Music Q&A:
To Kill A King

Ben Jackson (keys, vocals) from the folk five piece chats ahead of the release of new album The Spiritual Dark Age this month. They play Manchester Academy, 13 January

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Our singer Ralph writes the lyrics to the songs. He covers a pretty massive range of topics. A lot of the songs on the new album feature religion in some way. None of us are particularly religious ourselves but it’s a fascinating topic and there’s so much iconography and symbolism to draw on that it’s made for a lot of scope in the new songs. There’s a song about two gods who are arguing and there’s a song about the spiritual dark age. It’s called Spiritual Dark Age. So is the album.

How have you evolved as an act over the years?
I guess there are things that have stayed the same – dynamic songs, quite a lot of backing vocals, poetic lyrics. But in general we’ve gotten a bit rawer and grittier for this album. Strangely our first album was probably our most orchestral and grand-sounding record. This one does have a few string sections and tender moments but on the whole it’s rockier and heavier than anything we’ve put out before.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We are in rehearsal mode at the moment. We’ve got a January UK tour and we’ll be touring Europe soon, I’m sure, so we’ve been relearning these new songs. Personally though, I also work as a producer. I’ve been working with bands like Childcare, Indigo Husk and Michael Jablonka in the studio. It keeps me busy.

What’s on your rider?
Oh, you know, food and drink. Also, for the last tour we asked for a surprise and took it in turns to get it. I think the best one was someone bought a Rick Astley single. Like we got rickrolled on our rider.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
There was a time that it turned out that my new flatmate knew our ex-tour manager. Turns out they had been on a couple of dates but then he started acting well creepy and and sent her an unsolicited dick pic. I got her to forward the dick pic to me and then I sent it back to him with the caption “recognise this?” Then a couple of weeks later after an after-show party he ended up chatting to a girl and got her number and then started texting her really inappropriate messages. Turns out the girl was a friend of Ralph’s. She forwarded the messages to me and I sent them back to him with the same caption. That was pretty embarrassing for him. It was also the last time we worked together.

What song do you wish you’d written?
My Way’s a good song, isn’t it? The triumphant dying words of an old man is a pretty ambitious topic to approach but I think somehow they pulled it off.

What’s your worst lyric?
Not exactly sure what you mean by this so I’ll tell a really cringey story that comes to mind. One time our old bassist Josh was ranting to the band about another band he’d just seen play. This was quite common for Josh. He said “their lyrics were sooo shit. They were the sort of band that rhymed ‘flowers’ with ‘hours.'” It was an odd rant. And it took about five seconds before we all realised that one of our most popular songs “Choices” has a repeated lyric: “He’s on your doorstep, laden with flowers, this garden is freezing, teasing, he’s leaving you for hours.” Ralph had to be like: “Er, thanks Josh.” We sat in silence for a while. It was a tense moment. I should add that Josh left the band, on amicable terms. It wasn’t anything to do with this incident.

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Interact: Responses to Music Q&A: To Kill A King

  • To Kill A King: um tempo musical luminoso a caminho de uma ‘Spiritual Dark Age’ - Espalha-Factos
    11 Jan 2018 21:52
    […] Ben Jackson, numa entrevista ao site Big Issue North, o novo álbum vai ter um estilo um bocado diferente. “Este tem algumas seções de cordas e […]

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