Interview The King Blues: ‘We’ve Found Our Hunger Again’

Itch and Jamie talk festivals, line up changes and last month’s riots.

When we spoke to Itch and Jamie they were giddy with excitement for The King Blues’ slot later that day on the Lock Up Stage at Reading Festival. They also spoke about line up changes, future plans, and on video are Itch’s musings on the recent rioting in London.

How are you guys feeling today?
Itch: Good, man. Excited. Real excited. Reading is probably our favourite festival of the summer.
Jamie: It’s the festival we grew up going to, when we were punters, and it’s a festival we always find ourselves coming back to all the time, when we’re not playing it. So I guess it’s kinda home for us.
I: Yeah, and today, we’re playing on the stage that we played the first time we ever played here, so it’s a special one for us.

How will it be different from last year’s appearance on the Main Stage?
I: I think they’ve both got their own things that are cool about them. Playing the Main Stage, it’s awesome to be able to play to loads of people who perhaps haven’t seen you, or have heard of you, but haven’t heard you. But I guess when we come back to the Lock Up Stage, it’s like, this is where we belong, and these are our people, do you know what I mean?
J: For us, it was the first time that anyone really gave us a break to play a festival like this, a major UK festival. It was Mike Davies on the Lock Up Stage, and we opened his stage six or seven years ago, and since then we’ve made our way up the bill, then we were second on, then we were third or fourth on, then they asked us to come and do the Main Stage, and it really does feel like coming home, and being second from the top is quite an honour, really.

You released your third album earlier this year. How has the reaction been so far?
I: Really good, actually, better than we thought. Once you do an album, and you sign it off, I guess you put it out in to the world, and it’s almost not yours any more. It’s for people to take however they want to take it. It was definitely pleasant that people liked it.
J: In the time between ‘Save The World’ and ‘Punk and Poetry’, a lot of things happened for us, a lot of things changed for us, both in the band and in our personal lives. So it was important for us that we made the right record, and a record that we were 100% happy with. I really feel personally, and I think for the majority of the band, we created that record. As Itch said, once it’s released, it kind of doesn’t belong to you any more, it belongs to the people that want to listen to it. So far what we’ve heard back has been positive and great, and that’s a really cool thing.

There have been a few line up changes in the past eighteen months or so, are things nice and settled now?
I: Yeah, it feels like we’ve refocused as a band, found our hunger again. It’s not that it’s gone back to normal, it’s that it’s turned in to something that’s better than ever. It’s a good time right now.

Was there anything in particular you wanted to say with the album?
I: Absolutely. With every album we do, there’s a different message. With our first record, ‘Under The Fog’, the thinking behind it was that if we as a movement could mobilise enough people, we could stop a war. When we weren’t listened to, I think we went back to the table a little more cynical. ‘Save The World, Get The Girl’ was a result of that. And with ‘Punk and Poetry’ it was more about not sitting around, begging the Government to look after us, because they’re not going to. And about really taking what we have and building up ourselves, empowering ourselves by building our own lives up. That was the thinking behind ‘Punk and Poetry’, initially it was an album that was a lot deeper, more of a philosophical record. And then, when the Tory Government came in, it became very apparent to us that we needed to put out a different record. At that point we changed the record, we scrapped what we had and definitely focused on it being a more angry, political record.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
J: The rest of our year? We’re wrapping up festival season over the next couple of weeks, and a few cool shows, club shows across the UK and in Europe. In October we go to Germany, and we’re out there for a month supporting a band called the Broilers, come home after that for a UK tour starting at the Roundhouse at the start of November, after that we’ll be out for November, record the next album hopefully in December, have Christmas, and come January, do it all over again!

As a band who does have strong political views, is it OK if we ask how you feel about the recent London riots?

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