“Immature and naive,” “basic” and “sh–“: That’s how British singer Archy Marshall, a.k.a. King Krule, describes his single “Easy Easy,” a song beloved by Earl Sweatshirt, and the same one Beyoncé officially endorsed on her Beyhive Blog recently.
“That’s why I quite like it,” he told MTV News on Wednesday (July 23) of the early track’s raw production.
It makes sense, though, that King Krule might feel slightly “beyond” “Easy Easy” when it comes to songwriting. He wrote the song in 2007 — back when he was around 12 years old. In fact, the jam is the oldest on Krule’s debut album, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, slated to drop on August 24, which happens to coincide with the singer’s 19th birthday.
“I feel that the album is a very self-centered record, so I wanted to make it apparent that I’d been working on it throughout my life and it had aspects from when I was really young — from my birth — until now,” Krule said. “So I wanted to cut it off at a very clear date of 19 years. That seemed the easiest way of doing it.”
The record itself — like the works that Krule has put out under aliases Zoo Kid, DJ JD Sports and Edgar the Beatmaker — defies genre in a sense. It’s a palimpsest of sound, including punk elements. Take for example the naive aggression of “Easy Easy,” a work that recalls the ethos of bands like Minor Threat, both in the age of the artist and the mundane quality of the lyrics (Krule complains, at one point, about buying a sandwich at Tesco that’s been “off for a week” and the store “stealing my money”).
There’s also a kind of hip-hop flavor in Krule’s use of sampling. The 18-year-old told us that he cut audio from the 1973 horror movie “The Wickerman” for one track, using the chilling scream of a character played by a childhood friend’s grandfather.
The uniqueness of Krule’s sound may be what draws celebs like Earl Sweatshirt to tweet “yeah im listening to the new king krule album right now i dont rly care bout nothing else” after roundly bashing Jay Z’s chart-topping Magna Carta Holy Grail. Or what’s inspired musicians like Bey to include Krule in her Hot Links next to her favorite designers and vacation hot spots.
yeah im listening to the new king krule album right now i dont rly care bout nothing else
— Earl Sweatshirt (@earlxsweat) July 11, 2013
When we asked what he thought of endorsements from the likes of Beyoncé, Krule casually replied, “It doesn’t surprise me. I think my music’s good,” and that he appreciates the support.
Jazz is also a heavy influence, and it comes through clearly on a first listen of the album, of which MTV News got an early preview. “I sampled the Bill Evans track ‘What Is There to Say’ on the last track of the album,” the young artist said, explaining how when he was a child he used to listen to jazz melodies on repeat. “Improvisation is beautiful because it’s only there in that moment, and I can take that moment and prolong it as much as possible with my song.”
Krule, for his part, calls his music “Blue Wave” a term that more accurately describes the color, so to speak, than the genre. “It’s my blue period,” he said. “It’s my Picasso. It’s my Blue Wave. It casts a blue over myself, and it’s a wave of music. It’s a wave of sound. It’s a wave of physicality coming toward the people.”
Whatever it is (iTunes calls it “gangster rap), Krule’s music is unique. A cacophony of sounds and emotions cut through by Marshall’s wholly unique, too-old-for-his-years voice. It’s a Tom Waits voice, a Kathleen Hanna voice. Not in the sense that he sounds like those musicians, but in the sense that his voice is entirely his own in its seeming imperfections.
Of his other celeb supporters? Krule had this to say: “I like my fans a lot. I’m my biggest fan, so they’ve got to compete with me.”
When his album drops later next month, we’ll have to see if Bey and company are up to the challenge.