Anyone who has heard Scouting for Girls will know the indie-pop band has a distinctively English sound. In fact, frontman Roy Stride says: “We’ve always been a very quintessential English band.”
In spite of this, Scouting for Girls have a few Irish connections up their sleeves.
Their latest album, Easy Cover, was released earlier this month. A word-play on the Phil Collins song, Easy Lover, the album is nostalgia-packed with 1980s covers, as well as three original songs.
Speaking on the phone to Irish Country Living from Sussex, England, Roy explains that the idea was hatched on a tour bus no less than 10 years ago, on the way home from none other than Ireland.
“It came from a very long tour bus ride back from Ireland, years and years ago, when we’d had far too much Guinness and were listening to Phil Collins. We were dancing around to that for several hours,” Roy explains.
“Somebody said about Easy Lover – I think we might have been singing along to it karaoke style – what a great idea it would be to do an album of 80s songs and call it Easy Cover. Which is one of those ideas you think is amazing that night, but you wake up the next morning and it goes into the big box of really terrible ideas that must never be done. When lockdown happened, I opened that box up and there it was.”
Roy, along with his bandmates Greg Churchouse and Pete Ellard, worked on the decade-old concept throughout the pandemic, which was brought to fruition and released on 23 April. They’re now also preparing for a 42-date UK and Ireland tour in October and November of this year, which Roy says they couldn’t be more excited about.
The tour finishes with four Irish dates in Cork, Galway, Belfast and the final gig is in Dublin. Interestingly, they tend to finish a lot of their tours in Dublin.
“The last three tours we’ve done we’ve finished in Dublin, obviously because it’s the best night out ever. So many people come over for it, because it’s always such craic.”
At about four o’clock we got the call saying we can’t do it on health and safety grounds. So we hit Galway very hard that night
However, the band also have very fond memories in the City of the Tribes. The festival they were due to play when they were last in Galway was cancelled because of the weather, but every cloud has a silver lining.
“At about four o’clock we got the call saying we can’t do it on health and safety grounds. So we hit Galway very hard that night. It was one of the best nights of that year. It’ll be nice to go back there and actually do some work,” Roy laughs.
Talking with Roy, it’s almost easy to forget just how successful Scouting for Girls are. They have sold over 2m albums and 2m singles, had four Brit Award nominations, four top -10 singles and sold out Wembley Arena. Roy himself has song writing credits with One Direction, The Vamps and 5 Seconds of Summer.
Interestingly though, the three bandmates’ relationships couldn’t be anymore grassroots. Roy and Pete met when they were five at Cub Scouts (hence the name of the band). They then met Greg on their first day of secondary school.
They formed their first band at 14 years of age and, in Roy’s own words: “We were so bad we finally quit that band about 10 years later when we were 24/25 and started Scouting for Girls.”
They played for three years as Scouting for Girls before they landed a record deal. Within six months of getting signed, the band released their smash hit, She’s So Lovely, which went to number one. For Roy, he feels all the previous years of graft really helped hone their craft.
“We definitely put in the hours before hand. I think it works in two senses. Firstly, to learn your craft; how to play live. But also, it gives you a real appreciation when it happens. We all feel really lucky about how it happened, what we’ve achieved and how lucky we are to do such a fun, stupid job for a living.
It’s like going on a stag-do with your oldest friends for six to eight weeks
“Those 18 months were the biggest party of my life, because we never expected it and we also never expected it to last. We literally went from playing to 20 people in a UK venue to playing to 100,000 people at a festival. It was a mad crazy rush.”
Being such good friends, the bandmates get along pretty well. Roy says they have virtually no arguments and touring together is great fun.
“It’s like going on a stag-do with your oldest friends for six to eight weeks – but the beer is free and you’re getting paid. It really is that much fun.”
Naturally, having been off the road for quite a long time now with COVID-19, it’s going to be even more fun this time around. And the plan is to end with a bang in Ireland.