Band of the week /// Knights

Knights

London outfit Knights are a real rock outfit with loud riffs and explosive melodies. Despite being a young band, they’ve already worked with Tristan Ivemy at their debut self-titled EP and scored a four-month residency at Camden Barfly. It’s no surprise Knights have been causing a lot of buzz on the London scene: the lads are truly talented and have it all to spread the charm of their music further all over the UK.

On the turning point in the Knights’ career

Jesse – I think once we recruited and integrated Tom and Oli into the band we felt like a solid unit. This helped us secure confidence in ourselves and in our music. Now its like another relationship but one that’s concrete and determined!

Digs – Yeah when Tom joined, he was the final piece of the puzzle. I saw how into the music he was, and I think you really need that enthusiasm and commitment.

Oli – I think it was when we first recorded with Tristan, for me it felt like our sound had finally been realised on record.

Tom – There was a two-week period earlier this year where we played about five shows in 10 days. We worked really hard over that time to perfect our live show and it ended with a really great gig at the Hoxton underbelly. It’s the closest thing we’ve done to a tour in the sense that we were around each other a lot and it really made us closer. I remember after thinking “yeah, we’re
a band now.”

On standing out

Jesse – I’d say Digs’ voice and song-writing were the two key components that made me want to start a band. Also our energy together now as a four-piece is just brutally honest.

Digs – I think our sound is pretty broad, so our songs can sound different but still our own. We have a lot of different influences and I think that comes across in our music.

Oli – We’re all quite unique characters. I think Digs’ voice is something that really sets us apart from a lot of bands out there. He has one of those voices that makes you stop and listen. You don’t get that a lot with bands out there at the moment.

Tom – I think its our honesty. We’re not trying to be anything were not. We’re just four guys who love playing music together and want to share that with people.

On the debut EP

Jesse – We intend to be around for a long time. We are certainly not a ‘buzz band’ and definitely not scenesters or hipsters or any other “sters”! We are in a band because our primary objective is to make music. I think by giving away our music we hope you guys will be able to connect with us on a musical and personal level. I don’t like it when a band makes you feel alienated by being detached from their audience. We want to invite you into our family. After all, we are pretty down to earth guys and we intend to stay this way.

Oli – We just want to get our music in front of as many people as possible. We didn’t release this EP with the intention of making any money. It was something that we felt was necessary.

Tom – Our aim was to try and get as many people to hear the tracks as possible and giving it away for free seemed like the best way to do that. Online is an easy way to do it because you can send someone a link and they can access it immediately. It’s nice to have the physical copies as well because people can come home from a show with something in their hand. Plus, everyone loves free stuff, right??

On the story behind the EP

Digs – It’s a collection of songs we’re all really proud of, there was some compromising on which songs to record, but I’m really happy with what we chose. I think we like to combine a stadium rock sound with a more gritty sound and I think that’s what we’re showing on this EP.

Oli – We wanted to show off the various sides to our music. Not all the songs sound the same, I think there’s something in there for everyone.

Tom – I guess it’s just a selection of songs from our live set that we think sum up our sound the best. We got to the stage where we wanted to spread our music a bit further and knew we had to get something down, so we had to think long and hard about which songs to record. It certainly sums up our sound. From the big sing out choruses to the filthy plodding beats to the sensitive shimmering guitars, it’s all touched on on the record. We’ve still got more to show though…

 On working with Tristan Ivemy

Jesse – Well Tristan is just bloody awesome! Firstly he is an extremely genuine guy who loves his work. He is also a musician so he understands the artistic temperament and makes you feel calm and grounded before starting a session. The whole process was really exciting and our daily talks about how shite Portsmouth Football Club are made it even more enjoyable 😉

Tom – I just liked the way he was so passionate about it. When we’ve recorded before, it was sort of like the guy behind the desk presses record and you just play, whereas Tristan wanted to make the songs sound as good as they could be almost as much as we did. He worked us hard and helped get the best performance out of each of us. He’s like a bee keeper extracting the honey from the hive of madness that we create in the studio.

Oli – Throughout the whole process, he kind of acted like a 5th member of the band, which I
think is a really important trait for a producer to have. He felt like part of the team, rather than someone who was just doing us a service. He knows how to get the best out of us.

Digs – Tristan’s great, and a really funny guy. It was great waking up knowing we were going to be in the studio all day. Also, I think we love a lot of the same bands, and so there was already a shorthand between us. He knew what we were going for, and I think we got some really great songs by the end of it.

On main approach to making music

Digs – I’ll normally write a song, and record a rough version of it, with dodgy drums that Jess always complains about! To show what I had envisioned. Then we get in the studio and jam it for a while and the boys bring their own style to it.

Tom – It’s sort of like painting an oil painting. You have the initial vision in your head, and then you do the outline and slowly build up the colors until you get it to a point that you’re happy with. It can be a hard process when you have to take into account four different people’s opinions but you just have to make compromises and leave your ego out of it. In the end, it’s all about making the songs as good as they can be.

Digs – I think that’s true, there’s been times in the past where we’ve all tried to fight for what we thought at the time. Now I think we’re all a lot less precious about our inputs to each tune.

On music influences

Oli – I guess Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Kings of Leon are the obvious influences and ones you
may hear through our music, but I listen to a lot of blues and heavier rock stuff. A lot of my
guitar riffs are mainly atmospheric flourishes that are meant to be the icing on the cake!

Digs – We get a lot of comparisons to those three. I love Nirvana, Pixies, any guitar stuff with kicking choruses and a bit of an edge. At the moment I’m loving this Swedish band Johnossi. They’re definitely a band that inspires me.

Tom – I first got into music through punk pop bands like blink 182, sum 41 and Greenday. They are essentially just a bunch of guys who have fun while playing music and I like to think that’s what we do too. My main inspirations at the moment are the Arctic Monkeys. Everything they do is gold and they always let their Sheffield roots shine through. They’re all so talented and always developing as a band with each record they release. Dave Grohl and Josh Homme are also up there.

Jesse – I grew up listening to a lot of grunge.. especially the Seattle scene. I think this helped me realise my potential for an emotional release! At the moment I listen to lots of stuff from Queens Of The Stone Age to odd time signature Terry Bozzio craftsmanship back to Etta James… There is a place for everything.

On the most memorable show

Jesse – I think our residency launch at the Camden Barfly was pretty awesome! It was sold out and we just had so much fun.

Tom – The beginning of our residency at the barfly was probably mine. It was a sell out and all of our nearest and dearest were there. The crowd were pumped and I think we just fed off the atmosphere. They really made that gig special.

Oli – Before Tom was in the band, we played the HMV Forum in Kentish Town which was pretty
special. But I have to say I also love the shows at Barfly when the audience are pumped and there a really great atmosphere that’s created there.

Digs – That gig at the Underbelly in Hoxton was great. I played that venue on a bit of a dry night a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t great, but this time it was rammed, and the atmosphere was great. As Tom said we’d spent a lot of time together around that time, and when we got on stage. It was just electric that night.

On Knights’ live shows

Jesse – Ask someone in the audience 😉 People say we are very energetic and lively. Sort of like shaking up a can of coke and waiting in anticipation

Oli – I guess from our point of view we love to show our energy on stage and we put everything
into our performances. You’ll have to ask them what they get from it!

Digs – I imagine it’s like watching four guys up there, having a great time and trying to share it with everyone.

On the biggest achievement

Tom – Getting played in maplins? That’s quite flattering. Digs can tell you that story…

Digs – Ahh that was a great day! I was out trying to buy a present for my Dad, and suddenly that opening guitar line started and I heard my own voice. The weirdest thing was that I didn’t recognise it straight away, I knew it was a song I knew, but I didn’t realise it was us. When I did realise I wanted to tell everyone in the shop that it was my band!

Jesse – I think getting to this stage with the EP, and with this line up. We’re all really hopeful and positive for the future.

Oli – I think this EP is our biggest achievement. We’re all really proud of it

On the best thing about being in Knights

Tom – Producing something that’s completely your own is special. That and the sense of belonging that you get from it. When were up on stage, I know i’m up there with three guys that have my back and that gives you the confidence to put yourself out there.

Oli – Being creative with some of your best mates and feeling like a close unit. I love the moment when a song is really starting to come together and when you’re playing it in rehearsals, you get a huge buzz off of something you’ve all created together

Digs – Having a united vision, with four people all working hard towards the same goal. Then we all get excited when things work, and that’s a great feeling.

Jesse – Playing live shows. I enjoy the whole process really from writing to recording and then executing the material into the world! There is something very special about revealing something you have created from nothing especially when it’s with your best mates.

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