“A.k.a. so many a.k.a.’s,” was Archy Marshall’s introduction before performing a DJ set in London under the pseudonym, Edgar the Breathtaker.
Popularly known by the stage name King Krule, Archy Marshall can’t be contained by a single identity and continues to defy what’s expected of him.
As King Krule, Marshall found success in 2013 with the release of 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. Upon listening, it's fairly shocking to realize that the lanky, pale young man can produce such a deep, serious, and velvety voice. Combined with brash, poetic verses, his tracks pack a punch of U.K. grit with lyrics ripped right from his life, sometimes in stream of consciousness.
With twanging guitar chords and thumping bass lines, songs like "A Lizard State" from 6 Feet have the foundations of contemporary rock but are mixed with jazzy saxophones riffs and Marshall’s punkish delivery.
Even at the time of his album debut, Marshall was already determined to push further. "I'll be fully suited out with all this vinyl I've created," he told The Guardian, which asked him about future releases. "I want to get more and more sophisticated. I'm ready to go from being a kid to being a king."
Ironically he hasn't had another release as King Krule since but he’s been making plenty of music under other aliases that all dip into different genres.
Using his real name, Archy Marshall released A New Place 2 Drown in 2015. For this album he trades the guitar in for audio software and MPCs. A contemporary R&B medley with blends of underground hip hop and house music, the album is a departure from the rock vibes of 6 Feet.
Archy Marshall can’t be contained by a single identity and continues to defy what’s expected of him.
In August 2016, under the moniker The Return of Pimp Shrimp, Marshall released the chilled out, disco-esque song, “Feel Safe 88 (just say no).” With funky, analog piano chords and wavy synths, the track gives the impression that it was released decades ago, sitting somewhere in a basement vinyl collection.
As King Krule, it's easy to see how Marshall was influenced by The Clash and The Pixies, but for his alternative projects like Edgar the Beatmaker, it's clear that he’s also fond of hip hop, garage, and electronic production. Yet all of his music combines different styles and genres, making them all one of a kind.
Some musicians meet conflict when dabbling outside of the genre that gave them popularity. Yet, for artists like Archy Marshall, there is a necessity to evolve, grow, and resist complacency—and his fans love it.