It was 2017 in a little known borough called Earlestown where the story began for The K’s. A good way to describe its location is ‘near-ish to Warrington’ and with a quick google search ranking the ‘Earlestown Saturday Flea Market’ highest in Trip Advisor’s top things to do there, it appears that schoolmates Jamie Boyle (vocals) and Dexter Baker (bassist) – soon joined by guitarist Ryan Breslin and drummer Jordan Holden – took matters into their own hands to provide some alternative entertainment for the town’s 10,000 residents. (Not to downplay the thrills of picking up a second hand microwave on a bargain).
It’s easier to stand out obviously, because you’re the only fucking band in your town!” laughs Breslin when discussing the sparseness of the area, which is slap-bang in the middle of musical giant cities Manchester and Liverpool distance wise. “We’re one of the most successful bands in Manchester too, where we sort of skyrocketed since our gig at Jimmy’s and grew more there than Liverpool. We have benefited growing up in the middle though because we’ve got the best of both worlds, and we’re not classed as a ‘Manchester band’, because there’s far too many of them.”
Taking part in the zoom call are Jamie and Ryan, and they’re not afraid to shout about all they’ve achieved. Where a lot of indie music is based around self deprecation to the point where there’s nothing left, it’s refreshing to speak to artists who embrace every aspect of being an artist, and are clearly having fun while they do it.
When asked if there are any hindrances to being a musician in a small town, they don’t believe there is.“Nah I fucking love it me.” replies Boyle with a fond summary of his hometown. They do concede that the lack of studios and rehearsal facilities when compared to a city is one minor hindrance, but they are unanimous in their love for their humble stomping ground. “You just suck it up and get on with it.”
Read the full conversation below:
Going back to 2017 when you first came together as a four piece- you were called ‘The Kaleidoscopes’ back then I believe?
Jamie: No it was The K’s then. The Kaleidoscopes came from another band that me and Dexter were in at school when we were just messing about. They were called The Kaleidoscopes and when we decided to start the band properly in 2017, we decided to keep it. But because of a Spotify issue we had to shorten it to The K’s.
So from the point of you starting rehearsing as a four piece and building a set, how long did it take you to realise you had something and booked your first gig?
Jamie: We started in January, and we had a gig by February. It was at a David Bowie tribute night at Sound Control just after his death. We covered ‘Lazarus’ and played ‘Sarajevo’. We knew from then. That was the first show that we’d played and about 5 people came up to us giving us their cards, it was totally alien to us. We got off to a flyer really when it came to mixing with the right circles and just expanding. That then enabled us to book more gigs a lot easier. We owe it to the old bands that we’d been in that had given us time to mature as musicians by that point.
Being from Earlestown…
Jamie: Me, Ryan and Dex are, and Jordan the drummer is from Blackpool. He drives up every week, bless him.
…which in your own words is in the shadows of two musical giants of cities in Liverpool and Manchester. Would you say you’re influenced by Manchester or Liverpool more for music?
Jamie: There’s not a lot in it but I’d have to go with Manchester. The first bands I started getting into were Oasis and Stone Roses. When you first discover these bands that were so big in the North West you think ‘fucking hell’. Of course you’ve got The Beatles and The La’s but I’ve always swayed to more of the Manchester side.
Ryan: Liverpool is a class city though.
You cite The Jam as a key influence too, and the guitar driven energy in the songs really reflect that.
“There he is” – Jamie moves his camera to display a big mural like Jam canvas on his kitchen wall.
Are there any newer influences creeping into your music as you evolve as a band that you’ve picked up on more recently?
Ryan: I can’t say I really listen to new music unless it’s really shit hot. It’s probably ignorance but I’m pretty old fashioned with my music.
Jamie: I usually say that, but I can’t stop listening to the Sports Team album from last year. I find the chances of you stumbling across something that you really like are a lot slimmer because of the sheer depth of releases out there. Occasionally you’ll flick through Discover Weekly on Spotify and something will prick your ears.
Latest single ‘TV’ was released in September to a great response, I’ve heard you mentioned on XS Manchester a couple of times.
Jamie: It would’ve been better to have been touring it, but the digital response has been unbelievable. The vinyls have gone out like gold dust, so it’s gone as good as it can without touring.
Ryan: It seems these days that you’ve got to be on a playlist, but if you’re without a label you’ve not got that good of a chance of getting on, and the fact that we’re getting thousands of plays without even being on these playlists is crazy.
It seems that ‘TV’ is the first time you’ve written about society and media as a topic. Do you plan to go down the topical route of commentating on the world more?
Jamie: I don’t ever plan to be topical in my lyrics, it’s just whatever comes. I think that for something to be good you’ve got to feel it and believe it. Whether it’s how you’re feeling or what’s happening in the world – there needs to be a reason for it. I’d never predict what I’m gonna try to do because it wouldn’t have the same sincerity behind it. We couldn’t play it with the same passion that we do, ‘cos you can tell in the songs that we believe every word that we say. It’s not something we’d rule out but not something we’d plan either.
I heard that you managed to get some stuff down in November, was that demos or full recordings?
Jamie: They’re just demos at the minute. But they’re fucking mint, we’re all buzzing with them. Not just those songs, but we’ve got loads of new stuff written that we can’t wait to get out. It’s been shit not touring, but we just used that time to write.
So are there any release plans in the pipeline?
Ryan: There is a plan, but we just don’t know it yet.
Jamie: We don’t wanna release anymore tunes without being able to tour them either. You don’t get the full enjoyment out of it.
This might get a similar answer then – what’s the possibility of a K’s album in the near future?
It’s impossible to say right now, but there is enough material for 2 albums.
This week marks the year anniversary of your sold out show at the Manchester Ritz.
Ryan: Don’t remind me!
It was obviously a huge milestone for the band to sell out a 1,500 cap venue with such a huge history. If you can put into words – What was going through your heads before stepping out on that stage?
Ryan: How many drinks I can carry on stage!
Jamie: It was just pure excitement, there’s no nerves or out like that anymore. So that’s why it’s killing us, we just love playing to people all the time.
Following on from that, what’s the next goal gig wise? What’s next on the list? (As and when)
Jamie: We had Academy 1 lined up which was obviously cancelled, but I wanna sell that bastard out. That’d be nice. It is difficult ‘cos everyone’s tours have moved a year forward, and they want all the same dates so it’s difficult.
Of course the Ritz show was just before everything went to shit. But you’ve been keeping things entertaining through lockdown, with Friday night with The K’s Facebook stream, what’s that all about?
Jamie: It’s just a piss up and we turn the cameras on. That’s literally it. We’ve made a few more plans to fill the gaps, but in the first lockdown there were hundreds of people watching across facebook and instagram, and it was just us four on zoom getting pissed and having a laugh. The comments are class, people just tune in with a beer and talk to us. It’s well good. You’ll have to tune in.
Listen to The K’s latest single ‘TV’ and head over to www.theksareonfire.com to check out the guys new merch….
Header Image: Paul Husband
Ritz Pictures: Desh Kapur