Tag Archives: folk

‘I’m not sure people should listen to me – the worst aspects of my character tend to end up in my songs’ Interview with King Creosote

It has been 15 years since Kenny Anderson AKA King Creosote launched his solo career in conjunction with his own label Fence Records. Feeling cynical towards the music industry at large he tucked himself away in North East Fife, aiming to pursue his solo project in as stress-free an environment as possible. He has built up a great cult following yet stubbornly remains one of the best kept secrets of Scotland’s music scene. In the words of the NME: ‘If anyone could make songs about cross-dressing, kilts, playing cards and nosy neighbours sound sublime, it’s surely the big KC’.

Although known to shy away from the lime light, King Creosote agreed to answer a few questions. We’re not entirelysure how serious all the answers are but they certainly gave Charlotte Payne a few laughs:

King Creosote

Where does the name King Creosote come from?

“Once I’d settled on the name of ‘Fence’ for my own label, I then chose creosote over, say, green paint, to go on it. Not sure why I jotted down the word ‘king’ in front of ‘creosote’, but I immediately liked the look and sound of it. I used to love the smell of the real carcinogenic stuff itself, and knew my dad would approve of my new nom de plume.”

What music did you grow up listening to and how has this influenced your sound?

“I started buying albums of my own in 1982. Up until then I’d pick out the best of my sister’s vinyl, or in desperation go buy 12” singles of songs I heard on the sunday night chart show. I bought Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘17 of Their All Time Greatest Hits’ or whatever it’s called, then Simple Minds ‘New Gold Dream’ and Tears For Fears ‘The Hurting’ – on the same day! – swiftly followed by The Bluebells debut, Aztec Camera’s ‘High Land Hard Rain’, and then ‘Sparkle in the Rain’ (I played a lot of ceilidhs from the age of about 14 so had plenty of cash).

“Mix these six albums together, divide by however many songs there are in total, and you probably have ‘Not One Bit Ashamed’ by King Creosote.”

If you could cover any song what would it be and why?

“I’ve already covered a number of songs I like. It’s more difficult to remember the words of other people’s songs, especially when you’ve misheard them in the first place, so before I attempt a new cover version at a show I’ll record it first. ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, ‘Come on Eileen’, ‘Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice’ and most of Michelle Shocked’s ‘Short, Sharp, Shocked’ are in the KC canon, all with lyrical mistakes. I’m working on ‘Jewel/Duel’ by Propaganda, and a couple of hymns.”

Are there any bands or records you’ve encountered recently that you think people should know about?

Admiral Fallow’s ‘Boot Meets My Face’ I think it’s called? They were one of the best live acts I saw at this year’s Homegame (Fence Records’ annual festival).”

Do you have a favourite venue or event that you’ve performed at?

“My favourite venues are all here in the North East UK – the AIA hall, the Hew Scott Hall, and the upstairs room in the Smugglers Tavern.”

Why should people listen to you if they haven’t already?

“I’m not sure people should listen to me – the worst aspects of my character tend to end up in my songs.”

What was your favourite toy or game as a child?


What TV programme do you wish they still made or aired?


If you were a teenager again, what three songs would you put on a mix tape for your girlfriend/boyfriend?

“For my girlfriend, ‘I Won’t Let You Down” by PhD (but I no doubt will), ‘Love Action’ by The Human League, and ‘You’re the One That I Want” by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta.
For my boyfriend, ‘I’m Not In Love’ by 10CC, ‘Behind the Green Door” (not the back door) by Shakin’ Stevens, and ‘I’d Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That” by whats-his-name [Meatloaf I believe].”

Which fictional character would you like to see rule the country, and why?

“Hagrid. His accent.”

What would be the title of your autobiography?

‘The Oldest Boy in Scotland’.


Thankfully King Creosote has once again been tempted out of Fife and is playing a series of dates across the UK. He will be performing solo at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham on Saturday 10th April. Goodnight Lenin’s John Fell will also be bringing along his guitar to provide a rare performance without the other boys in the band. Fingers crossed it doesn’t give him any long term ideas! This is Moseley Folk Festival’s Lunar Society offering for April and so advance tickets can be purchased for £8.50 + booking fee here

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‘F’ is for February and Folk (in Brum this month)

If you’re in Birmingham and a fan of folk, or a fan of this supposed nu-folk, this February is literally a feast. Last week there were treats from Nancy Elizabeth, Malpas, Dan Walsh and The Low Anthem. But if you missed those nights make sure you catch some of these (if not all of them!):

Fanfarlo @ The Hare & Hounds 16th Feb

Fanfarlo are doing the rounds of the UK before they support Mumford and Sons in March. They have also just been added to the 6Music playlist so this really might be your last chance to catch the band at a small venue (joined by Mr. Bones and the Dreamers). Wednesday 10th February, Hare & Hounds.

Midlake seem to be really making a mark with their latest album and some how the Birmingham leg of their tour has not sold out yet. (Seriously, Manchester, Bristol, Dublin and London have all managed to keep up.) Tuesday 16th February, Town Hall.

Stornoway @ Glee Club, 17th February

The Twisted Folk tour brings BBC Introduced Stornoway and Moseley Folk Festival favourite Beth Jeans Houghton to the city. Wednesday 17th February, Glee Club.

You might as well camp out at The Glee as they’ve got 6 Day Riot performing on Thursday 18th, and Erland & The Carnival on Friday 19th February.

Part of the army of Swedish folk musicians that includes Jose Gonzalez and Frida Hyvönen, First Aid Kit are marching into town.  The fact that they are signed up to Wichita Records is endorsement enough. Monday 22nd February, The Rainbow Pub.

Unfortunately there were a couple more things worth mentioning, but in the process of checking the dates, two massive cancellations have occured. So, apologies if a bit of our initial enthusiasm seems exaggerated but fingers crossed King Charles continues his recovery and gets back to Birmingham when he’s better. Hopefully the gig will still take place as the scheduled supports from Malpas and Tom Peel are well worth seeing (even for the second time in one month).

Charlotte Payne

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