Busking is a much-loved London tradition, even more so when it comes to the London Underground. With upset caused over a recent ban on unlicenced buskers in Camden, there is growing support for campaigns like #BackBusking to encourage artists to continue making music for us all to enjoy.
Interview: The King’s Parade
In 2013, The King’s Parade won the Eurostar prize in the Mayor of London’s Gigs competition, which sees hundreds of musicians performing throughout the summer on the Tube and at leading venues in the capital. Launching this year’s competition earlier this month, the band headed to Paris for a busking gig.
Returning to a cafe near their base in Cricklewood, Sam Rooney, 23, keyboard and backing vocals, Ollie Corpe, 22, lead vocals and guitar, Chris Brent, 24, drums, and Tom English, 22, bass, shuffle in and sit around a table to share their experiences.
Sam said: “We were at Cornbury Festival last year, which led to the Troubadour gig in November and then Ronnie Scott’s. It’s been great to play such iconic venues in London.”
Rather than playing up to the industry’s current obsession with boy bands – think One Direction, The Vamps, and 5 Seconds of Summer – The King’s Parade tend to focus on a soul-filled sound that belies their age.
This is becoming a bit of a trend with artists including Tom Odell, Jake Bugg and the Ruen Brothers opting for a more mature sound.
“I find we lean a bit more towards soul, but it’s nice to see that focus on lyric-based music is coming back,” Ollie explained.
“You’d be surprised how much the visual aspect of our band can often have an effect on the audience. People walk past us on the street and shout, ‘One Direction!’”
The mood takes a darker turn when the band are asked about Camden Council’s decision that requires buskers to buy annual licences.
Under the new regulation, which came into force on March 24, anyone caught busking without a licence could be fined up to £1,000 and have their instruments confiscated.
“That was a big blow for us,” Ollie added.
“It affects our earnings quite a lot because although we have part-time jobs, a lot of our earnings come from busking in Camden.”
Chris said: “To be able to fund tours we have to raise money and we have built up a really nice community down there.”
They have some hope for the Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s Back Busking campaign, which aims to support musicians across the capital.
“Hopefully, there’ll be some substance to the campaign, but I think it’ll take a while before we see any visible effects,” Tom added.
By Roisin O’Connor
Originally published in Barnet Press, website: www.barnet-today.co.uk