We chatted with the hugely successful - and hugely lovely - Zach Lount from indie rock band King No-One, asking him to share his hopes for the band, his style of working and his views on the divisive and divided world in which we live. His answers are whip-smart and passionate like the band’s music.
Images by Ben Bentley.
If you feel strongly about something, don't let other people tell you it's wrong - think about why you feel that way, express it.
One&Other: It’s been quite a year. How do you suggest people stand up for themselves in the current climate?
Zach Lount: Well sometimes it’s so difficult, as it’s mostly society that’s the enemy and inherit ideology. You may be told left right and centre that ‘you’re a (specific gender) or ‘you can’t dress like that’ or ‘you can’t kiss someone of the same sex, publicly’ or as a woman ‘you must wear a bra’ or even better, ‘you can’t feed your newborn child in the most natural way, publicly because no one wants to see your breasts when they’re not advertising something.’
You may be surrounded by people who don’t agree with you. But if you feel strongly about something, don’t let other people tell you it’s wrong - think about why you feel that way, express it. If other people are stuck in one way of thinking, then why do you feel differently? Explain. Having said that, life can’t always be diplomatic; sometimes you must go to high measures to open someones mind. But most of all, don’t let people change you - stick with how you feel, society is a spectrum and people can be far behind. Don’t let people discourage what you’re doing, keep doing it and do it proudly, express what you are for who you are and use other people’s negativity to boost your strength. If you can find unity with others, hold on to that.
O&O: If you could get one message out to your fans (political or otherwise) what would it be?
ZL: Everybody on this earth is, and thinks differently. Some vastly, some scarcely. Try and accept everyone for their differences, because we are built on these. A world full of just one personality and way of thinking would be nonfunctional.
Bands get lost in the idea that they must be signed and that their end goal is to be signed and then that's it.
O&O: What inspired you to be so outspoken a feminist?
ZL: Because I feel so strongly about it. But before I start, feminism is the belief that women and men are equal. Therefore more people are feminist than that which know. The stigma given to feminism is from the actions of extremists, and we need to remember what it is and where the majority of people stand.
It is a real issue, and it needs to be addressed. Young people need to gain this knowledge early. There’s so many gender roles and these can damaging. Look at how many women are in the music industry… it pales in comparison to the amount of men. Part of the problem lies in a subconscious disregard for women’s potential in music from an early age. There’s far less opportunities for women in music. As a boy, it’s normal to group with some friends and try out a ‘band’. Unfortunately, and not through choice, it’s not ‘normal’ to do this, as with many other jobs. Boys get a wide berth in early development. Our generation still has overtones hanging from previous generations where women and men were separated in work, and different opportunities were deemed for different sexes.
I could go on for hours covering so many different points, even some that effect the development of young men, like insecurities growing from males who aren’t ‘manly’ and believe they are surplus to the requirements of a ‘real man’. We need more male feminists.
O&O: Which of your lyrics do you think really expresses something amazing?
ZL: I wrote a poem that comes out in the middle of ‘Stay Close’ which is about the way we wait for things and push for new beginnings, but time changes everything we do for future, past and present and your time belongs to only you.
Nothing’s more subjective than time In these winds I’ll shiver but I’ll climb I’ve reached a summit where there’s sand, there’s snow there’s flowers, I’ll find We perpetuate these feelings. To hope in light they’ll grow meanings Through a time, a moment, that’s inevitably passing everything by.
But my personal favourite is in ‘Say My Name’ as the words are so dark and sinister, yet the meaning is so romantic and emotive. It’s to capture how mystic an unbeknown new love can be: ’ You’re talking me through my night, like a lullaby with cyanide seeping through. The only light I can find in a genocide, is if everyone left is like you and I.’
O&O: What’s next for you?
ZL: So much is to come. I really feel as a writer and an artist I’m far better than I ever have been and I know I’ve got so much learning to do. We’re just a child to the future I plan for us to have. To no longer have a thirst for knowledge is to drown, to no longer have a hunger for improvement is to starve, but to constantly question, criticise, improvise, believe then disbelieve but not to look back is art.
O&O: What are your thoughts on Vinyl?
ZL: Vinyl is wonderful, it’s the best format of audio and there’s also a ritual each time you want to listen to something, and all amazing things should have at least a short ritual before the pleasure.
We're just a child to the future I plan for us to have.
O&O You were the first unsigned band to play Leeds Fest last year on the Radio1/NME stage: is this a stance you are taking? Do you prefer to be independent than work for a fat cat?
ZL: Yeah we’re dead happy about it. Bands get lost in the idea that they must be signed and that their end goal is to be signed and then that’s it. Sorted. But so many big labels are dropping acts cause they just aren’t working. The artists pitched for labels, not the people - and then with big label investment they just can’t get things going. Whereas we focused solely on people. It’s very expensive to be in a band at this point, but that’s why we busk - to keep money coming in to reinvest and to promote ourselves to the people. And it’s working very well.
We have a hugely engaged audience and are outselling massive label bands. So we’ll just keep pushing forward on our own terms and eventually a label may come along and invest in us - and if they do, just imagine how much we could build on what we’ve created with investment. So we’re not saying not to sign to labels necessarily, but it has to be right - otherwise we’re happy to keep breaking records as we are.
O&O: To the other band members: what message would you like to give to all the people who have supported you thus far?
JOE: Performing with you is like peanut butter with jam.
JAMES: I still have to pinch myself sometimes because I cannot believe how many people show up at our performances to support us. So personally I’d like to say a massive thank you to not only those people, but anyone who has bought or streamed one of our tracks online. Your continued support means everything to us.
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