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Anthemic alt rockers Between Kings have been on an upward trajectory as of late. From humble beginnings as LARPers (their words, not ours!), the group have taken the first steps on their path to arena success by finally dropping their fiercely emotional debut, The Escape.
Fresh off the release, Hysteria caught up with both guitarist, Jordan Coyne and vocalist, Nic Machuca.
Hysteria: Congratulations on finally releasing The Escape! How are you feeling about having it all out in the open?
Nic: It feels really good. It’s a pretty great feeling when you’ve obviously worked so hard on something and just having it get out there to so many people is pretty awesome.
Jordan: I was working on the album, just writing the songs and that, for about four or five months. Working about 14 hours a day was probably my routine, but it went up to anywhere around 18 hours and even going on to 30 hours working on it straight sometimes (laughs). Just to finally get it all out there and see the final product of everything we’ve worked so hard for, and seeing everyone’s reactions has been crazy. Ever since we released the first single the fan base has just been growing and growing. There are some really hardcore people out there already and it’s crazy to see.
The lyrical content of the record gets pretty deep, drawing on experiences of violence, crime and all the insecurities surrounding growing up. Was it a struggle to put pen to paper and get that all out or did it just come naturally?
J: Nic and I are really close. We’re quite emotional people and we’re really close as friends and tell each other a lot of things anyway, so I don’t think it was really that hard to get those points across. We can be really open and brutally honest with eachoher too so I didn’t really find it a problem.
N: Yeah I’d say it came pretty easy.
What was the recording process behind The Escape like?
J: I went in and did a lot of the demos, I would do all that musically and then take it to Nic and let him have free reign. I would then sort of sit back in a producer type role and mix and match different parts of his takes that I liked, like his melodies. Sometimes I had my own ideas, but then lyrically we worked really close together. For the recording process we got the boys in to do their parts and then basically sat with Stuart (producer) going over it and making it sound huge and adding all the extra producer type things into it that make a demo track become a fully fledged big sound.
How’re you feeling about jumping on the Escape the Fate tour?
N: We’re super excited. We’ve listened to Escape the Fate forever so being able to have this as our first real tour is awesome.
J: We actually haven’t been out of Brisbane, so to land a spot like that is awesome.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that we have an end goal because we just want to keep going.
[ Jordan Coyne ]
Were they a band that inspired you much when you were starting this all?
J: I wouldn’t say inspired but we do just think that they’re a rad band.
N: We grew up listening to them but I wouldn’t say we took direct inspiration from them with writing the album or anything like that.
How did Between Kings get started?
J: It was LARPing (live action role playing). So we got together and I was dressed as the head knight and Nic was the damsel in distress and he was all like ‘Help Me!’, and I thought what a beautiful voice (laughs).
N: So then after that he had to go slay Jayden (Marsh, bassist) and Trick (Nick “Tricky” Fanning, Drummer).
J: (Laughs) So I slayed Jayden and Trick and rescued the princess and then we formed a band. I don’t want any more questions about that. It’s totally real! (Both laugh)
Are there any songs you’re really looking forward to playing live?
N: All of them!
J: Some of them we have played live before like In Lights, Empire, Howling, Broken Valleys and Party Song. Those last three are like our older songs but with In Lights and Empire we sort of started transitioning to the more that arena pop rock type sound. I think to also play The Escape live was really cool, just seeing the reception it was getting and the crowd reaction.
J: World of Our Own has been one that’s taken us by surprise with how much it connects with people. We’ve had people in the crowd crying to it. One of the last shows we played, there was someone crying basically at the stage so I stopped playing and went down and gave her a hug (laughs).
N: Forget the Comedown is a really fun one too, but it’s so difficult to choose! I really like Party Song because it’s one of those songs that just hypes everybody up. Forget the Comedown and To the Wolves are probably my two favourite live ones though.
J: We all have different favourites. Actually, I wouldn’t say different favourites but the songs all serve a different role. Like we notice that when we play it live, Alibi really hits us and that’s when we start to get into the show really hard and go ‘okay let’s kick it up into the next gear’.
The band has a real anthemic arena sound, is headlining those massive venues the end goal?
J: I wouldn’t necessarily say that we have an end goal because we just want to keep going. It’s more like, yeah let’s get to this point where we can start doing headlining tours around Australia and in all these great places and then hopefully we can take it to arenas and stadiums all around the world and keep writing awesome music.
N: And playing to as many people as we can get to listen, pretty much.
J: Yeah, we’re already working on some more stuff that’s pushing this sound in a different direction, but still sounding like us so we’re really excited to see how that all turns out too. It’s just about one upping ourselves and figuring out what’s the next step we can take.
Catch Between Kings touring on Escape The Fate’s This War Is Ours 10 Year Anniversary Tour:
Monday 28 May // Amplifier Bar // Perth (18+)
Tuesday 29 May // Fowlers Live // Adelaide (Lic/AA)
Wednesday 30 May // Corner Hotel // Melbourne (18+) – SOLD OUT
Thursday 31 May // Max Watts // Melbourne (18+)
Friday 1 June // Manning Bar // Sydney (18+)
Saturday 2 June // Cambridge Hotel // Newcastle (18+)
Sunday 3 June // The Triffid // Brisbane (Lic/AA)