Monday, 9 September 2013

#162: Catching Up With...King Kartel (U&I Music Magazine - September Issue)

Following on from my feature(s) of Naymedici over this month issue and lasts, another band bridging the gap between Ireland and Manchester is King Kartel. The roots of this band are founded in a group I was familiar with a saw a number of times several years ago: The Genuine Articles. However, according to singer Hugh, King Kartel are the testosterone-fuelled adolescence to TGA's prepubescent tween years and coming off as the bastard spawn of The Libertines and The View, it's easy to see why. These tracks are sharper, more mature yet still bubble with the same youthful optimisitc romance that endeared me to The Genuine Articles so much.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about King Kartel, is that that there sound isn't inherently Manchester, in fact, without Hugh's accent, it wouldn't be possible to pin them down to any location, such is the universality of the band's music. Guitar's jangle as much as they crunch, sometimes within the same song, blending together elements of garage rock and indie-pop in to irresistible and energetic harmonies that are impossible to ignore.

While the band might not be inherently Manchester, they're certainly inherently indie. Track's with name's such as 'How'd He Ever Pull That?' couldn't be from any other genre, meeting and exceeding expectations with reckless abandon. There's a frantic and almost discordant tenacity at play within the band's more up-tempo songs and it certainly seems to be where they excel themselves. That shouldn't detract from their slower tracks; 'Artillery' is an indie club anthem in the making, though more akin to the likes of Two Door Cinema Club than earlier comparisons.

Having already seen airtime on the likes of BBC ATL, it's clear that band are starting to get noticed, and well they should. It's music without frills, music the way it should be played. Destined for the fields and stages of the festival circuit, it's perfect for a cider and a summer evening and while it isn't specifically doing anything to break any boundaries, it doesn't need to; records of this calibre are a testament to themselves and a testament to the work that the band's that release them put in. Seeing King Kartel progress and mature from the youthful and rough Genuine Articles in to the fully realised entity they are today has been an absolute joy and hopefully soon they'll find themselves playing the stages they fully deserve to.

What do you think it is about Manchester that makes it such the hot bed for young talent that it is?

Its history probably. Music and Manchester go hand in hand.

There's a kind of guttural romance to Manchester that lends itself so well to the bands that it produces but what do you think it is about the city that has such an established cultural appeal outside of its music scene?

Apart from the weather? If not I think it must be the beach in Castlefield.

I was familiar with your previous band The Genuine Articles, how do you think King Kartel differ from them?

TGA would have been like the early stages of puberty for us as a band. King Kartel would be when your balls drop, so yeah there’s a pretty big difference.

Obviously you're a band with roots in both Newry and Manchester, how does that impact on your fan-base? Do you think it gives you more of a universal appeal rather than just falling in to the category of “Just another Manc indie band”?

It could do. As only one of us is from Manchester, we had to work hard to build a following as we couldn’t get all our friends, aunties, uncles and cousins down to tell us we’re good. Some of our accents aren’t very manc sounding also.

You've just finished recording an EP, what can we expect from that and when is it out?

Yeah we’ve been sitting on it over a month now. It’s not out until October 14th. One of the tracks got played and featured on BBC ATL within two days of being uploaded. We normally get the ‘your track has been listened to’ email, then fuck all else. So we’ll take that as a good sign.

A question I ask all bands now. You've obviously played your fair share of gigs and presumably drank more than your fair share of free beer. What would be in your ideal rider, and why?

Unlimited supplies of beer, whisky and vodka, and Jessica Alba or Michelle Keegan to do all the pouring for us, in as little clothes as possible.

You've also obviously shared stages with some of Manchester's most up-and-coming bands/artists. Care to plug some of your favourites?

There’s quite a few good bands about but the ones we go to see again and again are Naymedici and Sam Haine & the Bloodflames.

Following on from that, Manchester is a city full of venues, which has been your favourite, both to play and to see a band at?

The Ruby Lounge is probably our favourite venue. The setup is class, the sound systems class the guys who run it are 110%! Scott, Jay and the staff are brilliant and up for a laugh. We’ve played some great gigs in there.

There's clearly a wide variety of influences at play within your music, both old and new, care to list some of your biggest influences?

The Beatles, The Stone Roses, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys & The Fratellis. We’re also big fans of The Vaccines, The Courteeners & Jake Bugg too.

Finally, any live dates or single releases you want to take the time to let us know about?

EP is out 14th October. Then the tour kicks off in Manchester, we play the Kraak Gallery on Saturday 26th of October. All other dates will be put up on facebook and the website for anyone outside of Manchester including: London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Newry, Dublin and maybe Cork.

This article was originally written for U&I Music Magazine. Click here to see what else we've been up to.