King Of The North

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King Of The North


Officially King Of The North is a Melbourne band now, although both guitarist/vocalist Andrew Higgs and drummer/vocalist Danny Leo are both Adelaide boys originally. Higgs has been based in Melbourne for years now, while Leo finally made the move earlier this year. “It was just a side project,” Higgs says. “I had this idea for how to make one guitar sound like a lot more, to make a two-piece band sound like a four or five piece band. I went back to Adelaide one time and showed Leo.” Over the next year or so the two went about their respective musical projects, but eventually the lure of the new sound Higgs was cooking up became too strong. “I went back for a couple of weeks over Christmas in 2010 and we hunkered down in my studio at my mum’s place.” A friend came over, heard the tracks and offered the duo a gig. “Then another friend came to the gig and said, ‘You guys should come over and record while you’re here.’ So it started as a little mess-around during a two-week Christmas holiday, and ended up as a band, a gig and a CD.” 

So exactly what’s happening inside Higg’s guitar rig to create these layers of sound? That’s a bit of a secret. “Y’know, I can’t give you all the ingredients of the cake,” he says. “It’s kind of like the Colonel’s secret 11 herbs and spices. Basically I run one guitar and I split the signal into three amps. One of them is a bass amp. And by doing what I do, with loop pedals and splitters and things, I can make the one amp sound like a lead guitar, one sound like a bass and the other one sound like a rhythm guitar, all from one guitar. Then with a powerhouse drummer like Leo it’s a pretty powerhouse sound for two dudes.”

Despite having such a complex set-up, Higgs prefers to stomp on his own pedals when he needs them, rather than using some kind of automated MIDI setup. “I tell ya’ what, there’s a bit of tap-dancing going on with the pedals, but it’s just like anything: with a bit of practice you get it down.” Along the way there have been a few close calls with the possibility of technology-inspired spontaneous composition, as it were. “It was hard last year. We never actually got to jam. We would literally have a brush-over in my lounge-room with Danny tapping his drumsticks on my couch and me with an acoustic guitar just to refresh the songs. But now that we’re actually here we can actually jam, so I don’t have to think about it as much.”

Next up for the band is the Rock N Load festival at the Espy. “It’s the inaugural one and all I can say is I’m looking forward to it,” Higgs says. It’ll be a bit of a homecoming for King Of The North: the band recently held a residency in the iconic venue’s front bar, so they’re eager to return to the hallowed halls of the Espy. Another recent gig highlight was their slot supporting the one and only Cold Chisel. “That was awesome. I’m a big Aussie rock fan and I love a lot of old bands, as a lot of Aussie rock fans do! But it was such an honour. It was a pretty emotional experience, but from a band point of view it was just awesome. I was sceptical because a Cold Chisel crowd in my mind was more of a ‘we go to hear the songs we know’ kind of crowd, but they welcomed us with open arms. It was pretty intense, being a pub band then walking out into Festival Hall. We were the only support act and the place was pretty much packed. Two to three thousand people on the floor. We got back to our dressing room and Jimmy Barnes was there saying, ‘It was fucking great!’ It was an awesome experience. I was actually under the weather at the time so I was dosed up on all sorts of prescription medications to get through the gig. It was a rollercoaster of a show but a great opportunity and a complete honour.”

Next up for the band is a full length album, to follow up the tracks recorded over those two weeks in Adelaide. Those songs are available for free download from the band’s website (, and Higgs is looking forward to being able to get something new out there, especially now that the band has the luxury of working more closely together instead of cramming creative outbusts into interstate sojourns.