Music Q&A: The Marcus King Band

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Raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Marcus King is the son of a bluesman. Still just 20 years old, he is releasing his second LP this week. He plays the Deaf Institute, Manchester, 27 Oct.

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
I’ve never identified with any specific genre. All of us have studied and incorparate various types of music, ranging from southern rock to blues, bebop, fusion, gospel and soul.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
The past two years have been the most formative for us. The fall of 2014 was the first show we played with our current line-up, with the exception of our saxophonist Dean Mitchell, who joined in the fall of 2015. We’ve all really grown to know each other very well, like brothers. The chemistry was there already. It’s just been reinforced by many hours of rehearsal and hours spent bonding on the road. As I’ve grown as a writer I’ve become more aware of the fact that music is a release of emotion – it’s my therapy. The more I experience the more I have to write about. I try to find inspiration in anything that surrounds us.

Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one?
Simultaneous Groove.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
Currently we’re touring heavily, practising as much as we can, gaining inspiration from all the places we see, always trying to find a new muse – something to inspire the words I need to say.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
We try to allow our show be an emotional release not only for us but for everyone in the audience as well. I don’t like space between songs. I like the show to be just as a freight train and after the show we can all take a deep breath together and feel like we’ve let go of some negative energy. I try to allow our shows to become a spiritual journey. Bringing together the musicians we have we’ve unintentionally combined multiple styles of music, which makes for an eclectic experience for the listener.

What’s on your rider?
Sweet tea (if we’re below the Mason-Dixon Line), hummus/veggies, coffee, tea, fresh juice and ginger ale. We used to have socks on the rider until we were berated by a festival promoter, ha-ha. They were listed as an inside joke and made their way to the official rider somehow. Lesson learned.

Tell us about your worst live show.
I would never name any names, but there was a particular situation where we had to pay five bucks each to get in the door. Granted, there have been a lot of bad ones but that’s the first that comes to mind.

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