Breaking down 'MASS'...

It's all come to this.

After all the scorching live shows, incendiary singles, and the countless, countless studios, King Nun are ready to release their debut album.

'MASS' is out now, and it's landed with an almighty thump, retaining the power of their live show while adding colour and nuance.

Moving from Dinosaur Jr. style riff onslaught through to an almost pastoral, even acoustic sensibility, 'MASS' surprises at every turn.

Frontman Theo Polyzoides comments:

"We are deeply proud to bring you all our debut album. This thing is full of songs about becoming, songs about reminiscing, songs about making an album."

"It’s a tribute to teenage angst, to naivety, to our memories both melancholic and despairingly sad - to the need to step up to the plate. This is an exorcism - it’s a section of our lives on a plate, and I hope it can be whatever you need it to be."

Clash caught up with the singer to breakdown 'MASS' and find out what influenced it...

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Richard Hell & The Voidoids - 'I’m Your Man'

Don’t know how or when exactly, but in 2015 we found 70s American punk rock. I remember it making so much sense – the lives of these artists were certainly mysterious, but the music had perfect clarity. We were 18 and we had something to throw ourselves into as hard as we could. We had always loved rock, folk, and blues music but this felt so much more vital than any of that. The whole picture was a perfect escapism we forced into our reality.

Richard Hell had attitude and melody, it was poetic and noisy, every part of the Blank Generation album had personality; personality we aspired to. Caius had just started driving, and as we fired ourselves around London this was always in the CD player. At stop lights we opened the windows and let the traffic hear it. On a motorway we’d double the volume.

It soundtracked a very formative time in our lives; it opened the door to almost everything that we love today. I know full-well we’ll be trying to create what we felt upon our discovering Richard Hell in the people that hear our music for as long as we do this. In whatever form that takes, that seed will always be in our music.

Whenever I fall in love with music nowadays, whatever genre it be, I hear something I recognise from hearing Ol’ Dick Hell for the first time. Something wild and free. I don’t know – I don't have to be able to explain it because 'Blank Generation' exists.

Listen to the album. I’ve used ‘I’m Your Man’ as my chosen track above because it’s the most nostalgic to me, and it showcases everything I love about Richard Hell & The Voidoids. 

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Sibylle Baier - 'Tonight'

The morning after spending a night with an ex-girlfriend we sat by the window and she played me 'Tonight' by Sibylle Baier. Probably for the context, I haven’t let go of the song since hearing it for the first time. The song was so beautifully melancholic; beautifully haunting. The words spoke of something so everyday, they feel so personal and sincere.

Sibylle Baier had recorded these songs on a reel-to-reel tape recorder in Germany in the early 70s. These were home recordings, and from what I can work out, never intended for release. 30 years later, her son had compiled the songs and gave them out to family friends as gifts, and then at some point to J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, who released them to the public on his label.

On finding all of this out I was hooked more than ever. It’s the most honest, down to earth, genuine music I’ve ever heard in my life. These are personal recordings, and the running theme of melancholic loneliness is something I've always been a little obsessed with.

The songs on the album 'Colour Green' are deeply moving and inspired me to write with purpose and honesty. I find the way Sibylle plays guitar to be very strange – her melodies flow wonderfully and end up in shapes I’d never heard prior to hearing them here.

I wrote the closing song on our album MASS in tribute to her – some of the lyrics are slightly altered and expanded lyrics of hers, somehow I thought it was all really very relevant. I’ve linked a YouTube video of the song set to clips from the film Days In Heaven because I think it’s a sick pairing that expresses what I've been trying to say here.

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R.E.M. - 'The Great Beyond'

There’s so much I could say about R.E.M. Micheal Stipe’s style of performance is so committed and urgent. He’s a real musical idol of mine.

During the recording of our first EP, 'I Have Love', during the more difficult days I would listen to R.E.M and the song ‘The Great Beyond’ in particular in between vocal takes in hopes that some of that spirit would rub off into my performance.

‘The Great Beyond’, in my opinion, is a perfect example of R.E.M’s melodic ability, and Michael Stipe’s voice and lyricism pairing to create something totally inspiring.

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House Of Fix - 'Rain Down'

Kit Mckay was a close friend of my mother and step father. He showed me lots of things about art and flying kites that I still strongly keep in mind whilst making music and flying kites to this day. Unfortunately he passed away far too soon, leaving behind a wealth of incredible music and art.

It was a short time after that I got into his band House Of Fix, which he had with a guy called Jason Leech. Kit called House’s genre ‘Ruckno’ and I’m going to have a hard time explaining Ruckno, you have to hear it. It’s messy, it’s often tongue in cheek, sometimes borders on parody but is always totally original. Sometimes it’s like Alice In Chains; sometimes it’s like the Beastie Boys; sometimes it does an Aphex Twin thing; sometimes it feels like Nirvana. It’s fucking great.

It’s everything that is so inspirational about Kit – this is self expression as it should be. It’s total personality.

I’m lucky enough to have a few of their CDs, and their music is very, very hard to find online, but I recommend listening to it wherever you can find it. House Of Fix and Kit himself had a fucking huge impact on me and the way I see music.

Spirit is the only thing that matters. Everything else is secondary. It’s incredibly hard to summarise House Of Fix in one of their songs – I’ve chosen this song 'Rain Down' because it’s great.

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PIXIES - 'Bone Machine'

Banger.

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'MASS' is out now. Photo Credit: Jordan Curtis Hughes

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