The King Blues

By Tom Aylott

We had a chinwag with jamie from THE KING BLUES before their recent headline show at the Camden Roundhouse.

So, Jamie, how do you feel about having graduated to the big backstage mirror lights of the Roundhouse finally, then?

It reminds me of that Rise Against tour a few years ago – It was Rise Against, Anti Flag and Flobots, and two days before the London show I was sitting in my bedroom having just woken up, and my manager calls me a goes “do you guys want to go to Oxford and open for Rise Against?” and I was like “yeah, I definitely want to do that!”. One of Anti Flag had broken his collarbone so we ended up doing the show there and here as well, and I remember thinking “this is what a real dressing room looks like”.

Last time we spoke to you was at Reading, dodging the lovely British weather, and now you guys are out and about touring – every time we speak to you something else has been fucked up in the world, and today is.. erm… no different…

*laughs* Yeah, well we’ve been a little bit blissfully unaware having been on tour in Germany for four weeks, so we’re just coming back to everything and part of me is trying to ignore it all because this show to me is a dream come true, but I hear things have gone to pot again…

I’m not sure they ever stopped going to pot, just kinda carried on in a general direction really… on a political note, you’ve recently een chatting with Billy Bragg on the radio, what’s the story behind that and the forthcoming tour?

After this tour we’re doing half of the Leftfield In Motion tour [TA – TKB half of this has just finished] that takes its name from the Glastonbury stage, which is Billy’s project. The idea behind it was spurned on by a few pieces in the media that asked “Where are the political bands?” which we were angry about. I was fuming, not only because we are a political band, but so many other bands, particularly from our scene, that we know have been grossly ignored for years upon years in the more mainstream media, and it just really angered me.

So when we got a call from Billy saying “I want to do a political tour, I want young political bands, I want you to do it”, we decided on doing half of that tour. Sound of Rum are doing the whole thing and Akala is doing the other half, and it’s really cool for somebody as legendary as Billy Bragg to step in, as someone who’s noted as a political musician of merit, and say “you guys are all wrong: here’s some political music”, and then take younger artists out with him to try and push that.

I guess people within the scene were probably surprised to hear the political bands were supposed to have gone anywhere in the first place?

I certainly was! Maybe it’s because we’re stuck in a punk rock bubble – for the past ten years or longer I’ve regarded myself as part of that scene and the politics in that scene never go away, the bands never go away and the debates never go away. It’s not like everyone agrees with each other, but the debate and the fact that we support each other never goes away. Maybe if you’re outside of that you don’t see it but I always felt that were so many wonderful bands who had so many good things to say that were just criminally ignored.

Do you think is just that the mainstream media has neglected those bands and that people should be asking “where were you?” to them?

I certainly think so. There is that whole DIY culture and those bands that want to be left in their scene alone and a lot of the bands we grow up knowing, loving and watching – that’s where they want to be. They want to be part of that cultures and there’s nothing wrong with being part of the underground or being that way but I know a few bands who want to take their message further and want to get out there and spread the word but they’re just not given the opportunity. So many fads come in and out, so much shit music is force fed down our throats, and it’s annoyed me for a good few years that I watch so many great bands come, say something poignant and then break up because they can’t push their message further.

Check out more from The King Blues at

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]