3 albums released, 6 years into their career and The Strypes are still only 20-22 years old.
The Strypes kickstarted their career back in 2012 when they released their self-produced EP, ‘Young, Gifted & Blue’. Releasing the blues covers whilst still at school, the talented group were completely unaware that this would later turn into world-wide recognition.
Fast forwarding to 2017, the quartet are now 3 albums in following the release of ‘Spitting Image’ in June, and we managed to catch-up with them ahead of their set at The Sugarmill last night.
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One thing that has always been a burning question for me, but never had the right band to ask, is that by starting their music careers earlier and at a much younger age compared to other bands, does it feel like they had a head start?
Peter O’Hanlon (Bass), Evan Walsh (Drums) & Ross Farrelly (Lead Vocals), sat down with us and delved back into the times when they were new to their music careers. “Looking back then we didn’t really know what was happening. We knew how we wanted to look and how we wanted to be, but didn’t really understand fully what was going on”, Peter recalled, “We didn’t question anything, ‘you’re going to be on Jools Holland, you’re going to America then Japan’, we just took it in our stride, not really recognising it for what it was at the time.”
Evan then explained, “We are constantly living in the moment on whatever our latest project is and we will always have something else to chase and go after.”. It came apparent to me that they don’t see it as a head-start, if anything, it just sounds like they got the ‘break’ every band is after. Just a little earlier than expected.
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The Strypes’ third album, ‘Spitting Image’, has only been released in the past few months and features singles, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ & ‘Great Expectations’. Having undergone the LP-release experience multiple times, they explained how each release was different. ‘Snapshot’ (debut album) was “very much done on the fly, we were a buzz band being taken here, there and everywhere, whilst still doing the album. We would often be in the studio for 4-5 day chunks and nothing was ever done in sequence. It was a weird feeling.”
The second album, ‘Little Victories’, was done “even more disjointed. It was more sketchy as to what we were going to produce each week. We would mainly be in the studio 1 week every month for about 4 months. Which isn’t really a satisfying way to do anything.” Evan adds; “Our latest album, was the first time that we actually were held up in a studio for 4 weeks non-stop with a producer and made the album everyday. That was our most ‘typical-band’ album experience, but for us it’s our most recent.”
Asking them which out of the three they preferred, they were quick to announce that the latest, residential method was most effective. With a band’s calendar being relatively similar each year (by working around festival-season), The Strypes mentioned that by having some sort of routine, it’s easier.
Meeting Their Heroes
The Strypes over the years have managed to perform at gigs with incredible acts such as, Arctic Monkeys, The Courteeners & Miles Kane to name a few. Worked with highly acclaimed record producer Chris Thomas (who has formerly worked with The Beatles and Sex Pistols), signed to Sir Elton Johns management company, Rocket Music, and also have Jeff Beck, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Dave Grohl and Roger Daltrey as fans.
With such connections as those, it is intriguing to find out which ‘meet’ they hold closest to their hearts. “We did a mental night about a few months ago, Hot Press Magazine were launching a 40th Anniversary exhibition and we went along as guests and played that night.” said Peter O’Hanlon. “We were then invited by The Boomtown Rats to go along with them to their show at The Olympia Theatre. We’re mad fans of them as it is, but we are then stood stage-side and they just bring us on to perform a song of theirs with them. It was a dream come true! And to have Bob Geldof saying, ‘The greatest Irish band around at the moment are The Strypes’, as we walked on stage was a brilliant and an amazing moment.”
Another great moment that the band recalled was when they saw The Undertones. Twice they have seen the band, and both times they dedicated ‘Teenage Kicks’ to them on stage.
With an unreal amount of live performances from tours, supporting other bands, and being invited on stage with The Boomtown Rats, we asked them to pick a favourite…
Surprisingly it was a recent occasion. “In June gone by, we played Dingwalls and I think we really hit the nail on the head. The crowd were really up for it and we just showed everyone what the deal was. For ages we have always stood by the idea of wanting to just play Dingwalls as it is one of the greatest venues still going. Loads of bands we love would have played there at some point too, so the fact that our gig there was absolutely insane made it really special.”
It’s great to see that 6 years into their career, The Strypes are still being surprised by their own gigs. It is no lie that when they released their debut album in 2013, they had an unreal amount of traction and support. Now although it may seem like they have ‘dropped off the radar’ since then, I completely disagree. As they said, around the time of ‘Snapshot’, they were a buzz band, but it was that buzz that gave them their loyal fanbase. It is what catapulted them on towards some amazing experiences that many bands can only dream of.
I got the sense that the band knew that original buzz had sloped off during the interview, and in a way possibly concerned them. Although this ideology was wiped out completely when they came on stage and made The Sugarmill their own. The Strypes were a sensation back in 2011-12. And they still are!
The Strypes are set to head out on a UK tour.
O2 Academy Birmingham – October 4th
Newcastle University – October 5th
The Garage, Glasgow – October 6th
Neighbourhood Festival – October 7th
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds – October 9th
Thekla, Bristol – October 10th
Concorde 2, Brighton – October 11th
Electric Brixton – October 12th