King Nun: “The world changed & we didn’t want to sing songs that were without purpose”
Although King Nun haven’t released music since 2019, their charismatic socials illustrate how artists can captivate an audience without releasing music: here, Theo Polyzoides explains how.
This feature was commissioned and submitted as part of DIY’s recent project with BIMM, in which we worked directly with students to offer them firsthand guidance and experience in music journalism. The students then completed an assignment exploring the college’s ‘Music Made Us’ mantra, in which they spoke to artists about how much music really means to them.
Theo is battling with two troublesome issues. The first being the sound of planes over his London home, and the constant battering of rain from a drainpipe outside. “Fuck off planes! You know those stickers you put up to catch flies? I need one for that fucking new runway, for the planes.”
Apparently, interviews are far easier when there’s only one member of the band. “We’re really excitable and quite hyperactive people, which we’ve discovered fairly recently on zoom calls with all of us.” Despite only a quarter of the band being present, the spirit of the band shines clearly through their vocalist.
King Nun has spent the past few months trying to stay productive. “I don’t want to figure out how to do something, I just want to do something.” The band’s last release was their debut album ‘Mass’ in 2019, a whirlwind of stressful guitar riffs and fearless vocals. Admittedly, the album was quite a cliffhanger for the band, but the pause in releases wasn’t intentional. “Last time we were on tour, the wave of Coronavirus was right behind us. We would leave a town, and it would get shut down. At the same time, we had these big ideas [for recording] that I was really happy with.” The songs Theo had written weren’t relevant to a world shook by lockdown. The group has been building their own recording studio over the past few months, to ensure that their creative output isn’t reliant on anyone else. “It was a lot of manual labour, and we’re well on track now. The world changed, and we didn’t want to sing songs that were without purpose.”
The band has made sure to use social media to their full advantage, through brilliantly crafted IGTV reels and dramatic imagery. The videos feature the band performing as though their life depends on it, paired with animated visuals and black and white footage. Their performance of ‘Mascara Runs’, the leading track on ‘Mass’, shows Theo jumping around so much that he barely has any breath left to sing. Although, it still seems endearingly effortless.
He sees social media as something that should be looked after, rather than an advertising platform. “There’s a lot of artistic merit to be had with it, it’s a new medium for creativity. Bands have music, you have album covers and music videos, and now you have social media.” The IGTV footage feels carefully planned and executed. “We just go really overkill with it. Title sequence, credits, weird, jangly, Monty Python animations.” The band want to use online platforms as an avenue for art, a key way to stay productive without new tracks.
Theo did study music at a GCSE level, but he wasn’t sure that it did anything for him. Although studying music again in college, he was interested in music way before then. “I was a huge fan of music, and I had a very emotional reaction to it. I was really into 80’s metal, but my mum liked indie rock. I think all of that indie rock had a pretty profound effect on me as well. I’ve ending up emulating a lot of that genre, mixed with the metal that I was into. Anything that could have been seen as a rebellious band, I was into.”
February marked the band’s 8th anniversary together, and although they have performed many shows together, Theo shrugs that he doesn’t often go to live concerts. “When I was younger, I wanted to play gigs and I was jealous of the bands who were playing. If the bands played songs that I thought were better than my own, it annoyed me. Later on, I stopped being that petty.” He continues that he’s used to being the guy performing at shows, so it can be difficult to work out what to do in an audience situation. “I’m usually that dude standing at the back by the bar, with my arms crossed. I love watching music, but I don’t know how to get involved.”
To conclude, Theo added that there will be a “significant release” from the band this year, which is promising. He has also advised, at live shows, to “pretend to know how to dance, until you know you can”.
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