All Hail: King Smo Interview
Self-proclaimed exponents of “Nihilist R&B” (no, they don’t know what it means either)*, King Smo’s charming eccentricities took URF x Smash Vinyl’s showcase by storm last month, and they’re gearing up for a few more dates across Brighton and beyond. The Badger caught up with Jamie (charismatic frontman who recalls Fred Macpherson crossed with Thom Yorke) Em (effortlessly cool bass) and Tim (dynamic drums) to discuss topics ranging from fairy lights to Brighton’s finest bus route…
*If you figure it out, please call +44 (0)20 3461 4878 and tell them
Is your name a thoughtful hybrid of indie sweetheart King Krule and American country rapper Big Smo?
J: Our name ‘King Smo’ actually comes from the purest blend of cinnamon and crumbled grapefruit skin, which, when ingested triggers a sense of purity of both mind and soul, allowing the user to make pure art.
E: It’s smoking backwards…
T: THAT’S OUR NAME??!?!
I say cinematic triumph, you say?
They all holler ‘The Greasy Strangler’
E&T: Upon arriving at Jamie’s before our London show, his father buys a couple of bottles of vodka and we begin to watch a film more surreal than one of Salvador Dali’s farts. Jamie got drunk.
East Slope or Falmer Bar?
J: Split decision on this one, although East Slope is a definite favourite for band meetings and those decisions that just have to be dealt with drunk (like what to name the band…) We often find ourselves visiting Room 76 at Falmer bar heckling our arch nemesis band VELVET ELEPHANT these guys really do give love a bad name.
If, theoretically, you had £14.99 to spend on accessories for your next show, what would they be and why?
J: The truth is, if we had £14.99 between us, we wouldn’t be in a band, we would be doing more interesting things with our lives… like drugs or being politicians.
E: But given the choice, the best use of the money would be to turn Jamie into a drag queen and also purchasing some fairy lights for Tim to light up his 2 instruments.
J: This is due to Tim’s overarching desire to always live inside Santa’s Grotto.
The URF X Smashed Vinyl gig popped off; how was that for you?
J: The URF X Smashed Vinyl gig was honestly one of the best shows we’ve played, such a great line up, really easy thanks to the organisers as well so it was really fun just to be there let alone play! We also met KING BEE at that gig who we’re looking forward to running into again at our Prince Albert gig on Monday May 8th (our first Brighton headline show!). Another Sussex band THIRD DIGIT will be playing with us as well, definitely going to be a great show.
E: That urf gig was mad. Best gig yet. Jamie was too drunk…
Talk me through your song writing process.
J: We feel the word ‘process’ sounds a little to smooth for us, it’s more like a song writing green haze of confusion where, by some miracle something pretentious is spat out. It works for us. Occasionally…
All honesty, it tends to be quite a collaborative process with someone bringing the core material for a song then the others critiquing their work until the original auteur can be found crying in the corner of the rehearsal room unable to find enough happiness to pick themselves up and open another beer. This is why we have to take turns writing songs.
What’s been playing on King Smo FM this week?
J: King Smo FM, is definitely one of the best most varied stations in Brighton at the moment. (Except for the other ones).
Currently Em is waiting in the queue to go see the Royal Blood gig – having queued since 4am to secure tickets… Definitely a band that influences her bass playing which is great for us as she locks everyone into the song.
System of a Down are another big one on our band playlist in preparation for our band field trip to Download this year. They’re such a great band as they really combine political thought within a very honed and stylized metal which is something that modern rock music lacks for us sometimes.
T: And So I Watch You From Afar, who write fantastic instrumentals.
J: Definitely music that we aspire to thanks to their group virtuosity!
Finally, tell us what you consider to be Brighton’s most underrated bus route.
J: The obvious answer is the 700… it takes you straight to Tim’s house! #housepartytomorrowanyone
Tickets to King Smo’s Prince Albert gig on Monday May 8th are available here: https://www.ents24.com/brighton-events/the-prince-albert/king-smo/5000917