Melbourne band with one of our legendary Adelaide members, Palace of the King, are launching their second album, Valles Marineris this month.
Touring the east coast, as well as a show here at the Crown and Anchor on Friday September 9, Palace of the King will then head off to Europe to celebrate the new record over there.
Made up of Tim Henwood (vocals), Leigh Maden (guitar), Matt Harrison (guitars), Andrew Gilpin (bass), Sean Johnston (keys) and newest recruit, Adelaide’s Travis Dragani (drums), Palace of the King formed in late 2012 and have been making waves on the Aussie and international music circuits ever since.
Commitment to the band, focused motivation and a strong work ethic are the elements that attracted Travis to the band and the reason everyone is talking about POTK.
“There’s just so much happening with this band,” Travis says. “The second album has just come out in Europe and getting some pretty decent reviews over there, and over here. These guys are focused on taking it as far as they can. In Adelaide, I’ve been in heaps of bands, and it’s been pretty cool just cruising along, but everyone is also in other bands as well.
“With Palace of the King, everyone is just in this band and really committed, so I have locked myself down to this. That’s hard for me to do, because I’m always in four or five different bands and projects, so this is new for me. But the music is great, the guys are great and the songs are really great. It’s good playing big shows with a great bunch of guys. It’s a lot of fun.”
Having known the band for a while, through the music scene, Travis was thrilled when the stars aligned for him to join POTK.
“I’ve known Tim for a long time and when I was in Angels of Gung Ho, I brought Palace of the King over here a few times, because we had a friendship with them. I always thought they’d be a great band to be in because they’re always moving and always doing stuff. And just by chance last year, their drummer threw the towel in. I was actually going to do a couple of fill in gigs for them at the start of this year, and they asked what I thought about joining the band and it took me half a second to make my decision! We all get along so well and we all like the same music,” he says.
“Having lived in Melbourne for nine years, we all knew the same people and played the same clubs. We have so much in common and the songs are so good; the way these guys are charging ahead is so good. They started at the end of 2012 and they’ve cracked 300 plus shows at the start of this year. That’s doing the hard yards. That’s perfect for me. I was playing in a lot of bands in Adelaide because bands here don’t play as often as that, so I was trying to keep myself busy. When I saw Palace of the King, I thought, that’s a band that does exactly what I want to do.”
A major drawcard for Travis was that POTK were releasing a constant stream of music – a trait of the hardworking bands of the ‘70s, of which he is a huge fan.
“I joined in January when this album was already finished, so we have already started writing the new album. The weekend the album was being released, we were in the studio writing the new one. That’s what I mean about these guys; they work hard. They’re always an album ahead,” he says.
“If we’re not releasing something new, we’re writing something new. We’re always ploughing ahead. We’re all fans of the bands of the 1970s and that’s how they did it. They would record an album, go on tour, come home for two weeks to record an album and go on tour. Bands like Kiss and AC/DC had an album out every year in the ‘70s. We want to do that. We know we won’t get radio play; we won’t be played on Triple M or Nova, so if we keep ploughing ahead and putting records out, people will hear our music.”
After the Australian tour to launch the album is complete, Palace of the King will set off for Europe, where they will be welcomed warmly by a legion of devoted fans.
“From what I’ve heard, people jumped on board and the shows got bigger as they went on,” Travis says. “Last time they were there, the first album wasn’t even out, so this time we’re going back with two albums out and this new album is getting rave reviews over there. On social media, people are hanging for us to get over there!”
“I’ve seen some footage of shows over there where people are crowd surfing and stuff. People were just vibing on it and calling for three or four encores! I have had to learn the entire back catalogue so we can do those encores and play two-hour shows. I’m hanging to do shows like that. I’ve played in Europe a few times before and it’s always good, but I’m looking forward to playing gigs where crowds are going nuts. That’ll be fun.”
But before that, the guys will treat their hometowns to a heap of new music, and a huge celebration of their latest record.
“We’re going to be playing a lot of songs off the new album, so it’ll be good to play new stuff and people are looking forward to hearing the new songs. The Cranka is always fun, and we’ve got some really cool bands who are playing with us. Kitchen Witch are awesome and Somnium, who Spoz put me on to, well, I haven’t seen them live, but I’ve heard great reports about them and they just won a battle of the bands, so they’re a young band and I’m hanging to play with those guys,” Travis says.
“It’ll be some good, old fashioned pub rock you can sing, dance and let loose to, and it’s free!”
There’s plenty of great reasons to check out Palace of the King on Friday, September 9 at Crown & Anchor, and you can grab the new album from their website.
By Libby Parker