Reading & Leeds 2017: King Nun: "It feels like something is happening"
There's a rumbling in the indie undergrowth. A new band of heroes approach. King Nun are here to take control.
Published: 7:30 am, August 25, 2017
There’s a man running at us,” smiles James with a cheery mix of excitement and bemusement. He and the rest of King Nun - Nath, Kyus and Theo - are sat outside a university campus ahead of their Live At Leeds set in an hour. And boy, are they happy to be here. “We’re really excited for some reason,” says Theo, before commenting that “the sunshine comes from the people in the north.” The man interrupts by letting the band know he really likes their music, and he’s off. King Nun practically swoon. “What a cool guy,” nods James. “I’ve never had the confidence to do that. Not ever.”
A band for four years, King Nun have spent most of that time in tiny, smelly rehearsal units scheming. This year has seen them take to the spotlight though. If you’ve seen them live, you know exactly why they’re excited.
“Performing on a stage where we’re welcome, it means we can branch out,” smiles Nath. “And that’s exciting. Being able to relate to an audience for the first time is very exciting. We started doing this to express ourselves into an audience so it’s ridiculous that someone can buy our shit and listen to it. That is a great gift and a complete joy that our music can be listened to.”
“And have people take you seriously,” adds James. “It’s really nice to be able to work.”
The band are currently sat on “too many” songs. “We’re not going to give you a figure, but it’s a lot. It took us a while to release ‘Tulip’, and that’s a really early song, but we want to be proud of what we’re doing. We don’t want to take too long and kill the energy of the moment. We want to capture the energy and get it right. We’ve waited too long to rush anything. It wouldn’t make sense. If you’ve waited three and a bit years for your first release, to cock it up from there isn’t great. We need to be as hungry as we were when we did ‘Tulip’. We have to see if we can get a unifying bond with the songs before we bring them out.”
“When we were putting out ‘Tulip’ and ‘Speakerface’, it was a choice of three songs that we were going to record and the third song - every time I think about it, I get this intense cringe,” explains James. “‘Headrush’ just makes me curl up into a little paper ball. Every time I get impatient about releasing something, I think back to that and think, yeah, it’s worth putting in the effort to get it right.”
King Nun have only released a handful of songs but “they’ve become proper zeitgeists. They feel like the moment they were written in, and I think that spills out when people that don’t even know us listen to it, so we’ve got to be careful that that’s always present.”
“It’s when you grow up, you discover music, and it feels like an entire new world,” offers Theo. “It becomes this spine that you walk around with. It becomes a purpose and a passion, and we want to create the sort of music that will just relate to people and give them that same inspiration that we had.”
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Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett / Dork[/caption]
“To translate that new world that you feel when you find a band that you like, to inspire as strongly and as passionately as possible, that’s what we’re gunning for,” offers James.
With only a few songs, King Nun have already spread their sound around. From ‘Sponge’, all melodic romps and nineties swagger to the grimy march of ‘Hung Around’, the band aren’t retracing any steps. “That was very much on purpose,” explains Theo “We’re much broader than our singles represent currently, but that will change. We’ve got stuff coming out that will fill in those gaps. I know we’re going to want to keep branching. We’ve done it so much already, within the time we had. There is something that guides it all together, which is us and how we write and how we perform, that’s the guiding form, that’s going to stay with us, but there’s another thing. I know it’s going to shift and change.”
“We don’t want to release ten different versions of the same song. We want to show the spectrum,” adds Nath. “There’s going to be heavier stuff; there’s going to be softer stuff, we’re not just one thing.” That said, the band aren’t going to be different, just to be different. There’s a very real connection between art and artist. Their personality bleeds into everything the release and everything they say. “It would be wrong for us to be doing the same thing repetitively. It’s not what we’re about.”
“The intention will always be the same, but the song may change,” muses Theo before standing up in triumph. “Did you hear that quote I just said? I’m well chuffed with that,” he exclaims, practically dancing about as the others give him one of those looks.
“There’s a release idea that we’ve got coming together and I’m really excited for it,” he continues. “We all have a lot of passion for it. It’s going to be something very true and very special, so I would say stay with us people. Do not just adjust your television set. If you’re reading this, don’t leave. We’ve got good shit.”
From touring with labelmates Superfood and Pale Waves to making a connection that can be felt at festivals across the country and on the streets outside, King Nun are demanding a reaction. “It’s nice to be, I don’t want to say be a part of something because that feels wanky and pretentious, but it’s good to meet people and speak to them about what you’re into,” offers Nath, before James reasons: “It feels like something is happening.”
Taken from the August/September Dork Festival Guide – order your copy below. Reading & Leeds takes place from 25th-27th August.