‘I appreciate humanity now’: King Krule on punk, parenthood and finding peace

Pop’s angry young man Archy Marshall on moving to Cheshire, singing to his daughter and writing his best ever album

Some time towards the end of 2019, Archy Marshall, AKA King Krule, found himself in Warrington standing on a wide stretch of ankle-high grass. Behind him, smoke curled into the wintry sky above Fiddlers Ferry power station. With the sun setting over its chimneys, he picked out drowsy notes on his guitar, singing deeply over the top.

What on earth was the flame-haired singer up to, miles from his south London home, his Fender Mustang hanging loosely over his shoulder? As it turns out, Marshall has a new stomping ground these days, having moved to the north-west after his partner became pregnant in 2018, to be closer to her family. “I left this city and went up there and it feels great,” he says as we settle at a table in the pub near his mum’s house back south, to the west of Peckham Rye. It is another cold evening, and he is in London rehearsing in preparation to tour Man Alive!, his third album as King Krule. The story behind the trip to the power station became clear before Christmas, when Marshall uploaded a grainy video titled Hey World! to YouTube. Along with footage of four new songs were shots of snow, the moon and copious electricity pylons (Marshall’s current fixation). His girlfriend, who was heavily pregnant during parts of the recording, was behind the camera. “I was super cold in front of that power station – I remember after five or six takes I was like: ‘Fucking hell, my fingers are falling off.’”

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