King Nun: “We wake up and half of Pale Waves are in our beds”
The Brudenell Social Club in the middle of the day, with its aged day-drinkers gathering dust in the corner and Magic FM playing overhead, doesn’t quite have the same iconic feel to it as it does at night, when exciting up-and-coming bands such as King Nun are lurching across the stage. Yet, when the four London lads bounce into the bar area, their wave of energy blows the cobwebs off the slot machines. We all huddle around a tiny table to chat about how they met, how they got signed by Dirty Hit and how they feel now everything’s popping off for them.
Vocalist/guitarist Theo tells me how they met: “Just in school, just regular stuff really. I wish there was a big expanse to the story behind it but there really isn’t! Me and James were at school and found Nathan, and then our previous bassist Jackyl – I feel like I should mention his name because he’s always telling me to – he introduced us to Caius and we just came together and decided we should do band”.
These humble beginnings are in stark contrast to where they are now and the promising future that is ahead of King Nun. They’re the most recent signees of legendary record label Dirty Hit, home of Wolf Alice, The 1975, The Japanese House and, Dirty Hit tour headliners, Superfood. “We got together [with Dirty Hit] through a music video for a song called ‘Tulip’, and then somehow someone there found it – I guess our manager was slinging it around – and they invited us for a meeting and we didn’t fuck it up too bad”
Last November King Nun supported Circa Waves at Omeara and, just a couple weeks ago, supported The Orwells at Scala. Playing these iconic London venues to sold-out crowds is definitely where King Nun belong, and it won’t be long until their playing their own headline shows there. “We’ve being playing in the shittiest places imaginable for so long, and when you get to a place like that and you’re supposed to be there it feels…” Theo is lost for words yet the spark in his eyes express just how buzzed he feels. Bassist Nathan takes over, “Scala was huge! We had so much fun just being able to throw ourselves about. It’s been great and we just feel really lucky to be doing what we’re doing”.
Their most recent single ‘Hung Around’ shows just how much King Nun have to offer. With its gutsy instrumentation and prowling vocals, it exudes the energy of the London foursome. “The song is very choked and it’s very much like a struggle to get out, and performing it feels like an uphill battle almost”. The video, which is reminiscent of a B-List alien movie and was produced by Youth Hymns, reflects this: “We told [Youth Hymns] that we wanted it to involve restraints of some kind and they were like ‘oh well we’ve had this idea where we wrap the band up in tentacles and hang one of you up by the ceiling’ and we were just like ‘fantastic!’”
We joke about whipping the tentacles out on stage. The boys are full of thanks for Youth Hymns, “they are geniuses, and outstanding people, they’re absolute babes”.
Now the slime from that video is all washed off, King Nun are now on their first UK tour supporting Superfood with Pale Waves. “Our first sort of professional gig was with Superfood as well. They played a venue in Kingston called McKlusky’s near where we’re from, and we were playing terrible songs and we didn’t really know what was going on… but Superfood were really nice then and they’re really nice now… We’ve been fans of Superfood for a very long time so they set the bar really high. They’re a bloody fantastic band, they’ve got the most sensational choruses”
So far on tour, the Dirty Hit bunch have already played Oxford, Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow. “It’s going really good! The first shows were just us sort of settling and getting into the groove of it. It’s quite weird for us to play a gig and then have another gig the next day.” “It was actually really surprising to get hit with the work ethic of being on a tour, because with a stand-alone gig it evolves into some kind of party at the end but on tour you finish a gig and you’re just like ‘you know what, let’s head back to the hotel and get tucked in.’ It feels like work- like really decent, really enjoyable work.” The [slumber] party never stops on tour. “We did a gig and it went right well, so we started drinking and then later we wake up and half of Pale Waves are in our beds” laughs Theo and Nathan; “Hugo and Charlie came back a bit late, and they somehow got locked out of their hotel room so there was the six of us in three beds”.
When I ask if they have any plans for an EP or album soon, the lads have their heads screwed on. “We’re still very much becoming. You want an album that expresses something piece by piece and is like a work, so I feel when we’ve done some releases that have some more songs on them we can start working on some longer formats and then we can have an album that stands on its own. We don’t want it to be just a playlist of our best songs”. It’s relieving to hear that Dirty Hit aren’t pressuring them to produce a premature album as so many other record labels do to bands [cough Blossoms and Sundara Karma cough]. “There is life after the single but not just yet”.
Still, the future of quality LPs and sold-out headline shows seems inevitable for King Nun. The way they throw themselves about the stage whilst churning out killer riffs and flawless vocals is truly special, and they’re definitely ones to keep your eyes on.
Interview by Meg Firth