Marcus King Talks Vegan Cheesesteaks and Other Reasons He Loves Philly Ahead of TLA Show

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ROP: You’ve just released your latest album, Carolina Confessions. So much has happened since the recording of your last album two years ago. How did those experiences shape the recording of this album?

MK: We all grew together as a band. It’s like a well-oiled machine, when we approach things in the studio it’s a little bit more of a… maturity I guess is the word you would use. And the writing process for this one in particular, everybody’s collaborative involvement was a very key factor. I was writing all the songs in hotel rooms and in green rooms and would bring to the band and we would build them together from the ground up, you know, as far as a full band arrangement.

ROP: I think that reflects in the record as well. Going back to the song writing, the album is called Carolina Confessions and seems like a quest for absolution. You sing about asking for forgiveness and say you are a broken man. Are you talking directly to someone?

MK: Well, there’s a couple of different stories that are being told from my perspective and from others’ perspectives on this record, and one of those being that the entirety of the record is kind of an explanation as to why and how I would leave home and the need to do that in order to grow. In “Goodbye Carolina,” I wrote that from the perspective of a friend of mine who’s no longer with us. He killed himself a couple of years ago and that’s where “Goodbye Carolina” came from. I wrote that from his perspective and the rest of the record kind of follows into that because that happened and I wrote that song. The rest of the tunes kind of found a meaning behind that one, which was he decided to leave in a much different way than I decided to leave Carolina. So it’s kind of a metaphoric record.

ROP: How is the experience performing these personal songs live?

MK: Every night feels great and especially when we’re in a town like Philadelphia where it’s just electric and you can feel the audience and it has started to become that way in more and more places we go. What’s been great about the growth that we’ve had in the past three years has been that it’s less people coming out to see us on a whim and because they haven’t seen this before and more like return customers. So they’re amped when they walk in the door and it doesn’t take a lot of persuading the first 30 minutes or whatever. So it’s nice when we come to the stage and the audience comes in with this mutual sense of have a good time.

ROP: Yeah. That must be validating.

MK: It feels fantastic. But we don’t really know what the key is other than just keep rolling and not laying down.

ROP: Do you ever tired of your relentless touring schedule?

MK: There are times when you really miss home and it gets tough, but we all love this thing so much that whenever you’re on stage you’re reminded why it is that you do this.

ROP: Yeah, I guess you gotta love it to do it as much as you guys have. You all have accomplished so much already. Are there still any milestones that you haven’t reached yet?

MK: Oh yeah. I’ve got a huge bucket list and I don’t intend to sleep on it. My personal goal was to just be able to do what I love, for the rest of my life, you know, but there’s a few goals I hope to get to the next couple of years. We’d love to headline Red Rocks and Royal Albert Hall and we hope to do this in the year 2020. So we gotta get to work.

ROP: Well, we’re so excited to have you back in Philly. Anything you’re looking forward to in particular coming back to Philly?

MK: We love the TLA. It’s a really great venue and the people and the friends that we’ve made there are just really valuable to us and the rest of the band. Just good food, good people, a lot of good arts, so it’s gonna be a good time.

ROP: It absolutely will. Anything you want the audience to know?

MK: This is random, but I’ve always wanted to start putting it out there that if people want to hear a song in particular, just put it on a sign and we’ll see if we can get to it. We never really stick to the list per say.

ROP: That’s awesome. I like when bands don’t just have like a very regimented set list.

MK: That’s a death sentence.

ROP: You’re right. Well, thank you so much again for speaking to us today and we’ll see you at the TLA!

MK: Yeah, of course. Take care.

You can still purchase tickets for the show here, but don’t wait because it may sell out like last year!

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