“I’ve heard that apparently I’m pretty hard to get hold of,” says King Krule about his public persona. “I find that pretty good. I kind of like that image.” We should point out we’re talking to Archie Marshall, 17-year-old tour de force behind King Krule, his latest and greatest musical guise. You might already know him as Zoo Kid, the oddball of intrigue behind one of last year’s best singles, ‘Out Getting Ribs’ – although he’s pretty much dropped that moniker now.
Sat in the garden of his mum’s south London semi, we’re in the midst of dissecting how he’s become the hottest unsigned act in the country over the past 12 months. Wanna hint? It’s his music. Intertwining a brittle, unfeasible and stunningly eclectic ragbag of influences, Archie’s numerous online personas (there are six in total, he says) all seem to offer something different – from dub to dubstep to almost-indie. Talking to him, you get a glimpse of where he’s coming from.
“A lot of the guitar lines are influenced by New York No Wave, but the chords are always influenced by Chet Baker songs. And Django Reinhardt! My favourite guitarist. Then there’s a few MCs that are actually quite good, like Leaf Dog. Also I’m quite fond of Josef K too.” Later on, he’ll wax lyrical about the virtues of Connan Mockasin, Joe Strummer and his brother’s old band Words Backwards – each one with as much passion as the last, inexplicably. It’s this sheer breadth of musical knowledge that’s flooring everyone – from fans lucky enough to have seen King Krule live, to label reps, to XL’s in-house engineer Rodaidh McDonald, who worked alongside Archie on King Krule’s November-bound EP.
Away from the music, he’s just as enticingly contradictory – the Burberry-wearing, piano-playing, graffiti-obsessed, bull terrier-owning, Brit School-attendee (he hates it) who couldn’t give a fuck about being famous, yet is headed down that exact path thanks to his seemingly effortless way with a tune and the boundless limitations of his mind. “If I do well, I do well,” he says with a shrug. Settle on a name and you’ve got every chance, we tell him. “Do I? Do I really have to settle on anything?”
‘The Noose Of Jah City’
Need To Know:
From: East Dulwich, south London
For Fans Of: Joe Strummer, Gil Scott-Heron
Buy It: New EP ‘King Krule’ is out on November 8, through True Panther
See It Live: The band (they’re a four-piece live) hit the road for their debut UK tour this November
Believe It Or Not: Archie’s mum was briefly in post-punk band The High Bees
This article originally appeared in the October 15th issue of NME