Interview with Make Me King

Lancashire’s Make Me King are taking their merry brand of melodic alternative rock on the road to promote “The Whisper is a Hint” (RiotPop Records). As their eponymous song says, “every boy needs a score”, and these guys seem to have done that very highly with a polished and professional debut EP.

“Since we started all this, for like three years, all I’ve wanted to do is live in a van touring,” sighs bassist Lewis Clark, his youthful expectation hidden behind thick facial hair which didn’t need anyone shaking Movember sponsorship forms to get going.

Guitarist Jack Mason, having helped Deep Elm Records’ Last Lungs on their national tour earlier this year, nods his head sagely; “There’s nothing better. You’re partying, you’re drinking, you may or may not be doing drugs, and you’re playing gigs. It does me.”

Formed three years ago at a college in Preston, the path which leads the twenty-somethings to publicising their debut appears to have been not merely direct but lined with travelators. The tangible result is an album brimming with attitude, confidence and youthful zeal, one with a coherence which hides the truth of its disjointed origins.

Guitarist Sean Marshall explains, “The thing is, it didn’t all get recorded in one section. It’s more luck, to be honest, if it all sounds like it works together. We kinda put “Every Truth or Dare” in the middle of our set and worked things out from there.”

“We started out pretty pop punk,” Jack chips in, “and now we’ve preferred to write now we’ve grown up over the years.”

“Growing up” strikes as a bold claim for the lads as they snigger, chuckle and wisecrack through the interview, relishing with broad grins the chances afforded them and their highly strung set of songs. In the pop-punk tradition, though notably broadened out and matured, their take on the ubiquitous genre is particularly sharp.
Particularly dangerous territory is this sort of thing, littered with Lost Prophets and Fightstar comparisons. Credit to them for knowing how often to hat-tip influences whilst making a path of their own, even if enquiring about influences sets off minor squabbles and layers of interrupted over-talking.

“Right, Jack, just choose two albums, like when you started out or something, and I’ll think about mine,” suggests Sean in full diplomacy mode.

“I kinda loved the old Panic! At The Disco sound on the first….”
“Bastard! Bastard, you stole my one…”

Lewis goes for the rare trait of answering the question.
“Yeah, there’s kinda different things, I dunno, Brand New, like, were a massive influence. Me especially, that guy [Jesse Lacey] is a fucking genius”.

The MMK sound – “swingy choruses, like dun-de-dun-de…sorry” tries Sean by way of explanation – eschews the over familiar hand-clap-and-power-chords combo for variety and production quirks. Having suggested that the upbeat songs could make it possible to jive to their songs, a short debate lands on the certainty of waltzing if nothing else;

“You could waltz to us, I want to see that in our first video, fact, Tower Ballroom, it has to be done,” table-thumps Jack, to agreeable nods from Sean.

“Would be sick, make it happen someone”. Lewis demands, feigning a call to the producers of Strictly Come Dancing.

The topic of “growing up these past few years” comes back to mind, but too many tangents have been fired off to suggest returning to topic. Whatever that had been…

Having joined together as friends and grabbed attention the modern way – “MySpace, back in the day, was at its height for bands”- Make Me King have spent most of the formative years recording. This may point to the eagerness to get out beyond the clubs of the north-west, having ventured to London for two weeks to essentially live in the recording studio.

“The eight-minute ballad I’m going to write for the next album will be about my getting lost on the walk across London listening to Ellie Goulding,” Jack confidently asserts.

Irreverent they may be, committed they most certainly are. All digital voice recordings of this interview suggests no actual conclusion was determined, the lads talking and gabbling on musicianship – “We worked in time signatures switches, like, to advance what ideas we had. Well, a bloke told us that’s what we had done, to be honest.” – to the ongoing NUS protests – “I want to get a job full time, like,” nods Sean. “I fancy a riot,” offers Lewis.

It is probably the best way to conclude the little chat, for even the formality of start-middle-end during conversations seems a bit much. They are good lads with focus, albeit without total command on concentration, and the promise to turn whispers into shouts if the EP is any reasonable guide.

With or without the ballroom dancing…

You can find RiotPop records right here

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Make Me King – "The Whisper is the Hint"

Make Me King are a five-piece pop-punk types from Lancashire, whose take on the ubiquitous genre is particularly sharp. Long since a style given up for dead – oh lovely, another hand-clapped chorus – this fresh take should pique the most cynical of interests. It’s the theory of sour milk – everyone loves milk, tea drinkers or not, it’s the threat of the contents being sour which leads us all to give the bottle its surreptitious sniff, however involuntary. These lads are not the bad stuff, they’re fresh from the fridge refreshing.

And so before I hijack any more Rafa Benitez quotes on milk….

….I’ll start with “If You Can’t Be Good, Don’t Get Caught”, zipping and tip-toeing through an interchange between pointed ska and pop-punk, and throughout a variety much more surprising and mature than you’d first expect. The interplay and production quirks sprinkle through “Every Truth or Dare” (with its hint of blues in the vocal melody) and the stripped “Wake The World”.

There is particularly dangerous territory in these parts, because all groups have to do is time-signature-switch once too often and they’re trapped in Lost Prophets Hell; but follow the melody fairies down the lane with too many skips in the step and there’s the Fightstar comparisons hanging off every branch like torn sheep’s wool. Fair play to Make Me King for knowing how much of each influence to hat-tip whilst strutting along with their own confidence. It’s unfortunate that the title track is the weakest here, though with so many reasons to be cheerful it’s likely whispers will become shouts before long.

Make Me King’s “The Whisper is the Hint” is available on Riot Pop Records

http://www.myspace.com/makemekinguk
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