Having recently signed to Xtra Mile Recordings, things are looking up for To Kill a King. After 4 years of hard graft, the Leeds folk-rock quintet now regularly draws comparisons with the likes of Mumford & Sons, The National and Frightened Rabbit. They venture into the realms arena rock but they retain their folk sensibilities throughout. Currently on a European tour, they found time to chat to us ahead of a highly anticipated appearance on the Festival Republic Stage at Reading and Leeds (where they met at university).
Tell us about the history of ‘To Kill a King’.
We are a London based band, we put our first record out with communion and have just signed to Xtra Mile Recordings.
Your name (taken from ‘Hamlet’) and the name of your album seem to have been chosen for the way it sounds rather than any deeper meaning. Do you think there is often too much emphasis placed on trying to find the importance of things rather than the way they sound or look?
I think it is very difficult to pick a band name for any ‘deep meaning.’ I more see it as an ill-fitting jacket bought out of necessity, a jacket that hopefully we’ll grow into one day. Album-wise though, I would object to saying it had no meaning. It’s taken from a track of the same name and for me was one of the most heartfelt of the album. The full line is ‘a cannibal with cutlery is a cannibal still.’ Although I am glad you think it sounds pleasant. In answer to your question though I think I’ve always loved the sound of words, it amazes me the beauty of certain words strung together but this is always best when combined with some meaning.
The British folk scene is often complimented for its intimacy and togetherness, with connections at every glance. But can this be a hindrance when searching for individuality?
I don’t really see the connection and friendship that comes from a scene as stripping away the individual’s identity. When I think of the bands we hang around with, like Bastille, Keston Cobblers Club, We Were Ever Green, Benin City and Spring Offensive, I see them all as sounding very different.
You held a competition to see which one of your fans could spread the news of your ‘Word of Mouth’ EP in the most creative way – what was the winning idea?
One man hacked into the train and changed the displays in the carriage so it said ‘wordofmouthep’ all day.
When you’re on tour, which one of the band makes the decisions?
Our tour manager.
You’re appearing at Reading & Leeds this year alongside some brilliant bands. Who are you most excited to be playing alongside?
Well playing ‘alongside’ maybe a bit of a stretch but play far below I’d say Green Day. Big fan of them from when I was a child.
Why can people look forward to when they come to see To Kill a King at the festival?
Loud, then quiet, and then loud.
What does the future hold for To Kill a King?
Re-release of our album through Xtra Mile Recordings, which we are very excited about. Also, we are working on our next album as we speak.