To Kill A King

by
To Kill A King
Amy Garner chats to Grant McNeil and Ralph Pelleymounter of To Kill A King.

You only joined the band last September, replacing guitarist Ian Dudfield. What do you feel you’ve brought to the band and their original songs?
GM: Well for the stuff that’s already been released I’m doing my best to give an accurate representation of what’s on the records. However, I will say that perhaps my style of playing can come across a little more raw than the recorded sounds. I definitely feel that’s coming through on the new tracks.

If you hadn’t have joined TKAK last September, what would you be doing right now?
GM: Probably working as a web developer or doing some sort of coding – that was what I did at university. That, and writing music with people when I had the time.

Who do you think the most underrated guitar player is right now? Who’s your guitar-wielding idol?
GM:Aaron and Bryce Dessner from The National. They might not be playing anything too show-y or technically challenging, but they totally get what the music they’re making is about. They’re just two inspirational musicians; they’ve written audio-visual stage productions, produced albums, and started their own record label. And they’re only 37.

Does your guitar have a name?
GM: I have a green one that I used to call Daisy, but for some reason the names never seem to stick. Maybe the next one.

Most of the lyrics you write are incredibly depressing. Are any of them based on personal experience, or do you find it more interesting to write about darker issues? Do you need a hug?
RP: I would say if you are finding them incredibly depressing then maybe give them another listen or start listening to something else. It’s never been my intention to depress people; more just write music that does show that life can be hard, bad things do happen and there is a beauty in the strength people show in getting through them. I don’t really see it as finding darker issues being more interesting, as I don’t really see them as dark issues – they are everyday issues. There is a lot of music being made that I lyrically can’t relate to, and some that – when I do engage with it and try and work out what is actually being said – I would regard as having darker content than anything I’ve written. Blurred Lines’ blurred meaning springs to mind, while our song Funeral, for example, may be misinterpreted as being dark and is actually a celebratory song about enjoying life.

What’s next for TKAK after your European tour, and then touring the US with Bastille?
RP: We are writing the second album and then it’ll be time for festivals. It’s around this time of the year when it’s so cold that festivals seem the most inviting to me, so I’m excited at the prospect of playing a few more in Europe and America this summer.

Your ‘Ralph’s Balcony’ series of collaborations is amazing; you’ve have Dan from Bastille, We Were Evergreen, Maud In Cahoots and so many more amazing artists play with you in your flat. Who would your dream collaboration be with and why?
RP: I’d love to write something for someone with a unique voice and short first name; Tom Jones or Tom Waits or Tom Odell.

I really like the track Howling, from your Word Of Mouth EP. What is your favourite To Kill A King song?
GM: It changes for me, mainly on how it went last time we played. At the moment mine’s Family.
RP: I love playing Howling live.

Can you recommend any up-and-coming artists we should watch out for?
GM: Don’t know if they count as up-and-coming, but at the moment I’m pretty obsessed with Daughter’s album. It’s really well produced.
RP: Edith Violet has an amazing voice and Keston Cobblers are well worth a listen.

And finally – because even cool indie-folk kids have them – what is your guilty pleasure song?
GM: I’m partial to a bit of Toto, Africa and Rosanna in particular.
RP: Meatloaf.