To Kill a King is an up-and-coming London-based folk band with some absolutely dreamy guys. We talked with Jon (drummer, second from the right in the image below) about their music, inspiration and favourite spots in London.
How and when did you guys all meet & become a band?
Ralph, Ian and Josh were playing in an up-tempo folk band whilst at Leeds University a couple of years back. They then moved to London but a couple of members left, so Ben and I (Jon) were drafted in to plug in the gaps. The style and instrumentation changed (we got an electric guitar and synth and acquired a slightly darker, bigger sound) and To Kill a King was formed.
Where was your first live gig? Who did you play with and what was the audience like?
Our first gig with this line up was at a tiny festival in Buckinghamshire. We played to about 30 people then proceeded to work our way through the rider with our friends Sophie and Dan (Smith, from Bastille). By the end of the night, we had taken rather forceful control of the bonfire and I woke the next day covered in soot and with slightly melted shoes. I think we did a good job; apparently they had to call the fire brigade because the fire had got out of control and set alight to an adjacent tree.
What are your favourite venues to play in London, and also where do you best like to see live music?
Our biggest ever gigs have been at Koko and the Scala, and we loved playing there. However our favourite smaller venue is probably Notting Hill Arts Club, which has become kind of a spiritual home. In fact we are playing there every Tuesday in January. We see live music all over London but a particular favourite is the Hootanany in Brixton because it’s always eclectic and of high quality.
We know you guys tend to hang out after shows, so what are your favourite places to go?
We usually go to the bar of whatever venue we’re playing at, due to laziness! However, we’ve had a few after parties at the bar in our rehearsal studios in Old Street. There’s very much an anything goes attitude there, and it stays open as long as you want, which suits us well.
Do you guys go anywhere in particular in London for musical inspiration? If so, where is it?
Again, the Hootenany is good to get inspiration. Also, there’s a good view from the roof of our studio, where we go to take breaks.
When you’re not focusing on music, where in London do you guys like to hang out?
There’s a great little family run pub near our studio called the Old Fountain with an excellent selection of beers and good lunch food. We live all over London so have our own particular favourites; Effra in Brixton or The Elgin on Ladbroke Grove, for example. Some of us play football in Regents Park every Sunday, and personally I love Holland Park, it’s got a great mixture of wild and structured parts.
Do you have any shows coming up? Where are you playing and who are you playing with?
Yes! Other than every Tuesday in January at the Notting Hill Arts Club, we are putting on our own night there on Sunday 11th December. We have chosen the bands, and our friends Professor Penguin, Holly Walker, Hella Betta Dancer and Polaroid 85 will be joining us. It should be a great night. Other than that (or if that’s already passed!) we are playing a headline show for ‘Q Now: The Sessions’ at XoYo on 25th January with Jodie Marie and Jamie N Commons. There’s also a gig in early February (dates to be announced) at the Borderline for HMV Presents, and we are organising a UK tour in late February to accompany the next single launch.
Is there anything about you guys you really want us to know?
We are releasing a free download of a track ‘Hospital’, which should be out just before Christmas. Think of it as a free festive gift for yourself and your loved ones.