We were blessed with the opportunity to meet King No-One at Studio 2 before their Liverpool show on 14th April.
What made you pursue a career in music?
Zach: I guess it wasn’t something that wasn’t a conscious path, it was just that one thing led onto another. It’s been since early stages of development that music has been driving us all, it was always a driven path really.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Zach: Probably tonight’s gig being really hungover, haha. I thinking breaking in, because what seems to happen is you get a fan base going and then it just burns up. It just seems to double and double every time, like every few months it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. But what was really difficult, was to get that initial interest with people and get it started. And also finding ourselves as musicians. The reason we never had a big fan-base at the start or die-hard fans is because we were still discovering ourselves, so it took us a while to find our tune; because we started at a really young age. The hardest thing was joining that together and then the fan-base followed once we had joined all the dots.
Being a fairly new on the scene band, what would you recommend for other upcoming bands?
James: As Zach said, we didn’t realise how fast it was going to grow. We just liked playing. And when we got the opportunity at an early stage, we took it. But also we worked really hard, we go out and make sure we’re performing to people and spreading our music around so, I’d say that. Go and take the opportunities and spread your music.
Alex: Yeah, I’d say following on from Zach’s point that, it is really hard to get into this stage but when you eventually get there, it is so worth it, all the hard work. However old you are though, you always want more haha.
Zach: I reckon one day, we’ll be selling out arenas and still want more, haha.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Zach: Absolutely, Wiley.
Joe: We played Club NME at KOKO and he was on before us, so we got to go in and see him and it just blew our minds how good the gig was. Ever since then, we’ve had a proper Wiley crush.
You guys have quite an individual style, where do you shop and get your inspiration from?
Zach: Charity shop always, for me yeah. I find it really difficult to find my stage outfits and I always have done because as you have probably noticed, they’re quite out there; quite big and extravagant. I can’t do vintage shops anymore, because there isn’t anything ‘wow’ enough in there. So what I usually do is almost always buy from fancy dress shops now. And then you find a piece you can take on stage, because in a fancy dress shop, it might look ridiculous but when you take it out of context and use it as your stage outfit, it really has more of that ‘wow’ factor to it.
Who is the most annoying on tour?
Alex: We’ve all got different ways of being annoying.
James: Alex can very much be the wind-up. If you’re having a bit of a quiet day, y’know you just wanna chill, he’ll make sure you’re wound up to the very max. So, that’s his bad trait.
Joe: You’re super on-time, always a worrier and worrying about everything. He just likes to be too on time. Like I’m trying to enjoy myself but he’s always nagging, haha. He’s like the mum of the band.
Alex: Joe’s got this thing where he just sometimes will just zone out from the world and won’t hear anything. So, you’ll ask him a question and he won’t listen. Zach repeatedly shouts, ‘Joe’ in the background] But what about Zach? Where do you we start, haha?
Zach: My biggest crime that these guys hate me for is whenever I’m hungover, I tend to be really ecstatic and excitable the next day, so I kind of wake up and just make horrible noises all day. After Glasgow, we’d had a really big night out, in the morning, we stopped at the petrol station and there was a really quiet atmosphere and I pulled my acoustic guitar out the van and I started chasing Alex around the petrol station with it and he hated it. Absolutely hated it.
Alex: That was so embarrassing.
Zach: I think when I’m hungover, I don’t have that subconscious telling me not to do things because they’re stupid, haha.
You’re pretty widely loved by the ladies, so would you ever think about dating a fan?
Alex: Yeah, I don’t think so.
Zach: Yeah, it is tough, it’s all circumstantial, but I would say no. But if you are to meet someone and it clicks and clicks then y’know. Because essentially we are still all human. There’s a segregation because of the job and how they see us but once you break that barrier, you essentially become human against human again. So, if a barrier was broken, then yeah. But it’s hard to do that when you’re constantly moving about, because you would have to stumble across that same person multiple times, but not in the circumstances of them coming to the front and seeing us at every gig and us signing autographs for them.
You’ve just been announced to play Reading and Leeds Festival 2017 on the BBC Radio 1/NME Stage. What does that feel like?
James: Unbelievable. Not only did we go there a few years before we played, but then we played the BBC Introducing Stage, which at the time was really, really special. We’ve been to Leeds but we’ve never been to Reading and then when we did them both, it was just unbelievable. To be going back and not only jumping one stage up, like the Festival Republic Stage, but going all the way to the NME stage is going to be our biggest show to date.
Joe: Yeah, I just have to echo his words. It’s just absolutely phenomenal.
Zach: What I think is most important is that it’s the perfect opportunity. Now is the time to show a much larger audience what the ethos is about. We are a lot different to a lot of bands because it’s not just the music, there’s actually a message there and there’s a drive and there’s almost like a communal thing, that we bring people into our story. I think we can get up on the stage and we can be slightly controversial but on the NME stage, we’re just going to tell our hearts and hopefully people can latch onto something and that’s going to create a much better appreciation for everything, across the country.
In the last few weeks, you have been playing sold out shows to hundreds and thousands of people. How is it having people really there for you and knowing all the words to your songs?
Alex: It’s quite bizarre isn’t it.
James: You have a moment every now and then where you have to pinch yourself and it’s kind of like, ‘As if this is actually happening!’, it’s awesome but at the same time, as Zach said earlier on, we’re hungry, we just always want more. We always want more fans, we always want bigger stages. It’s pretty surreal.
Do any of you still get stage fright or still get nervous?
Alex: Yeah, I do still get nervous, depending on the show. Usually the smaller shows are the ones I get the most nervous about. Always the hometown shows too in York, it’s always a nervous one for me.
Joe: Not really, not anymore. I’m always trying to look for ways to make us a bit nervous. Our manager is always trying to scare us by saying who might be in the audience tonight and who he’s got down on the guest list because he always says we work well under pressure.
James: It’s changed from nerves to adrenaline because nerves are when I was scared something could go wrong. But now I don’t have that worry that something will go wrong, I just know we’re going to go out and smash it! It’s just adrenaline and excitement now more than anything else.
Are there any upcoming projects or surprises that we should be keeping our eye out for?
Zach: Well, we’ve got festival season coming up and we’re going to put our all into that. It’ll definitely be worth catching us at a festival. Festivals are different to live concerts as everyone knows, so we have to up our game for that and we will do. But then possibly at the end of the summer, come September, something might be happening. We aren’t allowed to say, we need to keep it under wraps but we are very busy over this next year, it’s the busiest we’ve ever been this year.