When Scouting For Girls emerged in the mid-00s, they weren’t quite the polished, manufactured-type boy band many quickly assumed.
Having been playing together for years, the London three-piece’s smash breakthrough ‘She’s So Lovely’ was in fact the culmination of several different acts with similar personnel and years on the stage, going way back to 1995.
Their journey since has been an undulating one: huge hit shows in front of thousands, followed by a fading from chart popularity that left a massive cult following behind. That cult following is significant enough to have Roy Stride, Greg Churchouse and Peter Ellard releasing a blend of originals and cover music to this day, as they explore a career based heavily on a simple idea: make it a whole lot of fun.
“Our new album was an escape from lockdown, and a nostalgic look back to the past while everything else was falling apart,” Stride tells us on new record ‘Easy Cover’, which is predominantly a collection of 80s cover tracks. “It was also a response to having a studio booked and someone wasn’t able to come. I didn’t have any songs ready to go, so I started recording.”
“The actual idea came when we were traveling back from Dublin on a night time tour bus journey, and playing a Phil Collins live album, singing along to ‘Easy Lover’, and someone said it’d be great to do a load of 80s covers, so we did it. It went in a box of world’s worst ideas ever, until lockdown, and then we did something with it.”
“I tried to do a cool, synthy, Spotify friendly version of these covers, and I just put it back on the shelf. It ended up being fun instead. I think it’s classic Scouting For Girls, that when the 80s was quite cool ten years ago, we weren’t doing anything. Now it’s the 90s that are quite cool, and that’s our era, here we are releasing an album of 80s covers. We’re alway a decade behind the trend.”
The year off, naturally, has been strange all round and had plenty of impacts on musicians. “I reassessed my whole relationship with music,” Stride says. “It had got quite stale. I was writing for other bands I didn’t even like, or who weren’t very good. I’d lost a bit of the love and passion.”
“During lockdown I fixed my turntable and started buying some vinyl, and fell completely head over heels in love with music again, the stuff I grew up with, lots of 60s stuff, I went through the Beatles again. The 60s stuff is just so infectious and fun.”
“Take something like Yellow Submarine, which is bonkers. Try and imagine never having heard that before. It’s just so fun, so joyful. I hadn’t felt that way about music for a long time. I’ve always loved my job, but I did lose that passion for a while, and I’ve found it again now. In a strange way, this whole process has been a creative rebirth for us.”
“It’s been a long road and we still sometimes feel like we’re getting away with it, and we’re happy to keep that pretense up for a bit longer,” Stride laughs. “Every situation we went into, we thought we have to enjoy it, as it might never happen to us again. The recording studio, the first tour, the first TV show. We really appreciate everything. Even more after lockdown. We can’t wait to get back!”
Scouting for Girls play the Button Factory on November 28.