took years to come together because I was very nervous about singing and couldn’t quite bring myself to say my feelings about things and not feel awkward. I think the finished words came a little from that and love and alienation. This song helped me out a lot.
A little while after we recorded it in Belgium we went and met our good buddies Youth Hymns Productions to talk about making a video for it. We told them we wanted something that looked claustrophobic; us in an uncomfortable circumstance. They had this idea about a band being attacked by alien vines and we loved it to pieces, so that’s how the video was made. The single cover for Hung Around came from that video shoot actually.
Sponge was written just after we signed with Dirty Hit and we were able to rehearse in a genuinely really nice rehearsal space for the first time in our lives. Now that we could hear each other during practice we started playing around with some more subtle stuff. The drive in a lot of our music previously came from relentless strumming and a lot of distortion and sonic stuff, so this time we turned down the effects and let the rhythm and momentum of the song pull it forward. It felt exciting and new for us, and it opened the door for a lot of the stuff we’re making now. The lyrics from this song come from this thing I have where I feel like I’m constantly transforming into someone else, accidentally picking up unwanted character traits that don’t belong to me. Soaking everything up like a sponge. It’s a little weird.
What other passions do you have outside of music?
We love all sorts of different art forms, but there isn’t anything I could call out in particular. We love frisbee though; frisbee is our shit.
What would you say the biggest challenges for King Nun, and other bands, are right now?
Obviously it’s hard to get noticed as a musician, that’s the first thing anyone tells you when you pick up an instrument and decide you want to do it for a living. Then they’ll say it’s hard to get paid and I reckon they’re equally right. I wouldn’t know too much about other bands but I know we had a really hard time finding out who we were as a band. Learning to tell the truth.
You’re obviously a young band but what have been your career highlights so far?
Playing our first gig at a local shitty open mic night. They’d turned us away for being too young a load of times but luckily we’d met some guy on the street who played there too who gave “some brutal words” to the owner to let us in. No one watched really but Terrance the postman danced like a golden god. Being found by our Manager Sam was a godsend; he saved us from what could’ve been eternal monotony in Twickenham based rehearsal spaces and the open mic. Recording down the road from Headley Grange with genius man Jolyon Thomas was pretty surreal and amazing. Playing our first actual gig opening for Superfood at New Slang was a massive massive step up for us. Getting signed to Dirty Hit was surreal. That was really crazy. Reaaallly crazy. Recording music in Belgium was pretty great; it was hard to get our heads around the fact that our music had brought us there, but it was a truly incredible feeling. Tulip being released. Touring with Superfood and Pale Waves was really great. It was our first tour so experiencing that was a beautiful thing. We met some fantastic, lovely people along the way and had just had a really good wholesome time. Hung Around being released. I know I’m missing a lot of things that are pretty significant but they’re all running away from my memory right now.
What plans do you have for the rest of this year?
We’re working really hard on a longer form release at the moment, the single of which we’re hoping to have out within a month or two. We’re very excited about Reading and Leeds Festival in August; touring with Inheaven and Bloxx in October; and overall hustlin’ the good hustle.