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King-of-the-North-Andrew-Higgs-Interview-2016

 

KING OF THE NORTH - HIGGSY - INTERVIEW

KING OF THE NORTH is just about to release their second album ‘Get out of Your World’ and it's a ripper. We caught up with Andrew Higgs to talk about the new album, Hendrix, touring and that sound...

JULY 2016

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Rock is alive and well downunder and KING OF THE NORTH are right at the front of that list of Australian bands you have to hear. They are also about to embark on a huge tour of Australia followed by 30 days in Europe.

The Rockpit: Thank you for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit today Higgsy!


Higgsy: Hey Mark how you going?


The Rockpit: Good thanks. Let’s get straight into the new album! ‘Get out of Your World’ is out on 5th August – it’s a huge sounding album and quite different from your debut ‘sound of the underground’ what did you set out to achieve with this one? Was there a grand plan?


Higgsy: Not really I just wanted to write some new songs for myself and for the band so that we had something new to play. The plan was pretty much the same as for the first album, write a bunch of good songs that would make up a good album and that’s pretty much it! (laughs)


The Rockpit: You’ve also had a line-up change, which for a two-piece is rather more of a change than for most bands, is it all good?


Higgsy: It is yeah, it was a bit of a shock, but things happen for a reason and Steve the new guy is fitting in well. I did give me the opportunity too to record ‘Burn’ with Lucius Borich (from COG) and it’s almost a preview of where King of the North could go into the Prog Metal area, the sort of Karnivool, COG area, you know, and a bit away from the classic rock. And if the line-up change hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have had a chance to do that, so there are always positives out of everything. I’m really happy with how everything came out.


The Rockpit: Yeah, just out and first single BURN is a great song. A real high energy rocker with a great sound.


Higgsy: It does have King of the North elements and brings in these new elements and I sort of wanted to experiment and see what would happen if you sort of mixed King of the North with COG.

The Rockpit: There’s plenty of great tracks on there: I love the opening track RISE the slow build and hypnotic riff – its real elemental rock and roll – which is surely what King of the North is all about. Then there’s the title track GET OUT OF THE WORLD which is pretty blues infused. And THE MONUTAIN which features a spoken word segment from MARK OF CAIN’s John Scott.


Higgsy: Yeah, The Mountain that was awesome, I was so stoked to be able to get that together because John Scott is an absolute hero of mine. When I wrote that spoken word part I found I was mimicking his style and thought I gotta call him and see if he’ll do it. So I flew out to Adelaide and recorded his voice in my mate’s studio and brought it back and mixed it in and ‘Bob’s your uncle’.


The Rockpit: So what came first there the spoken word part or the music?


Higgsy: I always write the music first as I’m a guitarist at heart.


The Rockpit: So taking it all the way back then who were those earliest guitar influences?


Higgsy: There’s a plethora of players, though none more so than Jimi Hendrix, I’ve always been pretty fascinated with Jimmy, but Tom Morello and a lot of Blues players like Clapton, BB King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn and a lot of rhythm payers that I really admire like Rich Robinson from the Black Crowes and Malcolm Young, though I love angus too, John Frusciante from the Chillis, who was a huge influence when I was young, Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, the list goes on…   


The Rockpit: I think you’ve got the big ones covered there! And that first name Hendrix leads in nicely to that cover of Manic Depression that you did that closes the album beautifully.


Higgsy: I keep forgetting we did that!


The Rockpit: And just one take in the studio is that right?


Higgsy: Yeah we did that, we went into RRR and played live on air and got asked to do a new song and old one and a cover and though don’t really do covers it got put on Facebook and went viral and people were saying Dude you’ve got to do that! We played with Clutch the next week and people were shouting ‘Play Manic Depression!’ So we thought we’d give it a shot and it went down really well. So when we got to the studio two weeks later we had half an hour left on the last day to finish the drum tracking and Danny (Leo, original drummer who played on the album) was there so we laid it down – one take and heard it back and not only did I like it that was the take!

The Rockpit: It’s such a short song that Hendrix did and you blew it up nicely! There’s a huge tour coming after the release which sees you play every State and Territory apart from Tasmania!


Higgsy: It’s hard to get down to Tassie! To be honest we would have gone but right after we go to Europe for 30 days so we ran out of time.


The Rockpit: So where are you playing in Europe? You’re in Australia August and September and the dates are out there, but no European dates on the site so far?


Higgsy: We haven’t released the full dates yet, just a few of the German shows but we play Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxemburg and I think Belgium. Wish we could have played the UK but again we ran out of time, I lived there for a while and I don’t really want to be there in November when it’s finally getting nice here! (laughs). We played in Wales last November and it was pretty cold!


The Rockpit: For a two piece you put out an incredible sound. Tell us about the three from one pedal and why it’s fundamental to your sound?


Higgsy: That’s really why King of the North came about, because I had this idea for that technology and wondered if it would work. It makes the sound of a whole band and all I needed was a drummer, because I could sing, I used to do all kinds of stuff with a stomp box and snare and I thought I was turning into a one man band! But playing big bluesy riffs and making them sound massive was what it was all about like Hendrix and Rage against the Machine. And I was doing a few other thigs too and the pedal let me be a band and get that sound, like at the end of ‘Down to the Devil’ you can hear three distinct parts, a bassline, a rhythm guitar and a lead. The pedal allows me to do that and also to do two guitars and a bass like Zeppelin or Rage where everyone’s playing the same riff.   


The Rockpit: So you loop it?


Higgsy: I can, there’s a recording function in there too so a guitar goes in and gets split three ways like Angus, Cliff and Malcolm, and I can record play it back and solo over the top of it.


The Rockpit: It’s amazing to see live, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you over here!


Higgsy: We’re looking forward to getting over the West again we haven’t been there in ages.


The Rockpit: I was trying to think earlier when the last time we saw you was?


Higgsy: It must have been 2014; we played with Monster Magnet then came back a few months later to do the first album launch. We’ve been pretty busy since then and last year was predominantly overseas.

The Rockpit: Just a question I’ve picked up off social media and I must admit I’d not thought of it before now. Game of Thrones? Is that where the name for the band came from?


Higgsy: Oh no it didn’t actually; a lot f people do ask that though and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of promo for the show as season six has just finished! The name is actually a biblical reference, not that I’m religious, but I was raised in a pretty religious household. There’s a prophesy in the bible about the world powers throughout time, they gave the powers these metaphors: one was King of the North and one was King of the South and they changed throughout history and at the end of the time there would be King of the South and King of the North would be this unknown adversary that would keep rising up against the King of the South and would end in this final battle – that would be Armageddon. And I just thought that would be a pretty cool name for a band! (laughs) We do get asked that a lot, but I don’t mind!


The Rockpit: And great when you play Europe or the States!


Higgsy: It’s funny I met this guy from Spain and he was from the North and told me that they were very proud people up there and he felt an affinity with the band because of the name. It’s the same in Northern Victoria! We sell a lot of merch up there!
The Rockpit: (laughs)


Higgsy: And in Northern Queensland too! And even in Melbourne people ask is that because were from the North of Melbourne but no! One, I don’t think of myself as a King of anything, and two, I’m not that insular and my world is more than just the North side of Melbourne!


The Rockpit: (laughs) that’s so cool! Just a couple of quick questions to close! If you could have been a ‘Fly on the wall’ in the studio for the creation of any great album, just to see how the magic happened, what would it be for you and why?


Higgsy: Well the first that sprang to mind was ‘Back in Black’ because of what had happened with the band, Brian Johnson had just joined and they were off to the Bahamas so that would have been a pretty rad scene and then there was a massive hurricane there, and just seeing how those songs came together would have been cool. I wouldn’t have minded being there for ‘Presence’ either (by Led Zeppelin) just because of the circumstances there, Robert Plant had broken his leg and the band couldn’t tour so they decided to do an album which I think is one of their best. But there’s a heap! But if there was one artist I could have just stumbled across just as he came on the scene it would definitely been Jimi (Hendrix). I’ve often thought of time travelling back to London just to see Hendrix blow people’s minds.


The Rockpit: And finally the real easy one we always close with ‘What is the Meaning of life’?


Higgsy: Rock and Roll!


The Rockpit: Nice and easy! Thank you so much for taking the time today Higgsy – good luck with the launch and see you soon!


Higgsy: Look forward to seeing you on the tour. See ya.

 

 

 

Higgsy spoke to Mark Rockpit - July 2016  

 


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