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February 2021
Latitude 2017

King Nun: "We’ve got very high ambitions for this..."

They're one of the most exciting new bands on the planet, just don't smile and nod.
Published: 11:25 am, July 15, 2017
King Nun: "We’ve got very high ambitions for this..."
There are loads of new bands at Latitude this year, but there are few as exciting as King Nun. Signed to Dirty Hit - home of The 1975, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House and a load more amazing artists - they may only have made their earliest of moves, but each one has been pitched perfectly. We caught up with them after their set to work out just what they're planning on doing next.

How was your set?
Theo Polyzoides: I loved it, I loved it.
James Upton: Busier than I thought it’d be. A lot of fun. It’s nice to see so many people, I mean we’ve done a few festivals before but I’d say this is one of the busier ones we’ve done in terms of people coming to our show, and so many people into it as well. That’s always the risk with festivals, you know, the number of people that are there to see the next band.
Theo: I really didn’t like how the bouncer stopped people dancing though, that was really annoying. It was like, people would start dancing and the bouncer would run in and tell them to stop. A couple of mates told us they were doing that. I definitely understand, but that was annoying. Other than that, it was loads of fun. I could see people starting to go like this [??] and then they’d be real scared and I was like ‘is it me?’ [laughs].

You want to have fun, it’s a festival, you want to let loose a bit.
Theo: Exactly.
Nathan Gane: We want to have fun, we want them to have fun.
Theo: I can understand if it’s a bit rowdy, but they weren’t troublemakers.
James: Actually now you tell me that it’s quite funny because the act before us was Benjamin Francis Leftwich who’s really folky, pick-y guitar-y stuff, and it’s just him. So - he is lovely, I only met him today but he is lovely - but I can kind of see how maybe... there’s a fairly sharp difference there. So having those two acts in a tent must have been a bit… yeah. Odd planning.

Is this your first Latitude?
James: Yeah
Theo: This is my first festival that’s happening outside in a field.
James: Same for me as well.
Nathan: Me and Caius [Stockley-Young] are hardcore.
Theo: It’s fantastic, we really like how loving everyone is, it’s really nice. And it’s nice to play our kind of music in an environment where you know people are there to be loving and healthy and nice. Cause often you play punk music and people are a bit like [makes an angry noise]. This place, there’s such a good vibe in the air that it’s much easier to play. It’s much easier to play punk and have it be interpreted the way we want it to be. The combination of those things is really good.

It’s a bit of a punk hour too, We spoke to Dead Pretties a while ago…
Theo: They’re fantastic they’re so good.

They said you guys were awesome as well.
Theo: Aughhh!
James: They’re awesome as well.
Theo: That’s so nice.
James: We played on the same stage as them at Great Escape and watched each other’s acts, they’re really cool guys actually.
Theo: I remember watching them play and they were doing like the squealing, bluesy … and I was like ‘man that’s what we have in our heads’, and I was like ‘I feel you guys’. [Laughs]
James: They’ve got a good energy to them.
Theo: Yeah, amazing energy yeah.

Is that something you look for with other acts, that energy?
James: I think the most important thing to me in that is naturalness. It doesn’t matter how energetic a band is, but as long as they look like they mean it when they’re being energetic. Not to name and shame or anything but you see some bands who it’s kind of obvious are putting in the energy to put in the energy, if you see what I mean? It feels like the energy they’re putting in is created to make an atmosphere rather than they’re enjoying the show. I’d much rather watch bands that had no energy to them physically but it was obvious that they meant that.
Theo: Yeah, it’s like music starts as a feeling and then it turns into a performance. So if you can trace it back to what that feeling was originally, that is for me personally a great band, and Dead Pretties apply to that as well. I saw him in the soundcheck screaming his head off and I though ‘fuck, he means it’. Means business.
Nathan: If it’s genuine it doesn’t really matter what it is, we don’t just listen to heavy music. We listen to so many different types of music. If it’s genuine you feel sort of … like it, if you see what I mean.
Theo: Yeah, it just so happens that with punk, or rock music, that everything’s a bit more exposed because it’s more aggressive, so it can go right and wrong easier. When you see a rock band that don’t fully commit, it’s easy to tell. But you see when they do it’s … really great rock.

[caption id="attachment_20335" align="alignnone" width="1500
Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett / Dork[/caption]
"pull" text="We really need to push ourselves. We are pushing ourselves.

It’s still early days for you guys.
Theo: We’re babies!

You’ve got the right crowd at Dirty Hit.
Nathan: Everyone at Dirty Hit, we love. Everything is so genuine. And every time they find out about new acts… they’re so… we’re just so grateful. And I can’t remember the question.

Dirty Hit has a variety of acts but all share that naturalness…
James: Dirty Hit finds really good acts for that, just in terms of being… there’s no one on Dirty Hit that feels like a copy of someone else.
Theo: Round the 1975, people love that band and you see that happening, and they’ve got like no, man… no idea. It’s like, it’s so fucking real man, when it comes down to it. That’s why it’s so much fun, and I love it.

It’s why things take off, isn’t it, because people are like ‘that shit’s real’.
Theo: That shit’s real! Let’s just sit by the lake and talk about things being real. Yeah, absolutely. It has to come from the heart, that’s sort of our impulse. It has to be real.
Nathan: That’s what music is to us. That’s what we’re trying to show.

Are you looking forward to the music you’re going to release?
Theo: Yes! Yes!
Nathan: How do we put it? We uh -
Theo: Can’t say a word
James: That’s a bit extreme.
Nathan: What we can say - we are working on new music, we have a lot of ideas, we’ve been so grateful to rehearse constantly - I say this a lot, we’ve been rehearsing constantly for over a year now, about a year and a half every week. No complaints, you know, we love our jobs, we feel better at work and um, we’re working on new music. There will be new music released, but we’re going to get it right. We’ve put in so much effort and so much time that there’s no point us rushing it. To rush it would be wrong. You know, we want to give people the best thing, and the most natural thing, and we’re trying really hard just to kind of get what’s in our heads down and really get to people. It’d be such a waste to rush it.
James: It’s quite scary sometimes when you think about how long decisions you make - you know, if you’re recording a song in a studio for however many weeks, the decisions you make in those weeks are gonna be true to that song for the rest of that song’s lifetime, and the rest of the band’s lifetime, or however long we care about that song. I remember when we recorded the first single we did, ‘Tulip’ and ‘Speakerface’ - there were three songs in the running - and the third song, sometimes I just have nightmares about like, if we’d released that, that would have been… it’s just so important to make the right decisions. It’s quite easy to be impatient in music. Because a lot of things take a lot of time. A lot of times when we’re rehearsing we just want to get out and do some shows, record some songs, and you just have to say to yourself ‘it’s important to get it absolutely right’ and then you can live with it the rest of your life.
Nathan: Nailed down, yeah. We want it to come across the way that we mean it. Because it means so much to us, we have to just try to get that across.
Theo: And all that is especially relevant because our next release, our sights are set ridiculously high. Things are going good right now and if we manage to pull it off I’m really, really fucking excited. We’ve got very high ambitions for this, and we hope it goes well.

What you’ve got at the moment is incredible.
Theo: Thank you so much for saying. You get absolutely years and years of people going ‘dick’, so when someone says they like the music…
Nathan: Worse is when you get the people that are… it sounds horrible. When you first start doing something creative and you go ‘Mum listen to this’ -
Theo: Oh yeah and you get the nod!
Nathan: - and it’s the shittest thing in the world.
Theo: They’re like ‘yeah, that’s good’ - yeah you get the nod and the ‘yeah, that’s nice’.
Nathan: Kind of like they’re humouring you.
James: It’s almost better when you get the people that start telling you the things that were wrong with it, because that means at least there’s a level of interest there. Whereas if someone dismisses it as ‘oh yeah, that’s good’, that’s just being kind.
Theo: I actually think that a lot of our first releases that we did, which were very angry, came from stuff like that. We had so much of like ‘yeah, it’s alright.’ Or like ‘oh, are you in a band? Yeah, that’s cool’. So we played this song and just went ‘you can’t ignore this! Please. Fucking listen to it!’

‘It’s alright’ doesn’t really get you anywhere does it?
Nathan: Obviously we want to be the best we can be…
Theo: That’s almost a blessing, the criticism is definitely what tightens us as a band.
Nathan: This isn’t us asking everyone to tell us that we’re shit, but you know, honesty…
James: …is the best policy.
Nathan: We really need to push ourselves. We are pushing ourselves.

You can read our review of King Nun's Latitude 2017 set here.

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