Zoe Godden sat down with Greg and Pete from Scouting For Girls to chat about their long careers, Christmas music and their wish to be James Bond (just for the day)…
Q: Hey guys, thanks for chatting with us! How are you finding Newcastle?
Greg: It’s been quite nice, I had an early start today at 11am [laughs].
Pete: This venue [The O2 Academy] is probably the one we’ve played the most, this and Norwich. We were last here two years ago; we’ve done so many things in Newcastle over the years, we could probably recommend stuff to you guys.
Q: Ten years on, that’s quite a feat that you’re still going! Since 2007, you’ve done so many albums, including a Greatest Hits compilation, what’s it like for you now as a band since you’ve done so much this past decade?
Greg: No one’s more surprised than we are that we’re still here. I tell you what, it’s really nice now, because when you first start out there’s loads more pressure. You come off stage and analyse the gig, asking yourself what you did wrong or what could be better, whereas now you just get to relax and enjoy the gig a lot more – so much nicer.
Q: Do you find your live performances have changed much then?
Greg: Not really, I think we kind of know what type of band we are now.
Pete: We’ve got a few more songs to pull from, so that helps. I think the key to it is that we really love being on stage and that translates through to the crowd. Especially because Roy is amazing, jumping around the stage, he’s got so much energy.
Greg: Yeah, it’s just music that isn’t too complicated, it’s easy to dance about and sing along to, good old fashioned British pop.
Q: ‘She’s So Lovely’ is one of those songs where you can go on a night out in Newcastle and still hear it playing in some of the biggest clubs. When you first recorded that song, did you ever expect it ten years later to be played like it had just been released yesterday?
Pete: You never expect that with any of your songs, you make them because of what was going on at the time and that whole genre of music. It was a bit of a slow burn to start, but it ended up hanging round for ages and just took off, it was crazy. I think it’s actually still in the Top 100 of Spotify now, ten years later.
Q: That’s one of the things I like about your latest record, Ten Add Ten, which is that you looked back at your debut album to take inspiration and create new music. What kind of things were you trying to take from that?
Greg: I think for a good handful of the new songs, we looked at what grabbed people’s attentions in the first place, and trying to recreate that. Especially a lot of the fast paced stuff, most of the songs on that album are 160 BPM or more, so they’re really quite pacey. A lot of our newer stuff has been slower than that. We wanted to take it back to that high octane, super happy energy level that we think was the reason the album stuck around as long as it did.
Pete: I think as well, a lot of the quirkiness of the topics and the time and place it came out. This was around the time that you had bands like The Feeling, The Hoosiers; it really was a time when that kind of music kicked off big time.
Q: So was there any track in particular from that album that you found the most ‘inspirational’ in the writing process?
Greg: Not really, it was more kind of the ethos of the album that we tried to recreate. It’s hard because you don’t want to write something that’s too far away from what you normally do, but you don’t want to copy exactly what you’ve already done. So there is a fine line; as musicians you always want to advance and do different stuff as well, so it’s just keeping it within a certain boundary.
Q: You mentioned a couple of bands that got big when you first started, what are your thoughts on the music industry at the moment? Do you think there’s a place for bands similar to you to break out?
Pete: I think it’s the hardest thing in the world now. With things like Spotify and streaming, your music is accessible to anyone. When we did it, it was all about getting a record deal, whereas now, you’ve got social media and all of that to deal with.
Greg: And with that, it’s so much harder to get spotted, as there’s just a wealth of stuff out there and you need to stand out from everyone else. There’s always a place for music like us, it’s not a finite thing, there’s always space for new and old to intermingle. It’s really weird because when we started out, we had quite a teenage, early 20s type following, but we always had mums and dads at the back at the bar. And now it’s like, those people have kids, so they’re getting them into us, and we’ve got lots of young people at our gigs now as they can find us through streaming too.
Pete: We do a lot of Uni gigs now too, so we’ve got a lot of people coming who first heard us when they were kids and are still into us now.
Q: Do you all still wish you were James Bond, just for the day?
Pete: Yes! The amount of money those films take is ridiculous. I’ve heard it’s a really gruelling film schedule though.
Greg: A bit like being on tour then [laughs].
Q: So no contact as of yet to cover the next Bond theme?
Pete: To be honest, I’d love to do that, but it’ll probably be someone who’s massive at the time. Taylor Swift, or someone like that.
Greg: How about Ed Sheeran?
Q You’ve done a Christmas song before as well, ‘Christmas In The Air (Tonight)’, and it’s getting close to that time of year…
Pete: We’re actually releasing another one! I think we might just keep making Christmas songs until we reach number one again [laughs].
Q: Ooo, great to hear! Are you Christmas fans then?
Greg: I mean, we are now [laughs]. Me and Roy used to both work in shops before we got signed, and Christmas is just the worst time of the year, doing 12 hour shifts and only having Christmas Day off before going straight back to work. Now I don’t work around Christmas, and it’s amazing! I actually got my first real Christmas tree last year and everything, though I went a bit overboard as it was 7 ft tall and took up most of my living room.
Pete: I think for us, you don’t really get a lot of original Christmas songs, so we wanted to try to get away from that as they all just kind of sound the same.
Greg: Either that or you do like a John Lewis, where you take a classic song but sing it veeerrryyy ssllooowwwllyyy.
Pete: It is kind of a nice thing though, being a band that does a Christmas song every year.
Q: So bar the Michael Buble tactic, what else do you guys have plans for in the future?
Pete: Every year we don’t really know, we still get offers constantly though. Big festivals are still about, but a lot of these smaller, family orientated ones seem to be the ones we do really well at. They’re more local, you can get to them easier, they’re cheaper. Next year, we’ve got about 20 festivals already! For us, we just seem to keep going. We’ve been so lucky with our songs that we can just chop and change at all these types of gigs. We love doing this, and most of us are pretty much unemployable in anything else now!