British Indie Fourpiece The K’s Talk About Their New Single “Chancer,” Playing an Irish Festival for the First Time, Plans for a Debut Album, Their Sudden Growth, Being Rockstars with Regular Jobs, and More.

Comprised of Jamie Boyle on guitar and vocals, Ryan Breslin on guitar, Dexter Baker on bass, and Jordan Holden on drums, the Merseyside fourpiece The K’s hit the ground running when their debut single “Sarajevo” was an immediate hit, and the band have since been gaining major attraction in the UK, which has seen them perform the mainstages of festivals like Reading+Leeds and Isle of Wight, as well as headlining major venues across the country.

In March, the band embarked on a UK and Ireland tour, performing at the likes of the Albert Hall, Manchester. Their Dublin date on the 28th saw them perform a comparably intimate show at the 300-capacity Grand Social. At this show, Post-Burnout’s Aaron Kavanagh spoke with the band backstage before their soundcheck to discuss their success, their latest single “Chancer,” performing at Sea Sessions this June, balancing being a major crowd-drawing act with mundane real-life work, their ideas for a debut album, and more.


So, I guess the first thing I’ll just ask is, you guys have been around for almost a decade at this point, right?

Dexter: Well, I mean…

Jamie: Five years, I think.

Dexter: Yeah, five years since Ryan joined, that’s when we kind it class it as…

Ryan: Yeah.

Jamie: Yeah, so, we had a band when we were in school, but we never did fuck all. We only started releasing music five years ago. It might be…you know what? It might be the sixth year, this year.

Ryan: Yeah, I think it is.

Jamie: Fucking mad, that! Because of COVID, like, you just lose track of everything! We lost like two years, we couldn’t tour for near enough two years, so…

Yeah. I mean your first single hit the ground running. Obviously, everyone wants to kind of make it, but when it actually happens, is it surprising, when it actually happens?

Ryan: Still don’t feel like we’ve made it! [All laugh]

Well, I mean it was an immediate hit, right?

Ryan: What’s that, sorry?

Your debut single, it was…

Ryan: “Sarajevo”?


All: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ryan: That was the song what rocketed us.

Jamie: It was unexpected, wasn’t it?

Ryan: Yeah.

Jamie: I’ll tell you what was going on, it was the first song we ever released, a track…like, we never released a track on any streaming platform or anything, it was just like, “Well, that was fucking easy!” [All laugh] “Is that all we have to do?!” So, not since then…it’s not always as easy but every release we have does really well. So, yeah, it was good. Definitely a good way to start.

Your new single’s called “Chancer.” I was wondering how you think that’s changed, in terms of your music over the years, or do you think it’s more kind of the same?

Jamie: Eh, I feel like we try and play a little bit more now, because before it was just…

Ryan: Yeah, we’ve all learnt how to play our instruments, now! [All laugh]

Jamie: Like, we used to love the punky stuff – we still do, don’t get me wrong – but definitely want to show that we can play as well, and we hope that maybe “Chancer,” the new single that’s coming up…To be fair, though, we’re always fucking sick for that. But then, what we do, we can do it all, basically, with them, we like to show the fact that we can. [Laughs]

The cover for the “Chancer” single
Courtesy of Sonic PR

Like, you guys have been playing like just some mad festivals across the UK and Europe, obviously playing like mainstage Reading + Leeds and the Isle of Wight and stuff. And I think – you’re playing Sea Sessions – this is your first time doing a festival here, in Ireland, right?

Jamie: Yeah! Yeah! We can’t fucking wait for it!

Jordan: Is it in Donegal?

Jamie: Donegal, that, yeah!

Donegal, yeah.

Jamie: Is it in Northern Ireland, that, or the Republic of Ireland?

The Republic. It’s on the north, but it’s in the Republic, yeah.

Jamie: Yeah, ‘cause somebody messaged me on…we put the caption on, and somebody messaged him, was like, “It’s not in Ireland; it’s Northern Ireland!” or something like that, but we had a look and it said it was in Republic of Ireland…

They’re trolling! [Laughs]

Jamie: …some sort of weird thing, there, where it seems to be in both or something, Donegal.

Do you have any expectations for that show, or are you just going to play it?

Jamie: Eh…I don’t know, to be honest, it’s just…

Ryan: Anyextra what?

Jamie: Any expectations?

Ryan: Oh, right. It’s a good line-up, innit? So, it’s going to be a good festival.

Jamie: I can’t wait to be going. It’s going to be fucking sick. I can’t wait to come over here and play. Like, do a festival over here, play to a big crowd, because obviously the crowds that we play to in England and Scotland and stuff are a lot bigger than in the Republic of Ireland, so…but I think that’s due to the fact that we’ve not played these sort of things up here, you know? Played in front of crowds and have that sort of organic growth to the fanbase over here. So, yeah, we’re looking forward to getting started properly on that.

As you mentioned, this show, I think it’s part of a 12-day UK and Ireland tour…?

Jamie: Yeah, well it was 13, with Royal Albert Hall. We had to throw the Royal Albert Hall in there, as well.

Well, that’s a good point, though. I mean, the show you’re doing tonight is obviously a lot more intimate and stuff. How do youse kind of accommodate for that?

Jamie: Yeah. Do you know what? I prefer it, mate – we were having this conversation, the other day – I genuinely do sort of prefer the smaller….like, the smaller, more intimate shows or something. The massive ones are good, don’t get me wrong, but I mean…I don’t know.

Ryan: They’re less hot, the massive ones!

Jamie: Yeah. Yeah.

Do you like shooting the shit with the audience between songs and all that?

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Ryan: Yeah, we chat a lot of shit, don’t we? [All laugh]

Jamie: It’s usually ‘cause I fucked something up or broke something.

So, when you kind of get bigger, and you’re playing the bigger festival halls and you’re playing the big arenas and stuff, doing support and shit, do you think you kind of lose that aspect when you’re doing that, or is that something you worry about? Do you still think you can shittalk to the audience?

Ryan: Yeah, I think we can chat shit to any audience! [All laugh] We’re not exactly stuck for words, on stage.

Jamie: Yeah, it’s literally like our specialities are playing music and chatting shit, and that’s where they fucking…that’s where our list of talents end. [Laughs]

Well, going back to “Chancer,” as I was saying, yeah, I mean, I think a lot of your songs are kind of short stories, right? I mean, this one is kind of about being lost in a city and going to a certain club. [All laugh] But they are these kind of narratives, so I was wondering how much do you kind of draw from reality and how much is just completely fictionalised?

[Pause, then everybody laughs]

Ryan: [To Jamie] Do you want to answer this?

Jamie: It’s all completely fiction! [Laughs] No, it’s not all completely fiction; there’s definitely some…nothing we ever do is completely fiction, but on some…[Laughs nervously then composes himself] Right, right…

Ryan: It’s a story about a typical lads’ night out!

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. Definitely! It’s a situation that, I don’t know, I thought people could relate to…

You don’t have to incriminate yourself if you don’t want. [All laughs]

Jamie: That’s the thing, we’re all sat here, like, “Shit, wait a sec!” But, yeah, everything we do is always written about something. Like, I don’t think we can sit and write just about nothing, I feel like a lot of people…I feel like I can tell straight away when people do that.

Ryan: Yeah.

Jamie: They sit down, they’re just going to be like fucking talking shit, basically. [Laughs] But, in a song, you can feel like…you can tell that it’s just all sort of…That’s when music starts to sound the same to me, if you’re not writing about stuff that actually means something to you, or at least is a unique story of yours, you know what I mean?

I do. But do you think it’s important, then, to read authors or anything like that, or do you just stick to other songwriters? Because I think, like, for a lot of songwriters, you have to expand your horizon a bit, read different shit.

Jamie: Yeah. So, that’s an interesting question, that, because for the first time – and we’re talking the last couple of weeks – I’ve actually, like, started taken somewhat of an interest in poetry and things like that. So, not so far, but I was speaking to my manager about it, because another artist he manages does a lot of that, and I was like, “Do you know what? I’ve never….considering, like, I write fucking songs, and I never actually read any poetry or anything like that,” so I wouldn’t mind sort of like being more well-versed in that. Having a punt. But yeah. So, I think it’s definitely something we’re gonna look into but we’re still just fucking writing songs about going out and getting pissed! [Laughs] Every single one is about being out and just fucking not really knowing what’s going on!

Well, there’s poetry in that, you know? [Jamie laughs] I think there is, legitimately, like the way you kind of describe the dancer in the song, I think there is a poetic element to that.

Jamie: Yeah. I hope!

Yeah, I mean, I was reading an interview with you guys that was taken sometime last year – I think it was around summertime, last year – and you were talking about potentially dropping an EP at some point. You think you’d want to do an EP before an album?

Jamie: Yeah.

But you said you wanted to get a label behind you before you do that. Is that still something…? What would be the aversion to self-releasing, I guess?

Jamie: So, since then…basically, at the start of this year, we’ve got a new team in place; we’ve got a new tour manager; we’ve got a new…and two new managers; we’ve got the same agent. So, the plans have just completely changed now, to the point where we’re just going to get as much stuff out for people to listen to as possible, because that’s been our biggest downfall, is not releasing enough music, and there was a lot of reasons for that. One of the main reasons was that our live schedule was so busy, we genuinely didn’t have time to fucking record any music because, back then, we were using holidays from work and things and, once annual leave had run out, we couldn’t do any studio days or anything like that. So, yeah. So, now we get as much out as possible, just keep building, just keep having this organic growth that we’re having, and there’s a lot of other stuff – regarding deals and things like that – going on behind the scenes but now we can just focus on the music side of it, and let all of that sort itself out with the people that…

Is that a weird contrast, like releasing music that’s getting millions of streams and then just working a regular job at the same time?

[All laugh and agree in unison]

Ryan: It’s shit!

Jamie: Yeah, it’s fucking weird. It’s weird. People are always saying they don’t know how we adjust. But it’s getting less and less; it’s nearly there now.

So, is that the plan, just to do it, full-time?

Jamie: Yes.

Because I thought you were full-time at the moment, no?

Jamie: We’re not. So, I don’t know, some of us work full-time. I think it’s impossible to say. [To Dexter] Do you work?

Dexter: No, I don’t work.

Jamie: No.

Ryan: He’s just a bum! [Laughs]

Jamie: I “work” loosely, like!

Dexter: He’s dead old, compared to me! I’ve only just come from uni!

[Laughs] The kid in the crowd!

Dexter: So, yeah, I don’t really have a job; I just do this.

Jamie: So, yeah, it can be hard to adjust sometimes, but it’s not like…it’s hard, you know? It’s like every band at the minute, until you sign on that dotted line, has to make it work, side-by-side, and I know that’s why bands – really good bands – end up fucking jacking it in, because it gets so intense, but we fucking love it, like. It’s better than sitting at home, going to the pub every week, which is what we’d be doing if we weren’t doing this.

Man, that’s fucking insane, though, that you guys are like playing the biggest festivals and shit and then…it’s a really interesting contrast.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. It’s crazy, mate. It’s crazy.

Ryan: The sooner it’s over, the better.

I guess you don’t have to say here, if you don’t want to, but do you have any ideas of what label you’d like to sign with, if…?

Jamie: No.

Ryan: No […] This conversation’s been had, hasn’t it? But we’ve already got like a year of releases planned, so, like there’s a few more releases coming out this year. Then later, some form of work…body of work or whatever, I don’t know what I’m going to call it.

Dexter: “Body of work” (!)

Jamie: I think the fact that we’re not in a rush anymore, I feel like that was the end goal for us, and we thought, like, we’ll sign a deal, and everything will just be fucking sunshine and rainbows, and I’m not saying it won’t be, but I mean, in the meantime, we’ve realised that we can actually make it work really, really well…

Ryan: There’s a lot of elements to build.

Jamie: …selling out tours like this, by us fucking just releasing music and doing it on our own. So, now, we’re just – like I’ve said before – we’re just focused on the music and let that shit sort itself out. Like, we trust the people that we’ve have working on advertising, you know what I mean? So, they know what they’re doing and, yeah, we just fucking stick to the songwriting and playing part of it.

Yeah, so now you guys have all the leverage now, you can bring things to the table, you’re like, “Look, we have these organic fans, we have all these mainstreams [sic], we’re playing…”

Jamie: Yeah, give us lots of fucking money!

Yeah, exactly! [Laughs] Let us do what we want, you know what I mean? But you guys were talking about curating for an album – that you want to curate for your debut, because it’s such an important thing. I was wondering, do you – now that you’ve had so many years of playing – do you kind of look back at older songs, like, “Oh, fuck. I could do that so much better now” or anything like that?

Jamie: Definitely the recording because we still use the same producer for “Chancer” and for…

Ryan: “Hometown.”

Jamie: Yeah, “Hometown.”

Ryan: Literally the same one.

Jamie: That’s the one we did, like, “Sarajevo” and “Got a Feeling” with and stuff like that, like the first ones. We had a few different producers in-between but we even spoke to him about it, about how much better, like…he’s got a lot more experience now, we’ve got a lot more experience now, like about how much better it would be if…so, they’ll definitely be rerecorded at some point. Whether they’ll be rereleased properly, I don’t know, but we’ll get the rerecordings down because we’ll get to the stage now where it’s going to be fucking hard work, what we want for the first album, but it’s a good position to be in.

Ryan: It’s trial and error, isn’t it? The studios. Like, you get shit ones and you get good ones and you’ve just got to sort of try it and then you figure out where you fit that.

Jamie: Yeah, some songs sound really good live. Like, you get a recording back and you think it’s fucking…

Ryan: Shit.

The other thing I’ll say is, like, between releasing singles every couple of months, you get repeated feedback, in a way. Like, if you drop an album, that’s the album, and it’s just kind of out, but if you do the singles, it’s like, you know…so it is kind of, like, gaming the system. [Laughs]

Jamie: But we know our worth, though. This is why, like…we have people asking us constantly – every single time we put a picture of fucking anything out on Instagram or something – and we’ll have comments like, “When’s the album? When’s the album?” on Facebook and Instagram and stuff like that, and we don’t want to do where we just put an album out for the sake of it…

Ryan: You can’t throw it out and waste it, can you? Because it’ll just go to waste.

Jamie: Our debut album, if we have the right backing on it, we know how big it will be and how far it will go, and, so, yeah, we’re biding our time with the singles for a bit and then, when the album drops, it will be the one. I’m confident.

Do you guys test songs out live before recording them?

Jamie: Yeah, but I can’t remember, I feel like most of the set is out now, innit? Or are we changing it up now?

Ryan: “Dacton”’s not out.

Jamie: “Dacton” and “Relying on You.”

Jordan: “Dacton” and “Relying on You,” yeah.

Jamie: Is that it?

Dexter: Just two, yeah.

Jamie: That’s the two? Everything is out, so we must have more than…But, what – like I said before – what songs are going on the album, I don’t know, but it’s always a good way to feel it out, because especially we were hoping with “Chancer,” because even with the last two releases, like, everyone was just like, “Release ‘Chancer!’ Release ‘Chancer!’ Release ‘Chancer!’” well before we even announced it was going to be… – and it’s the same with “Hoping Maybe” – for fucking five years, but we wanted to release it at the right time. We feel like we did because it obviously went down a treat and everyone loves it.

Do you ever feel it’s a bit dicey, testing songs live like that, because you might have a good song but it’s kind of at the whim of the audience that night and stuff might get kind of scrapped, even if it’s good, just because the audience wasn’t receptive, for whatever reason?

Jamie: Yeah, definitely. I mean, it’s always easier playing songs that people know, in terms of the feedback, but if something’s really cat… – like “Hoping Maybe” is the prime example – if something’s really catchy and people love it straight away, then you know that you’re onto a winner.

Ryan: We picked a roarer, didn’t we? Because it went down so well in that fucking gig, it just went absolutely nuts, the first time that we ever played it, so we was like, “Right, that’s a new single!”

Dexter: It was the same with “Hometown,” because that got put out as soon as we wrote it, really, ‘cause we thought, “Fucking hell, that’s really good,” and we had a couple that was going to release before that, but then we wrote “Hometown,” and it was like, “Fucking hell, that’s gotta be next!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah! Do you guys feel like you get the same reception when you’re doing support slots or festival slots as you do when you get headline slots? I mean, obviously, in the one case the people are there for you…

Jamie: Eh, yeah. The festival slots, yes, most of the time, depending where it is.

Ryan: Support slots…it depends on the crowd or what band you’re supporting. James did us great…the James tour did us great, didn’t it? ‘Cause we’ve seen a lot of people but it’s a completely different crowd to, say, the Liverpool headline show which we did two days ago, which was absolutely nuts.

Jamie: Yeah. Full of fucking young adults, absolutely pissed out of their minds…

Ryan: But we get a full range of audience, don’t we? [Inaudible] It’s a good sort of range.

Yeah. I guess the final thing I’ll ask is just what’s kind of the future plans, immediate or distant?

Jamie: Go to the pub and drink loads of Guinness! [All laugh] Soundcheck now, but when it ends, I’m going to drink ten pints of Guinness and then just hopefully get through this set.

It’s good to have realistic expectations! [All laugh]

Jamie: No, just keep releasing music, mate. So, we…festivals start in a couple of weeks. We need some…to be honest, [Laughs] I know this sounds boring, but I think we need a weekend or two off after this tour. It’s been fucking ace but, like, it’s so intense, tour…like, doing such a heavy tour. With just a couple of days off and then you’re back out, after a while. So, we’ll do that and then we’ll get back in the rehearsal room, and then festivals start in…is it the start of May?

Ryan: April. 29th.

Jamie: Oh, no! The 29th of April, innit? Sound City. I feel like there might be one before that. But, so basically, dates, it’s going to be a couple of weeks, max, of just, like, laying low, maybe getting in some writing time – because it’s always nice to get in and get writing, in-between – and then fucking stay back around for festival season, and then another tour in November, I think.

Are you going to be playing new places or places you’re familiar with?

Jamie: On the tour?


Jamie: I don’t know. Have we…? We just get told it. So, our agent, Charly, and John Giddings from Solo – Charly Beedell [-Tuck] and John Giddings – those sort it, they sort all that side of stuff out.

Ryan: They’re really great.

Jamie: Yeah. So, we just leave it to them, ‘cause they’re fucking ace!

[Laughs] “Just tell us where to go, and we’ll be there,” yeah?

Ryan: Yeah.

Jamie: Yeah, just tell us where you need us to be and on what day and we’ll be there. And they sort everything out, and they’re really, really good. So, yeah, we’ll see. There is a massive…our biggest ever show is on that tour. But, yeah, I’m not going to say what we’re doing. But, yeah, so tour again, tour in the back end of the year, and, in the middle, release some tunes and, yeah, see what happens.

Ryan: Play some festivals and drink some Guinness.

Yeah! Sweet, is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up?

Ryan: I think that’s all good.

Jamie: I don’t think  so, because, yeah…start the festivals and then come back to Ireland in a couple of weeks. When is that, June, is it?

Ryan: June.

Which one?

Jamie: Sea Sessions.

August, sometime, I don’t know.

Jamie: Oh, is it August?!

Yeah, I think so. [Editor’s Note: I was wrong. Sea Sessions this year takes place from June 16th-18th. I think I got the dates mixed up with a different festival. If The K’s don’t make the festival this year, I take full responsibility and all liability. Thank you]

Jamie: Honestly, I have not a fucking clue what’s going on, mate! I’m just winging it, every day!

[Laughs] Tour delirium! Thank you very much.

[The band say their thanks you’s]

The K’s play Sea Sessions, Co. Donegal, which takes place between June 16th-18th. To purchase tickets, see the Sea Sessions website. You can follow The K’s on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and keep up with their live dates on their website.

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