Here it, ladies and gentlemen: The final part of our duality of journalistic pieces, an insight into the lives of The Strypes. Everything from what they do, where they go, what they eat is here, (probably not the latter, actually). I hope you’re still sat comfortably in your bespoke chair, and that you’re still planted in your best reading slippers, because it’s here, and hopefully you’re ready for it.
Sit down, (or don’t, I’m not your boss), and have a lovely natter with Evan Walsh, featuring ‘Teenage Kicks’, Paul Weller and laser-discs.
So the first track you lads played together was The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’. Is that right?
That’s very true. That’s one of the first songs we learnt. Maybe it’s a particularly Irish thing, but since it’s come out, it’s been the main teenage thing to learn.
If there was a ‘Teenage Kicks’ for the modern day, (if there is such a thing), are there any tracks you’d suggest?
I don’t know really. Even with the young bands I see come around now, ‘Teenage Kicks’ is still the ‘Teenage Kicks’; I’ve seen bands that are younger than us doing it: Maybe it’s a garage band staple. You get these songs that are kind of eternal- it’s a simple riff, but it also happens to be a great song.
Moments like that, as with ‘Teenage Kicks’, you hit on maybe once every 100/150 years, where the absolute distilled essence of the main components of the song are, at their core, genius. You just need that part, that really anthemic thing, that sustains the song. You’re not listening to ‘Teenage Kicks’ wondering ‘why didn’t they put in a really complicated bridge?’. You could listen to it on repeat, and it still doesn’t lose its genius. Maybe that’s the essence of a great song…
It’s not aged at all, has it?
Not at all. Music should be utterly eternal. Its purpose in life is to be ageless, unless its referring to a really specific niche, the whole point on a core, soul-stirring level is to be eternal; whether it’s from the 1930s or the nineties. It should seem like the song exists in its own existential bubble that you can tap into and enjoy. When recording music, you’re basically saying ‘let’s make this ageless’, because there’s an official, actual document of it that you can listen to whenever you want.
Pleasingly enough, young bands are drawn from music from all over the place. With things like Spotify, music is more ageless than it’s ever been; the entire history of recorded music is on tap. You could be listening to The Smiths, or you could be listening to Procol Harum, and you don’t need to know where it’s from, just whether you like it or not.
You don’t need to get into any of the cultural context…
Exactly. And if they have cool haircuts, that’s great.
The big recent news is that you lads are supporting Paul Weller. How’s that come about? Was it to do with Josh’s contributions to Weller’s past album?
He has indeed, his past two albums. He plays on three tracks on A Kind Revolution. That was incredibly exciting, as were massive Weller and The Jam fans; it’s music that’s always been around us, and its music we’ve always loved- You’d be a fool to think he’s anything other than a genius. There was a 25th Anniversary of Jools Holland’s ‘Later…’ recently, and they had an A to Z compilation programme, with its own Weller section. He’s a song writing and music legend.
We’re delighted to be involved on the tour, and amazed to be honest. We’ve worked with him a few times, he produced an EP we did back in 2014, and he was such a great presence in the studio. His enthusiasm with a track was boundless; if he liked a track, he got behind it, there was no stopping him from throwing around ideas. It was a very informative time in the studio for us- we said it was the most fun we’ve had in the studio for a long time, working with another fella who loved music and had such enthusiasm for it, so working on tour with him is great.
Were you ever star struck in the studio?
Oh completely, every fifteen minutes. You’d be working away thinking ‘Paul’s suggesting this…’, and stop, going ‘wait, which Paul are we talking about?’.
Aside from this brief break, you lads really don’t mess around with your touring schedule. Apart from the Weller gigs, which date are you most looking forward to?
There’s a lot to look forward to. There’s the UK tour, that we don’t get to do very often. It’s often quite a fleeting moment, we don’t usually get to kick back and enjoy it, they usually pass you by with the day to day grind of things. Then we remember that when we started playing music, this is exactly what we want to do.
We’ve had some amazing gigs around the North of England, and it gets the healthiest form of rowdy. We like that brand of mayhem; sometimes people think they’re too cool, and we don’t like people getting too complacent during a gig. We never have that problem in the UK though, the audiences are always very full-on from the moment we walk out, and that’s the entire joy of the gig, building that musical and physical banter.
The tour finishes in London, and the following morning, we’re flying to America, which is absolutely surreal. We’re doing four shows on the West Coast (LA, San Francisco, San Diego and Portland), which is exciting because we’ve not had a chance to get to America recently. The last tours were really successful, we even managed to get on Letterman and had a brilliant time on our month-long jaunt. We’re looking forward to reaffirming ourselves, and we want to do a longer tour at some point next year. Then we’ve got Japan in November as well, so that’ll be interesting.
How are the Japan crowds, especially with the live EP?
That was actually totally decided without our involvement. We flew over to do the gigs, and while we were over there, the label decided to put out the second Tokyo show. We gave it a listen to make sure it didn’t have too many mistakes, and that was it.
We were really happy with it though, it’s always been the kind of thing I’ve wanted to put out. It’s a rough and ready recording, but it’s all the better for it.
I think with the effort that you guys put in to the visual aspect of your performance, a DVD or laserdisc might be better.
My preferred option would be the laserdisc. You’d get the full gist of it with some visuals married to it. Hopefully we’ll do some before we’re much older.
What’s on the horizon for The Strypes then?
Hopefully a new EP at the end of October, that’ll be four new tracks. We were doing that during the week and we dug into the production a little more. We found that EPs are great little testing grounds to try new ideas, and we had a lot of fun messing around with the songs. It’s interesting too, because we recorded the third album nearly a year ago, so it’s great to see the changes between them.
Then there’ll be so much touring throughout the UK, America and Japan. We’re doing some Irish shows in December, then in January we’ve got some European dates announced, (our first European tour in over year, actually). Then Weller in February, and hopefully back to America in the subsequent months. Then we’ll have a long think about what the crack is…
So there it is, the gripping conclusion has come and gone- it’s in the history books, now resigned to the past. Hopefully you can move on from this. To help, perhaps get yourself over the band’s Facebook and their fabulous site, now that this two-part extravaganza has concluded. Check out the first half, and feast your eyes upon our review of the lads’ set at Manchester’s Neighbourhood Festival. Keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming bangers, it’ll be your loss if you miss them. Check their site for their upcoming tour dates across the US, Ireland, Japan and Europe, and get yourself ready for some spectacular dates in February with the Modfather himself. Ta-ra now.
Featured image courtesy of APB, header courtesy of The Strypes’ Facebook page.