As divalicious and costume-infatuated as Lady Gaga, yet as introspective and poetic as his idol Bob Dylan, the British Glam folk-ist King Charles
has captivated an ever-growing audience with an electric-infused acoustica and the whimsies brought with it. Hes toured with Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale, and has just completed a tour with Mumford & Sons, all without releasing one proper album. But that hasn't thwarted his ability to accumulate fans. In fact, (he believes) it may have even contributed to it. An artist's music has to be pretty damn infectious to get him playing sold out tours and have fans begging for studio cuts. Charles teeters between self-deprecation and feigned vanity, the former supposedly stemmed from the latter, but it's obvious once we dig past his matted layers of hair (a formidable task in and of itself) there is an exquisite mind at work. It is one as self-questioning as any other, yet it copes with uncertainty in an unusual way. There is an intentional idealism in what he creates, mostly dealings with every facet of love. Each note is stuffed with long, strung out phrases and infused with as-many-words-as-any-human-could-possibly-fit, but it just adds a passion more vulnerable than egotistical (though Charles disagrees). Upon first listen, it is explicit that King Charles will be something big. Not because he insists on wearing absurdly bright leggings and growing a mop-head of hair, but because, in a video of him playing his acoustic guitar outside, a bee offers a percussive, buzzing finale during his fadeout and a bird soars overhead, both suspiciously well timed. What keeps people listening is his inquisitive mind and credulous heart. We recently spoke with King Charles to understand how he came to be the majestic KC and where we should expect to see him. Here's what he had to say:
How would you describe your music?
When did you first start playing and writing music and what sparked that interest?
I played the cello at first, at school I learnt guitar so I could be like Bob Dylan, I then started writing songs because that's what I thought Bob Dylan would do.
So who else would you cite as your major musical influences?
Most of my musical roots came from what I played in orchestras and what my mother taught me; that was a foundation. What later inspired me enormously about Dylan was how he formed and manipulated a medium, to his design, through which he would carry his ideas as efficiently as he could. His success in doing this blew my mind right open. From then I listened to similarly inspiring people but nothing has ever meant as much to me at the first time I heard Bob Dylan.
What I really love though is a song that doesn't force itself upon you but has a world of its own.
You toured with Noah and the Whale and Laura Marling when you were in the band Adventure Playground, correct? Why did you choose to go solo? And how did that tour differ from your recent tour with Mumford and Sons?
I toured with Noah and Laura as King Charles while I was also in Adventure playground (the best band of all time). I was solo then and played with other musicians but was never very good and keeping anything together. That tour differed from Mumford in everything.
You've mentioned that you had a near-death experience last year, how has that shaped your approach to and relationship with music now?
It had quite an extraordinary effect on my thoughts about everything. Everything was distorted and peculiar; it made me more purposeful about life; everything had to be sharp and real; no faff. Elvis went by T C B: Taking Care of Business. You can't argue with Elvis.
How do you think your music has transformed since you first started playing?
It's probably not as good. I was best when I was trying to copy Bob.
Your music tends to drench each note in as many words as possible. Where does your writing style stem from?
You've attracted quite a bit of attention without even releasing an album. How do you think that came about?
Probably from the ridiculousness of not having released an album yet.
Can you tell us a little bit about your debut album?
The tracks have come from pretty much my first song to last one I wrote.
I made it in various studios, the last being with Mathew Wilder in LA; he knows what he's doing.
What can we expect to see from you in the upcoming year?
Fury, power, passion, the most magnificent suits, climbing, falling, drumming. songs, sins, sirens.
I don't really know whats coming.
I wanna be moving, and kept moving.
Finally, what are some words to live by?
Nice final words, Your Majesty. Keep an eye out for King Charles' debut album, expected to drop this year.