25th February 2020

King Nun @ SOUND Basement | Interview and Review

Electric, powerful and just plain enjoyable, King Nun’s performance at the Liverpool Sound was one for the ages. Even when in middle of their ongoing UK tour, the group maintain a type of wild energy that’s hard to capture, their movements becoming almost animated from the opening notes of the first track ‘Golden Age’.

It’s a sight to see, and seems far from their friendly, yet reserved demeanour of bassist Nathan Gane, who I spoke to only a few hours earlier.

“Tour’s going really well, we’re having loads of fun,” he tells me.

“We’ve played a lot places that we played before, but also a lot of new places which has been it’s been really fun. When playing new places, you’ve got no idea what’ll be like, or if people are going to be there. But I think a lot people in really receptive to it as well.”

It’s a statement that seems to ring true. There’s a mix of ages in the crowd tonight, yet all seem instantly captured by the bands riotous performance, already screaming lyrics and dancing along to the tracks, as they prepare themselves for a night of stellar music.

Though playing equally challenging melodies and rhythms, the band manage to work as a collective throughout the night, equally all supporting each other throughout the prefaces.

Lead singer Theo Polyzoides’ already impressive vocals are made that more earth-shattering by the upbeat guitar riffs, and heavy beats in tracks such as ‘Bug’ and ‘Chinese Medicine’, much to the audience’s obvious delight. It’s a welcomed surprise to see a band where all members have equal spotlight, yet not unexpected considering the how early the group started.

“So, we all met at school, and we just kept doing it. When you’re 16/17, a lot of people look at what you’re doing, but they don’t take it seriously. To some degree that’s perfectly acceptable, but it’s also incredibly patronizing, especially when there’s so much pressure to get, ‘real jobs’ or go to university. Nothing wrong doing either those two things. It just wasn’t for us.” Nathan pauses. “This is what we wanted to do. And, you know, we just kept putting the hours in. Just tried to make everything a statement, make everything deliberate. You don’t know how it’s gonna go, and we still don’t know. But I think that’s just part of it. You just have to keep making sure there’s a message and a point as to what you’re doing.”

Video Credit: King Nun VEVO

It’s clear from the songs off their earlier EPs that the group have worked with meaning, the lyrics in ‘Picking Daisys’ and ‘Hung Around’, being simplistic, but deliberate, resonating with the crowd, even in the midst of chaos.

However, it’s only in the last few years that the group have reached new heights of indie-rock fame, signing to the 1975’s notorious record label ‘Dirty Hit’ in 2018, and subsequently releasing their debut album ‘Mass’ last year.

“They’ve been great, absolutely amazing.” Nathan smiles when asked about signing to the label. “It was our first record deal, and you kind of expect and hope for certain things, but you never really know what’s gonna happen. But those guys have given us a lot of support. We wouldn’t be here without them. As for the album, the reception has been really good. When we went in to make it, we had a very clear image of what we wanted to do. We wanted something that celebrates the way that music is received by people and it brings people together, that celebrates and accepts sort of weirdness. Basically, creating an album for the people that might feel isolated.”

He considers this for a moment. “Yeah, I feel like we’ve done that.” It only becomes clear later while deep into their set, just how much the group have created a welcoming space for fans. Despite the range of faces in the crowd, people seem united in their love for the band’s music. Softer songs in the set such as ‘Black Tree’ reveal just how many people are chanting the groups words by heart, looking almost in awe in the group. It’s surprisingly endearing, and stands as testament to the passion brought to the gig by the band and crowd alike.

As the night comes to an end, the band debut an acoustic new track ‘Little Heaven’. It’s a stripped-back, endearing song which like many of their tracks, seems to be influenced by a number of genres.

“It’s a bit of a weird one.” Nathan tells me when asked about what inspires the group “We’re definitely influenced by bands like Blur and The Pixies, but if we tried to write songs like those bands we would inevitably end up almost ripping them off. We try to make sure that we listen to a variety of music and write differently, because no one wants to hear music that’s just a reformat of something else. For us, it’s always going to feel new.”

The variety of influences certainly work to the groups advantage when performing live, as each song seems to bring something new to the performance, keeping the audience’s interest until the very end of the night, in which the band finish their set with the song ‘Tulip’. Rowdy, and almost chaotic, the crowd favourite reverts everyone back to the manic dancing seen before the softer songs, and seems to be the track in which the band really let loose, with frontman Theo even coming into the crowd at one point to celebrate with the masses. It’s a fitting end for such a stellar night, but this UK tour is just the beginning of the bands plans for 2020.

“We gonna release new stuff, fairly soon. We don’t like making everyone wait!” Nathan laughs. “But we wanna get it right. We’re going to Europe after this tour, and then America for five weeks. I’m not sure what’s happening after that, aside from releasing more music. That’ll always happen!”

You can listen to King Nun’s debut album ‘MASS’ here.