To Kill A King explain lyrics from Cannibals With Cutlery

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Three fifths of British folk rock band To Kill A King sat down with Decoda to explain the meanings behind the lyrics from their debut album, Cannibals With Cutlery.

Fresh from touring the US with the likes of Bastille and Frank Turner, lead vocalist Ralph Pelleymounter leads us through a track-by-track breakdown, revealing how certain people in the music industry inspired Wolves, how the London riots of 2011 inspired Children Who Start Fires, and how the concluding song Letters To My Lover (The Dylan Fan) makes reference to the other songs on the album.

Cannibals With Cutlery is out now on iTunes, and you can catch To Kill A King live this summer at festivals across Europe.

I suppose there's been various jobs that I've worked where I have been working nights. I was llike a care worker for a while and then I worked in a nightclub for a while.

And it's, basically, just about that experience of being completely out of sync with the rest of the world and I suppose, in particular, with your partner or something like that. You come home as everyone's getting to work and it's a... yeah, it's a weird point of the day.

And that's, basically, what that song's about.

It was just like an idea of expressing that... it's like the easy way is, I suppose, the quick way and easy way isn't necessarily the good way. But the angel - referring to your partner - is the person that you want to break your back for, the person that you want to put in the hard work and the graft for.

But there's definitely easier ways to do stuff. But I think - with relation to that song - it's kind of like it's tough to be doing those shifts sometimes but, hopefully, you've got something to do it for.

Cold Skin was written with the idea that... it was a love song set at the end of the world - because I haven't heard anyone write one of those before. So I thought that might be quite good.

It was that idea of the five minute warning, like the end of the world is five minutes and just who you'd want to call and what you'd want to say.

So it's a song about that.

[Ralph]
The track Funeral is a song which is supposed to be a celebration of life. It's about... yeah, celebrating someone's life at a funeral rather than focusing on the loss and that sort of thing.

And I suppose about seizing the moment and living life for now. So it's very upbeat, despite the fact that the song is about a funeral.

The video was a friend of mine called Jack King - whose done quite a lot of our videos, actually. He did our first one for Cold Skin and then he's done absolutely loads... I think he's done about six for us? Has he? Six videos?

[Josh]
Yeah, he's done the bulk of them, hasn't he?

[Ralph]
Yeah, so, we really love working with him. He came up with this idea which is, basically, me being pushed around in a wheelchair. So it's my funeral - which was weird to go to my funeral - I thought there would be more people... there.

None of the band even turned up. You were selling balloons...

[Josh]
I was.

[Ralph]
Too busy... so, yeah, that was the idea behind it.

The track Wolves is basically about my first - would you say - my first steps into being in the proper music industry.

When we first moved to London and we were meeting a lot of people who... what's the word... I'm not, like, saying, that they're all wolves. I'm just saying some of them are wolves and I think it was the... I think it was just, basically finding a way to be able to move in these circles whilst maintaining who I felt I was.

So I think the idea of, like, just for those certain moments, just pretending you're like the same as these people around you can help you move and do it whilst maintaining who you are as well. It's like a shield or a like a costume that you put on. It's that sort of thing.

Besides She Said is about... it's basically about a couple who were two friends that are not going to see each other for a long time. But they're at a festival and they're talking about the old times, but they're both going onto something new, but they know that they will always be friends. It's that sort of story really.

Like, I suppose, also leaving - because I was from Leeds originally. I think when you leave an area where you have a certain group of friends, there's that conversations we had, you know, you're not going to see them as much as you were.

But I think, with certain people, your relationships are always going to stay the same.

It's about the end of a relationship where the couple... it's kind of... it's a song of two halves. Very clearly it cuts halfway through the middle where it suddenly becomes a lot more optimistic.

The idea was the first half was supposed to be about the end of a relationship and the two are, I suppose, a little bit bitter and it's that talking about "I never took away your crutch, I just became it day by day" is like the idea that... I don't know, you never really healed or completed someone. But you just kind of... you're both, lurching on each other so that you could move forward.

Then, at the end - and, as I say, the first bit is a little bit bitter - but at the end of the song it's remembering, it's how it all started and this optimism that goes with a new relationship and how that's very exciting.

So the end is... yeah, it becomes really upbeat and that sort of thing.

This song is about having a good time with your friends and then seeing in the morning and just feeling like you're reborn and that's like the rays washing away your mistakes.

But the video - again, this was something that we did with Jack King - and it was something that we actually, me and him, wrote together.

We wrote this script which we quite liked the idea of there being a, basically, like a reclused vampire who's trying to do the right thing. He was trying to stay away and not kill people I suppose. But then he gets lured out and then he kills people. It's the very short summary of the thing.

But I think we quite liked the idea of just this quirky guy who hadn't left the house since the 80s. So we tried to make everything in there... like he does breakdancing, he's got this crazy, sort of, long curly hair and he's playing, like, Nintendo still.

I just quite liked the idea of this person who's stuck in his house for that length of time and what they'd be like really.

Children Who Start Fires is not written about any specific person. But it's written about an amalgamation of various different people that I've met.

I do quite a lot of work - community work and stuff like that - in Leeds and it's various people that I met through that, but no specific one.

And it's about... it's just about... I also wrote it directly after the London riots as well and I think it's got to do with that as well.

It's about, like a parent talking to their kids who is just constantly getting in trouble and it... that's the sort of general theme about it.

So Fictional State... I was always very keen that it was called Fictional State because it doesn't have anything to do with my own life. It's quite a dark story.

And it's, basically, a couple who've split up and then, since then, discovered that she's pregnant and they're trying to decide whether... what they should do. You know, what the future holds for them.

But, as I say, it's not based on anything that I've gone through or that sort of thing. That's why, within the name, it's Fictional State.

And the video I really liked the concept - again, Jack King did this video for us. It was, basically, the idea was that the kid is... everyone there it's kind of like a family set-up within the home and all the adults are aware that it's a play and it's not real.

But the kid isn't aware and every once in a while there's a little bit where she'll see the director come out of the screen and fix something or do something and it's very bizarre for her.

Then, eventually, there's a big... everyone starts applauding and she realises that it's all just a theatre production and then she breaks free. That's the idea behind the video.

Family is song about coming home. I wrote it around Christmastime and it's a song about going home and seeing your family and seeing your friends and where they are, who's moved on and who hasn't and... yeah, it's just about that sort of sense and, no matter what you do, that home will always be home and there's nothing you can do about that even if you want to change it.

It's definitely... it's that weird sense as soon as you get to your hometown or village... that you're home and it's just about that really.

I think about how complex family relationships can be because, obviously, you love your family but it's like... it can be complicated, it's not like one straightforward feeling.

Letters To My Lover The Dylan Fan was a song that I wrote to be, specifically, for the end of the album. Within it, it quotes lots of the other songs that have already come before.

It does it by either finishing off the stories - so like for Fictional State there's a line which is "because your baby's heart is still beating" or there's one about "the fires will keep us warm" which is Children Who Start Fires and that sort of stuff.

The song title itself is actually a reference to the first ever acoustic album that I did long before To Kill A King - which was called Letters To My Lover The Dylan Fan which is a song which doesn't feature on the album. But I quite liked it as a title just because it was, I suppose, a song about completing other songs and then it felt nice to reference the first thing that I'd done as a songwriter.

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