London based five-piece To Kill a King are back with their second, eponymous album released back on the 2nd of March. The return of the group was much awaited after their critically acclaimed début Cannibals with Cutlery in 2013. Front-man Ralph Pelleymounter took the time to chat with AMBY on the phone half way through their UK Tour ahead of their show in Bristol.
AMBY: So the albums finally out! How do you feel it’s been received?
To Kill A King: Yeah really well, although I think it’s been slightly split between those who expected us to do exactly what we did on the first album and those who have enjoyed moving into something else.
AMBY: Why did you decide to self-title the album?
To Kill A King: We’ve had a change in line up so we felt like a fresh start, we felt like we needed change.
AMBY: Obviously there are major differences between the two albums, how do you feel your sound has evolved?
To Kill A King: It’s got heavier, for sure. A lot of the songs started on electric guitars so that makes it heavier anyway. Also us playing to bigger crowds has caused us to change sound, when we first started we played the first album to small crowds in pubs and by the end of it I think our biggest show has been to about 8,000. It’s a big difference. The new album definitely sounds bigger.
AMBY: How did the album artwork come about?
To Kill A King: We found this old picture of Taffel’s dad playing chess, he used to hustle people with chess for money. So we decided to recreate the image with him now and put them side by side.
AMBY: Are the songs mostly written about personal experiences or do you prefer to write about things you’re less involved with?
To Kill A King: I think this ones the most personal album, the last one was definitely more stories really.
AMBY: So Huw Stephens made Love is not control his track of the week and you even recorded a session for radio 1! What’s it like hearing your songs on radio?
To Kill A King: Amazing, it’s been really good recently; we’ve been played quite a bit on radio 1 which we’ve never really done before. And again with our sound changing it’s made it more possible. Zane played it as well and Annie Mac on her first show which was really good.
AMBY: Previously you have supported Bastille, how do the support slots compare to your headline shows?
To Kill A King: It’s a really good thing to be a support band, you’re there to warm up the crowd, it can be really good and those gigs have been really good for us. It’s never going to compare to a headline show, also it goes so quick, half an hour seems like nothing when you are a support. But it’s quite nice in some ways, it’s a lot less hard work, you just show up, play and you’re off again. Headline shows are definitely the most enjoyable.
AMBY: Do you prefer the bigger shows or the more intimate ones?
To Kill A King: I think they are both interesting changes, we still do more living room shows and things like that. They both give different challenges, If you’ve been doing a string of big gigs then I think you get really confident with that but then if you’re asked to do a stripped back show in front of say 50 odd people that are just a couple of feet away from you it becomes really scary. But then again the reverse is true, if you’ve been doing a string of intimate ones and then you’ve got a few thousand people in front of you that can be scary too. I enjoy them both though, you can have a real laugh in smaller ones, you can actually talk to them compared to a bigger venue where it’s a bit impossible really, you’re limited to them shouting things that you can’t really hear.
AMBY: A few years back you started Annie Oakley Hanging with Dan Smith from Bastille, a sort of western side project which is apparently making a comeback. Can you tell us anything about it?
To Kill A King: I can’t tell you much other than its being talked about, very seriously.
AMBY: What have been the most significant parts of your musical journey up to this point in time?
To Kill A King: I think it’s always going to be our releases really; I feel that they play big parts or even chapters in our story.
AMBY: What’s next for To Kill A King?
To Kill A King: At the end of the week we will play shepherd bush which is our biggest ever headline show which is great and then we head off to Europe for the rest of the tour which we are all very excited about.
AMBY: On a final note, how would you sum up the album in 5 words?
To Kill A King: It is our second album.
Thank you To Kill A King, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Lauren Woodland | @HeyIts_Lauren