Scouting For Girls

Jack Howson | Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Scouting For Girls

Roy and the boys chat moon landings, dolly mixture, and a few strong words about obese dogs and their owners ahead of the release of their brand new single, 'Famous', on 12th July.

Scouting For Girls, I've brought you some dolly mixture. I wanted to ingratiate myself.


Greg Churchouse (bass): Ladies and Gentleman, we have a wiener.

Great. The new single is 'Famous'. Can you describe it in words that you haven't used before, not even to yourselves?

Roy Stride (vocals, keys, guitar): Mime? I'm going to really struggle to use terms I haven't used before. It is probably our most poppy song yet. It was going to be our first single off the album, but never was. I don't know why. It was the song that Pete always said was going to be number one.

Pete Ellard (percussion): I still stand by that, yeah. Good to go.

RS: But we released 'This Ain't A Love Song', and that became a massive hit as well. This is our most obvious, biggest pop song we've done so far, ever.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is a celebration of reality TV/celebrity culture. That isn't necessarily a view that artists are supposed to have.

GS: We're not your normal artists.

RS: It is a celebration of reality TV and that genre, or maybe more a comment on it. I was trying to do The Buggles' 'Video Killed The Radio Star', both thematically and musically. That to me is probably one of the best ever pop songs, and I was trying to do one of the best ever pop songs.

But you enjoy your reality TV?

RS: Yeah. I love the good stuff. I love a bit of X Factor, bit of Big Brother. The crap stuff is crap.

Tess Daly, Kate Thornton or Holly Willoughby?

RS & GC: HOLLY WILLOUGHBY.

PE: Can we have all three?

The single uses James Dean as a touchstone. Why does that sort of figure appeal to you?

RS: It doesn't exist anymore, that mystique around pop artists or movie stars. Everyone is on Twitter, everyone bares everything in every interview. If you are away for a couple of years, you will reappear on a reality show.

GC: I don't think James Dean would have sold his wedding photos to Hello.

RS: He probably would have.

Because the thing about James Dean, obviously, is that he died very young. In your private moments, do you ever imagine Scouting For Girls dying and being turned into a romantic legend? Maybe in a bus crash?

GC: NO. No. Thanks a lot man, we have to go on buses all the time.

RS Definitely not.

PE: It's not very romantic on the N13.

I'm sure you travel in a nicer bus than that. You genuinely never fantasise about your own death? I thought everyone did.

RS: No, we don't. I think that is maybe just you.

GC: Perhaps you could use therapy.

Does it frustrate you to be perennially linked to manufactured pop and reality stars? People are always saying, "Leona Lewis. Jedward. Scouting For Girls."

GC: Are they?

RS: The thing is that we get to be two different things, playing Party In The Park and then doing V Festival, it's great. I always thought we were a rock band who do pop songs.

You do have some fairly harsh critics, though, and some fairly unsavoury things said about you. You must have developed pretty, pretty thick skin?

RS: You need thick skin to live with these two. We are our own harshest critics.

GC: Yeah, you should hear the things that we say about Roy.

PE: And that is just when he is about!

RS: It really doesn't bother us. We get to go around the world playing and making music. If you are going to be as successful as we are, on such a big scale, you are going to be as equally hated. I remember Coldplay always having this issue, the biggest band in the country. Chris Martin would come on the radio and say, "everybody hates us". You always find people who hate you, or who will just be against whatever is popular.

Your record company asked you to go back into the studio to rework your second album. I heard a rumour that it was because you were originally pursuing a more esoteric, dubsteppy direction. True?

GC: What's 'dubsteppy'?

RS: Like, dancey. No, we put together about 20 demos and played it to our managers and the record label. They came back and said, "we think you can do better".

GC: It was awesome.

RS: We wanted to get it out almost a year ago. The record label said, "look, you don't need to rush things". Usually it would be the other way round, they would make hay while the sun shines, but our label were really cool. We reworked a lot of the songs, and came up with a couple of others that are potential singles. You get to a certain level and people just say, "everything's brilliant, that's a smash". It was good to know that nobody gave a fuck about that. It's amazing to have those sort of people.

You've very often said that most second records are rubbish. Which are the worst?

RS: There are a few good ones. What's The Story, Morning Glory?, The Bends. I'm trying to think of the most rubbish. They are the same album as the first, but without the big songs. Or the music goes off in a different direction. I thought The Fratellis' second album was disappointing. Now they've split up I feel I can say that. It is fucking hard, the second album, that's the thing. Everyone knows who they are, but the last thing you need is for another band to knock it.

Can I ask how old you are?

RS: I'm 30.

GC: ...

PE: ...

Do you ever wake up in a sweat and think, 'oh God, I don't have a real job'?

GC: Yeah!

RS: When we didn't have a record deal I did, but I love doing every aspect of this. When you are 26, 27, and still doing part-time jobs - not only do you have no money but you have shitloads of debt and nowhere proper to live - that is when you think about it. All we wanted to do was make music for a living.

Do you have an age in mind when you will be too old to be Scouting For Girls?

PE: About 22, isn't it?

RS: You're regressing.

GC: Never. NEVER.

RS: No. We're on our second album. I was watching that Blur documentary last night ...

Oh, me too ...

RS: You watched it last night?

Yeah. Well, I have about 10 minutes of it to go.

PE: They all die in the end. Sorry to spoil it for you.

RS: Blur were together for like 15 years, on their seventh album. For us, everything is still really fucking exciting. We're just going to do it and enjoy it.

PE: Once you start losing the interest that is when it is time to call it a day.

Like top flight footballers.

RS: Oh, I disagree with that. That really fucks me off. Paul Scholes, what is that about? I don't think you can retire from international football if your country wants you.

The reason I ask the age of retirement question is that the most important aspect of being in a band these days is the reformation tour. Do you have a date in your diaries for the reformation?

PE: It's a Tuesday I think.

GC: When I'm fifty.

RS: We are really excited about the whole creative side of making great pop music. It is like hanging out on one big, long holiday, with loads of free beer. It is fucking great.

GC: You don't want to retire from that.

RS: The only reason we would split up is because we'd done so badly that we had to, just so we could get back together in a couple of years time.

Roy Stride, you got a First in English Literature, is that right?

RS: Yes

Your songs are quite literal. Are you ever tempted towards a more poetical vein?

RS: I honestly didn't think about my lyrics at all on the first album. It is only on this record that I have started studying songwriting, and realised how important a great lyric was. I don't think I am going to start doing Shakespearean Iambic Pentameters, but I think you can write a great pop lyric. I'd love to be able to do that, I'd love to develop. There's so many things that we can do in this band, there are no creative limitations. There is no-one who is going to say no to what we are doing. We've got such strong pop sensibilities that we can really push a boundary as far as we want, and still come back to a three-minute pop song that sounds good on the radio.

I've got a theory about She's So Lovely. Massive hit. I think that song has a subtext.

RS: Ok

And the subtext is, that you - like many other boys - have detected manifestations of the Oedipus Complex in yourself, and you are using the song to resolve that. Because obviously it is very dangerous if you don't resolve those feelings.

GC: Again, I think that says more about you than it does us.

RS: That is brilliant. That is the best. That is not something I had thought of myself, no.

GC: Oedipus! You dirty bastard.

RS: Maybe subconsciously. Freud would say that subconsciously that was why the song was a great success.

You have some ingenious rhymes. Is that a natural gift or a rhyming dictionary?

RS: To be honest, the ones which are the most ridiculous just come to me. I do use a rhyming dictionary, a thesaurus, whatever tools you can use as a songwriter. I always find that when you start doing that it becomes laboured, and it takes you away from writing good lyrics.

I have some quickfire questions for you: Presuming England are first choice, who is Scouting For Girls' second team in the World Cup?

PE: Holland. Very placid people.

What was the last music that you paid for?

GC: Plan B

RS: I bought the current Alicia Keys single.

That song has a great video. She revives a dead dog.

PE: Really? Kinky.

Have you ever met Matt le Tissier or the Cheeky Girls?

GC: No and no.

PE: I think we've seen the Cheeky Girls somewhere, but never met. We recorded in Rye, which is where the Cheeky Girls are from.

I thought they were from Transylvania.

RS: They live in Kent.

Who did you vote for in the last election?

RS: I voted Lib Dem.

PE: I voted for these two guys.

Could you ever see yourself in a relationship with Courtney Love?

GC: Yeah, possibly.

PE: A business relationship?

GC: No. Not business.

Should local councils confiscate obese dogs from their owners?

RS: No, no, no. I don't want any more fucking money being spent on stupid things like that.

GC: I think there should be more money spent on stupid things like that.

PE: I think we should take away obese owners.

Do you think Meat Is Murder?

RS: I do. That is why I am not eating those dolly mixtures, they've got gelatine in them. I was 176th Most Fanciable Vegetarian on the PETA website. (To publicist) We should work on that.

PE: I didn't know that. Well done.

GC: Pat on the back.

Have you ever seduced a young lady or a young gentleman to a soundtrack of Scouting For Girls?

GC: I can think of a lot of things more romantic.

PE: We have no slow numbers, they are all up-tempo, so ... no.

RS: You're not what you used to be.

Were the moon landings faked?

PE: I don't think they were. What's the point in faking it? It would cost more to fake it.

GC: How would it cost more? It would cost more to fake it than to fly to the fucking moon?

RS: I think we should end the interview there.

And so it was, the boys that are Scouting For Girls took what was left of their dolly mixture and made off for the bus back home.

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