And so, we move on to King Krule’s own album. Despite his age, ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’ is the result of at least five years work and the first single to be lifted from the album, ‘Easy Easy’, is a song that he wrote at the age of just 12. For all its melodic directness, look beneath the surface and it has remarkable lyrical depth. The minutiae of detail – an out of date sandwich and a Tesco receipt – sketch a baldly vivid scene in the tradition of Morrissey or Mark E Smith’s kitchen sink imagism.
As with his kaleidoscopic approach to sound, Marshall has spoken of his love for poetry, particularly W.H. Auden, while his affection for the written word in its most physical sense evokes the poems of E. E. Cummings. “It’s really hard to describe,” he says. “I guess a lot of people would say I’m slightly artistic. I see a lot of beauty in the aesthetics of letters alone, and the shapes of them, and the way the punctuation is and how you can… just the tones of a word. That’s how a lot of my lyrics were created initially; there are words that I’m almost in love with, and phrases that I’m almost in love with that I’ve created myself. I guess, lyrically, for me it’s something of a spilling on to the page. It’s really lucid at first and I write as many things as I can. I pick out whatever I can shout about and whatever I can really get out of my mouth. I dunno, it’s as much about the melody behind it as anything.”
He speaks with gusto as he describes his technique.
“It really empowers me when you’re talking about something that you care about, and let alone that, it sounds fuckin’ good so I guess it’s just me mainly wanting to shout out some stories and shout out a lot of emotions that I found that style. I always wanted to disguise it as well. I didn’t want people to see it for what it is, in black and white. I wanted people to feel uncomfortable in places. By uncomfortable I mean in fear of the unknown. Somehow it sort of relates to them and it’s quite open to interpretation a lot of my lyrics, and that’s what I like about them. But I’m constantly developing and I’m constantly reading more and I’m constantly writing better stuff. I’m just trying to keep going.”
Born out of those teenage years, the album functions as a bildungsroman of the artist, its hero journeying through romance, sex, conflict and depression. It was important to Marshall to capture those early creations alongside songs that have been written in adulthood. “I don’t think I could live with myself if I didn’t get them on to vinyl, get them pressed, and they weren’t part of my debut collection,” he says. “But it was really, really fuckin’ hard to record them. We recorded them probably about 4 or 5 times and it was only until the last few months when things started clicking and happening. I don’t know, it was kind of as much a hard part just letting go of these songs that I’ve written that I feel will always be some of my best work. It was hard letting go of them because it’s just hard to say that that’s the final cut, but it was something that was just natural in the end.” I ask if he feels content with the versions that will finally be consumed by the public from August 24 (Marshall’s 19th birthday) and his answer is characteristically unequivocal. “Yeah, definitely.”
Despite its sonic diversity, one thing that ties the record’s sound together is how inextricably rooted in the nighttime each song seems to be, and Marshall admits that much of the album was created during the wee hours. “Aw man, I lived at night. Only until now, because I’ve started to work a bit more, I’ve just been literally getting up at three in the afternoon and going to bed at seven in the morning pretty much every day for the last, I dunno, three years. So I guess it’s natural that it’s really nocturnal. There’s probably no other way that it could have been.”
Part of the reason behind the sumptuous realisation of this sound is the production of Rodaidh McDonald, a man who has helped shape the sounds of the The xx. “I think Rodaidh really… why I like working with him is that he really gets that,” says Marshall. “I feel with his production on the first xx record that he was really suitable for it, and he’s someone who’s probably more in touch with my sound better than I could be because I don’t have the knowledge and the knowhow and I can’t use a lot of the software and equipment. It was really good to have because he did show me a very… he did sort out a lot of sounds for me, forming it from being this rough project to something quite clean and quite grand in its own right.”
Marshall says that the madness of the night, and its scope outside the confines of the daylight hours is something that is extremely attractive to both he and McDonald, explaining: “I think it’s very, very nocturnal and that lunacy, the lunar life. We just experiment, man. We just experiment.”
Having evangelised his music over the last couple of years to anyone who would listen, I consistently find myself telling people that they should watch King Krule’s space, that he’s the next big thing, and it occurs to me that I’m not exactly sure what that means. I want to find out, therefore, what Archy himself would view as success. “You know what, I don’t actually know,” he says. “What would bring myself a huge amount of happiness from the album is just getting the physical copy, the artwork, and being able to listen to it and being able to look at it, let it hit me that it’s happened and that I’ve actually been able to do this. And then on the other side, you know, what I love as well as that, people like yourself who are really, really into it – and I’m glad that it’s reached out all the way to Derry (my hometown) – that’s something impressive in itself. I guess it’s mainly… I can’t say whether it’s going to be big and I don’t care if it sells a lot and I don’t care if it sells a little. I just really want it to be a collection and just be sampled and fucked about with by other musicians and other people. I don’t know, I just like it being out there, you know, and that’s all I really want from it.” He pauses. “That and a fuckin’ massive yacht as well. A big yacht and ten BAFTAs.” He stops again for a moment and his eyes glint with mock pride. “For my acting.”
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