Scouting for Girls
Fiona Doran 14/07/2007
The last few months have been a whirlwind for London band, Scouting for Girls. After signing to Epic Records earlier in the year their current release “It's not about you” has been single of the week for numerous radio shows resulting in heavy rotation. I caught up with the boys as they neared the end of their tour in Southampton and quizzed them on music, Michaela Strachan and the tragic closure of Fopp.
What's been the highlight of the year so far for Scouting for Girls?
Gregg: Getting signed!
Roy: Wireless was good also. We played the Thursday in Hyde Park and Saturday in Leeds. We played to a full tent which was cool.
G: I sneaked out to catch the Ghosts and Queens of the Stone Age who were really good.
How did you guys form as a band?
G: Me and Roy have been mates from first year in senior school and Roy and Pete have been mates since they were knee high to a grasshopper.
R: We've known each other as friends for a long time; I made Greg buy a guitar instead of computer. He could have been at home with his mum and dad playing computer games.
G: I'm still at home, playing computer games all day but just in a band, which makes it slightly cooler.
What did you listen to growing up and has it influenced your
R: We all have quite diverse music taste; the thing we like is good songs. I grew up listening to sixties and seventies stuff my dad listened to; he used to buy compilations cd's; number ones of the sixties etc, so I was brought up on that. Now I look back I appreciate that's its brilliant pop music.
G: We don't like miserable music.
R: Only recently I started to think what a bad education my dad gave me in terms of his rubbish music taste, he wasn't hugely into music or cool bands. When we were at school that's when Britpop took off and a lot of people were into that but you grow of it. It doesn't matter whether it's a heavy metal group or a manufactured pop group if they have a good melody then I'll like the song.
G: We have never been part of a scene, probably because we weren't cool enough.
How does it feel to hear your song on the radio and have people coming to see you perform?
G: It's weird. I've never been to Southampton before and there have been loads of people singing our songs, bizarre but it's really nice.
R: We had airplay when we were unsigned, but it was usually someone like Huw Stevens at Radio 1 or XFM. People know how exciting it was for us, so they would let us know so we would stay up till half 2 in the morning to listen to it. The first time I heard one of our songs when I wasn't expecting it, I thought it was a CD at first, but it was Jonathan Ross on Radio 2 and I started getting all these texts through from friends.
Where did all the support from Marsha Shandur at XFM come from?
R: We were on the Glastonbury unsigned competition winners 2005 CD, and I did some demos and sent them out under the name of Scouting for Girls, and she sent me an email saying “Dude!” and that she liked our music. She's awesome, we've become friends, and she came down to a few of our gigs and played us when she could on her late night show. We did a gig with her yesterday and we were all quite hammered. We did a live session for XFM which was great but I forgot the words to “It's not about you”, the first bit, and this is live on air! If you listen to it you don't notice it, it's all very professional (They all laugh) I thought it would be a good idea to play a song I had only written a few days ago but it's only got one verse, so I kept singing that over and over.
What do you think about XFM removing their daytime presenters?
G: After listening to XFM at work for years, I'm really against it, the presenters make it, they brighten your day up.
R: I think XFM are trying to concentrate on the music, the are always trying to be different, they view it was an experiment so see what happens, which is what they are all about. It will be interesting to see the long term response.
G: I was listening today and it was quite weird.
What festivals are you playing this year?
G: We played Wireless and Glastonbury and we are headlining Blissfields this weekend.
R: Doing Latitude and V and Secret Garden Party. The vibe should be good, they are supposed to be quite chilled out and eclectic .Glastonbury was great but hectic, when the sun shines though it's unbelievable.
What's your dream venue to play?
G: At the moment, anywhere hot.
Pete: Wembley Stadium would be great, just to say youve played at Wembley stadium.
R: We have played Wembley before but it was Wembley Youth club, but we did say those words “Hello Wembley!” Brixton Academy would also be good.
How was your live session at Radio 1 with Huw Stevens?
R: It was wicked; it helped us make a proper demo. Huw is such a great supporter, he's brilliant. I love his voice it's wicked. (Roy says Scouting for Girls in a welsh accent and everyone laughs)
I have to ask, how do you feel about Fopp Closing?
G: Oh its rubbish! So rubbish! (I mention that I was a fan of their cheap books) WHSmith are doing three for two at the moment, Roy went in there for a little look the other day and then remembered that he doesn't really read!
Who was the inspiration behind the song “She's so lovely”?
R: There is no one person behind that song.
G: It's about all of our lovely female fans.
R: It's just about someone that you liked, whether it be a friend or a teacher. In fact we have a song called “Michaela Strachan broke my heart when I was 12” and a lot of people think “She's so lovely” was written about her. Although Michaela Strachan is indeed lovely she wasn't the drive behind the song. It's our next single however.
Another girl orientated question, who was the favourite girl featured in the “It's not about you” video?
G: I don't know if we should answer that!
R: I did like the waitress. All the girls in there were friends of people running the video, and the only actress there was the waitress. It was probably one of the hardest days of my life sitting in front of beautiful women.
What's the relationship like between you and your label?
G: We're pretty easy going guys and not diva's in any sense of the word so we are just happy to be playing our music and not having to work in our little part time jobs.
R: They're very into their music which always helps. It's been amazing really, trying to get a record out for ten years then at Christmas we found two managers who were really decent people and our record label were totally on board with everything we did and our agent is fantastic. There are so many people involved and luckily everyone is really nice, people you would go out for a pint with. Whether they would come out for a pint with us is a different matter!
G: Well they are getting paid for it!
R: The way things are going it's like everything's aligned. Marsha has said to us, just take a moment everyday to realise where you are, and think wow!
If you could make any diva requests what would they be?
R: I would like my own room in a hotel and not have to share a double bed with Pete!
G: Pete snores like a bear bur Roy's a heavy sleeper and I'm very light so I get a room to myself.
P: Roy turns the light on and off or it's his mobile phone going off!
What's in the future got in store for Scouting for Girls?
R: More touring I think, just taking everything as it comes. We have lots of material for the next album but just enjoying every day. It's all been fantastic so far and just fingers crossed it carries on that way.