Confidence, talent and likeability are the three defining factors that truly make up the make or break of any indie band, as they make their progression from the underground to the limelight. While most acts fail at the first hurdle – with the lack of these crucial aspects to their craft – Native Kings are an ensemble that flourish in this respect.
An energetic, alternative rock band formed in Liverpool with the immense plethora of local musical history putting wind in their sails, Native Kings have grown from strength to strength, re-moulding their style to fit new agendas. Their newest single ‘Sound of Victory’, is sure to be a track with longesvity, and differs hugely in style to previous 2015 single ‘Piece of Me’: another poppy and progressive rock hit. So early their careers, they are demonstrating the ability of honesty in the creation of music, and adaptability; in the sense of tackling various styles and attempting to make it their own. In anticipation of the singles official release, I had a talk with the lads as they spoke about mascots, support slots and their local heroes.
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Can you tell us a little about yourselves? How and why did Native King form, and how long you have all known each other?
We met at university and started a band under a different name: Jafar’s Nipple. We actually used to be a five piece with another guitarist (he lasted six days but donated his pedal board to Cam) and a vocalist because our guitarist was too scared to sing. After a year or so we really wanted to bring our sound into heavier territories but the vocalist we had at the time wasn’t really up for it so he left. That’s when we decided to settle with being a three piece to play some pummeling beats bro.
You have supported a variety of bands from Funeral for a Friend, to Slaves. Are there any local Liverpudlian bands you’d like to have supporting you when you start your own headline tours?
We’d love to play with anyone that suits our style to be honest. Bands like Moose Blood, Broken Men and Vynce would fit the bill pretty well. Oh yeah, Chaz and Dave is pretty good as well.
For those who don’t know, your signature look features an owl mask that spawned from ‘Mad Clive’; a toy owl that Cameron found one day at school. Do you reckon Clive will achieve a similar status to Rob Zombie as band mascot, and do you have plans to continue his cameo within the bands future image?
Mad Clive is omnipresent and shall be forevermore, Amen.
‘The Sound of Victory’ is a fantastic single that develops from a fragile and sparse sound to a dense climax. The style resembles that of the Australian band John Butler Trio, who have been supported by The Dune Rats on occasion. Do you find that as musicians you have subconsciously altered your sound to that of the bands you’ve supported?
Thanks! We tend to weave in and out of styles a lot, it’s all based around rock but we always try to find a balance that we’re happy with. Maybe next year we’ll release a Psy-Trance album, you just never know…
Finally, on a scale of The Wombats to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, on what level of influence would you like to see Native Kings developing to by the end of the year?
We just want to keep on developing our sound and continue honing the song writing. We think it’s a great time for rock music, with bands like Royal Blood, Nothing But Thieves and the likes of Slaves all getting lots of well-deserved attention. Hopefully we can add to this potion of fuzzy love.
So to answer your question: Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Native Kings talk to John Gittins in this exclusive GIGsoup interview. Edited by Adam Skirving. Lead photo by James Newmarch