Carl Marsh speaks to Roy Stride, frontman of pop-rock juggernaut Scouting For Girls, about the band’s revitalising cover album and his stance on the modern-day music landscape.
Your latest album Easy Cover chiefly consists of covers of 1980s songs. What was the reasoning behind doing it?
Roy Stride: The idea reared its ugly head about a decade ago, on a long tour bus drive back through Wales, I think, as we’d come back from Ireland, and it was a very late night, early morning tour bus party. We may have been dancing along to Phil Collins’ Serious Hits… Live!, in our pants… and somebody mentioned that we should do a cover of Easy Lover. Then somebody else said, “you could do a whole album of 80s songs, and call it Easy Cover” – which at 4.30am sounded fun, but wasn’t so funny when we woke up the next day.
But when lockdown happened, we went back to that idea, and it seemed like, just roll with it. Scouting For Girls has always been about nostalgia and escapism, in terms of what we write about and how we make people feel. It felt like the right album at the right time.
People do need that escapism, especially after the last year or so. I can see your three dates in Wales as big nights out that you and the fans will embrace.
Mate, I couldn’t have put it any better. We’re so excited to get out there and play, and precisely that – to give people the party they deserve after this last shitshow of a year.
We’ve come out of lockdown really inspired. Because we did this cover album, we’ve got tonnes and tonnes of original stuff, so as soon as this tour is done we’re straight back in the studio, with an original album planned for next year. I’m probably more excited about music and recording and touring now than I’ve ever been, ever in my life.
Also, next year is our 15th anniversary, so we’re trying to work out a couple of fun birthday type parties for ourselves. But our focus at the moment is just this tour. We want it to be like a greatest hits tour on steroids! It has to be the biggest and best party that we can do, and that’s what we’re really focused on.
In that 15 years, you, Roy, have written songs for the likes of The Vamps, One Direction, McBusted and 5 Seconds Of Summer, to name a few, but what is your take on the current crop of offerings that you hear on the radio or TV these days?
I am a big fan of some of it, and then some of it is not my sort of… you know, we come from an old school band background, so I love indie guitar bands. But I love my pop music, and I wrote some amazing acoustic indie-pop songs. There are amazing artists coming out; one is called The Lathums. They are a bit like The Housemartins meets The Charlatans. Really great! So I’m hoping that will maybe bring a new wave of indie guitar music – which every year somebody says is going to come back, and then it never does. Which is good because it means we still have a job. [Laughs]
There’s just so much music right now. Anyone can record something on a laptop and put it on Spotify. So it’s hard to know what to listen to – what’s good, what’s not. And it’s so hard for bands and artists to break through. For ourselves, it’s a fantastic thing because 10 years ago, if a band was played on the radio, everyone knew about it. Now, people listen to the radio, but they also listen to Spotify, stream stuff on YouTube; there’s just so much choice that a band could be hammered on the radio, yet half the people in the country would have no idea who they are. So, we come from the era where we were one of the last bands you couldn’t get away from [laughter], which we’re very grateful for.
Scouting For Girls play Patti Pavilion, Swansea, Wed 29 Sept. Tickets: £25. Info: here; The Tivoli, Buckley [relocated from William Aston Hall, Wrexham], Thurs 30 Sept. Tickets: £25. Info: here; Pavilion Mid Wales, Llandrindod Wells, Fri 22 Oct. Tickets: £32. Info: here
words CARL MARSH
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