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Interview: To Kill A King

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Just before they took to the Great Hall to support Bastille, Amy Endacott took a quick five to catch up with To Kill A King frontman Ralph Pelleymounter. 

Hello Ralph, and welcome to very wet and miserable Wales! Have you been to the country before? 
We’ve been here a few times and we really like it. Everyone is very welcoming and we’ve just been round to a friend’s house for a Sunday roast so we’re happy!

If you could describe your sound in three words what would it be? And what influences do you draw on?
It would be ‘loud quiet loud’. I think we’re interesting as a band because if you imagine a venn diagram that’s the way our influences take shape. We all have things we like, yet at the same time we all have our dislikes, and there are quite a lot of them. Personally, my strongest influences are the sixties. I also listen to what’s current now but what I enjoy the most are storytellers. Bands like Dirty Projectors, John Grant and The Eels have to be lifelong favourites.

How was your summer? You played smaller festivals right up to Bestival in early September, which ones did you enjoy the most?
All of them were pretty fantastic. We had smaller ones where we were headlining, which were amazing as we were the draw for people to come, that was quite a flattering thing. Then there was Bestival, where we managed to be up against Elton John and people actually came to see us instead which was pretty cool. I’d say the highlight for me has to be Reading and Leeds, we had a crowd of about 3,000 which was pretty insane. I think this summer has been great in terms of setting us up for the future, last year we just had a great time going to festivals whereas this year it feels like people are coming to actually see us specifically, which is a great feeling.

Can you tell me about your ‘Rays’ video? So much happens in the video. What was the thinking behind it, where did it come from?
Myself and a guy called Jack King wrote the script for it, he’s a great friend of mine and a great director.  He had the initial idea of a vampire, which was inspired by the track lyrics of washing away mistakes.  Then we decided to create a less traditional vampire, borrowed a lot from films like ‘The Lost Boys’. But it’s more that he’s a reclusive vampire trying to do good, and it all goes horribly wrong when he meet this girl. He’d been in his flat since the end of the eighties playing Nintendo etc.

And great eighties hair!
That’s his actual hair believe it or not, we saw him and were like yes, he’s our guy.  He’s training to be a dancer and will be great, I’m sure of it.

You’re about to start your October headline tour playing some great venues like Thekla and Koko. What’s the best venue you’ve ever played and the worst?
Sadly there are too many worst ones (laughs).

I read about a very sweaty one in Sweden?
Oh god yeah, but sweaty isn’t too bad. I quite like them as everyone’s there together and we know our fans are getting into it.  We’ve played some terrible ones. We’ve been booked for stuff that we were told was a festival when actually it was more like a fête. We played Scala recently and we sold it out so that was probably the best. It was amazing, but also supporting Bastille at Shepherd’s Bush was incredible.

The roots of the band were first formed at uni. What advice do you have for anyone who might want to make music their career?
Quit uni (laughs). Just grab every opportunity you can and don’t stop writing. Sometimes it’s easy to get content with the material you’ve got but you’ve got to keep pushing forward as the next song might be the one.

So after this October’s tour, what is next for you guys?
After that we go on tour with Bastille again in Europe, then we finish up in Romania. Throughout January and February we do our European tour. I’d love to go to the States next year, I feel it’s about time for us to go there so we’ll see.

Check out the review of Bastille’s return to Cardiff in the magazine, available here.

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