Bu çocuğu takip edelim. Çok büyük adam olabilir. Yazı ve söyleşi Pitchfork'dan naklen.
It's hard to find a peaceful spot to have a chat in Williamsburg during CMJ. So I'm sitting with 17-year-old Londoner Archy Marshall underneath a just-big-enough awning in an abandoned courtyard as steady splashes of rain wet the concrete around us. A year ago, Marshall was making off-kilter singer-songwriter tunes that incorporated jazz, rockabilly, dub, hip-hop, and soul on a self-described "shitty" laptop with a broken battery. Back then, he went by Zoo Kid and toiled away at songs largely for his own amusement, putting them up one by one on Bandcamp. "I didn't really care about anyone else liking it because the mainstream music that everyone likes is shit anyway," he told me, his small red head tucked underneath a baseball cap shielded by a hooded windbreaker.
But when we spoke last Wednesday, Marshall-- now known as King Krule-- was mere hours away from his first live U.S. gig ever. "It hasn't hit me yet," he said, talking about his New York debut. He isn't the nervous type. Walking around Brooklyn, he quietly pokes fun at a dude in a transparent poncho and playfully imitates the Strokes' Julian Casablancas. But what sets Marshall apart is his surprisingly low voice, which is grotesquely untrained in the best way, and a musical and lyrical maturity of someone twice his age. Much of the appeal of his breakout video for "Out Getting Ribs" was just bearing witness to that voice coming out ofthat body. Meanwhile, he claims influence from both jazz crooner Chet Baker and NYC hip-hop legends Gang Starr, which somehow actually makes sense in Marshall's black-and-purple musical universe.
In a cab on the way back to the venue after our interview, one of Marshall's managers mentions that eccentric rapper Jay Electronica may be interested in adding a verse to his track "The Noose of Jah City". If Marshall is excited about the proposition-- or even aware of the Jay-Z-approved Electronica-- he doesn't show it. He plays it cool. As usual.
Along with last week's slate of high-profile CMJ gigs, Marshall releases an official five-song EP as King Krule on November 7 via True Panther.
"Out Getting Ribs"
Pitchfork: Did you grow up in an artistic atmosphere?
Archy Marshall: Yeah. My dad is an art director for BBC TV shows, and my mum does screen printing workshops. Both of my parents played instruments, too, and my mum used to have crazy house parties when me and my brother were young-- dub and garage would be banging through my house. She listened to a lot of old-school hip-hop like De La Soul, and that influenced me quite a lot. My mum used to work in New York in Spike Lee's shop, she did the outfits for the video for P.M. Dawn's "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss".
Pitchfork: How long have you been making music?
AM: I first recorded a track when I was eight, but it was fucking shit. [laughs] My mum's boyfriend at the time brought around a load of equipment to record experimental dub and jazz, and I just started banging out tracks with it. I've always been trying to make do with whatever equipment I have.
I only recently got a proper setup with a MacBook, and that was like heaven to me. Before that, I was using this shitty Toshiba laptop with a fucked battery. I had to illegally download demos of music software that only allowed you to save files for 24 hours, so I had to make every track in one night. I'd do the production and mixing in one sitting. It was good because it made me do new tracks every night. But it was bad because, if I didn't complete it, it would just be gone. I lost loads of stuff that way.
Pitchfork: When did you start singing?
AM: When I was eight as well. I never got lessons. I took influence from Chet Baker, Ian Dury, and Joe Strummer. I don't hear my voice and think, "Yeah, that's a banging voice!" It's more about putting the right emotions into the right words and the lyrics than anything else to me.
Pitchfork: What are you trying to accomplish with your lyrics?
AM: I'm trying to create a collection of stories-- the U.F.O.W.A.V.E. songs are all stories. I haven't really taken direct lyrical influence from other songwriters, but my dad bought me a book of W.H. Auden's poems when I was younger, and the imagery really interested me. I actually take a line from one of his poems in "Ocean Bed".
AM: Yeah, I'm very into garage, and I've always been into sampling as well-- there's one track on there where I chopped up The Wicker Man. And I've been sampling a lot of jazz recently, to make hip-hop beats. I see myself more as an MC than a vocalist because my voice has become more of a bland monotone. [laughs] As far as rap, I've got a lot of love for East Coast hip-hop like D.I.T.C., Gang Starr, stuff with really nice instrumentals. And UK hip-hop like Jehst and Skinnyman, too. I feel like I write hip-hop tracks when I've really got something to say.
Pitchfork: Some have made associations with your music and the overall feeling of disillusionment prevalent among London's youth. Were you close to any of the rioting there over the summer?
AM: Yeah, I live just down the road from Peckham, which was fucking murdered. And I know a lot of people who were involved. I didn't bother taking part because I was out of London at the time, and when I came back everything was in lockdown. I supported it, but it didn't have direction. If these people did somehow overthrow the government, they're just likely to be a dictator themselves, like Oliver Cromwell, and set up their own hierarchy.
I support how the protesters in London were so aggressive, but I feel like they could've been so much more productive if they all had an ideology. At the same time, I don't know if there's a right ideology at the moment that expresses what I want. I've never been a real big fan of capitalism. I've studied quite a lot of Marxist theory. I'm still quite confused about it, to be honest, but I just like learning about all of it. Knowledge is power.
But the riots didn't really have much to do with politics as they had to do with deprivation and poverty. It's more about the idea that you're growing up into this state without wanting it. Like, if I've been put on this planet the same as anyone else, why should I have to do that? It's about the idea that the generations above me have really fucked up what's happening now.
Pitchfork: If you were around during the riots, would you have taken part?