Record Overplayed
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Scouting For Girls interview | Newcastle Academy | 10/10/07

“I know who Michaela Strachan is - everybody knows who Michaela Strachan is!”

Interview by Dawn and Rich / Photo courtesy of Scouting For Girls

Scouting For Girls have not long come off stage following an impressive support slot for Just Jack at the Newcastle Academy. To say that they enjoyed themselves would be something of an understatement; the (largely female) crowd reaction to the band’s set came as a pleasant surprise to the trio who, only a few months earlier, were one of a handful of bands playing to a much smaller crowd in this very venue.

Tonight, however, there were cheers and screams, a rousing singalong to recent single She’s So Lovely – and a healthy gathering of girls scouting for photos and autographs when the boys paid a quick visit to the merch table just before Record Overplayed sat them down for a chat. Thankfully the lads are as energetic and enthusiastic off-stage as they are on it – and it’s difficult to get a word in edgeways once they start to talk. So let’s start them off with what else has changed since Roy, Greg and Pete last played the North East?

‘We’ve got an agent now,’ says frontman Roy. ‘It’s just so weird how it goes from being an unsigned band where you organise everything yourself – you do the photos, the artwork, duplicating the CDs...’

‘And then you realise how rubbish you were when someone takes over,’ says drummer Pete.

‘Literally all we have to do now is write the songs, record the songs and play the songs,’ Roy says before Pete interrupts once more: ‘That’s the difficult bit! We can do the other bits!’

‘I always feel like I can’t say exactly how much I appreciate the crowd singing along,’ says Roy.

‘Because you never remember the words, that’s why,’ Pete suggests with a grin, but Roy continues sincerely: ‘I’ve written a song actually while we’ve been away. It’s like a thank you song, because a band is nothing without their fans.’

The boys list their influences as ‘anything and everything’, not ashamed to admit that their favourite music can come from virtually any genre. (‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a manufactured pop band, or a little band that’s got a good melody and a good tune and we’ll just jump up and down to it’ says Roy) but far from being manufactured themselves, it’s obvious from the way in which they finish each other’s sentences that Roy, Greg and Pete have known each other for a long, long time. Does that mean that they’re less likely to fall out whilst on tour?

‘We didn’t like each other in the first place,’ lies Pete.

‘We’ve been together for such a long time it doesn’t really matter anymore,’ says Greg.

‘We can’t get away with anything now because we’ve known each other for so long,’ moans Roy. ‘We can’t get away with any prima donna stuff.’

‘Like getting your own bag of chips, you prima donna bastard,’ accuses Greg.

‘It was the first date of the tour!’ protests Roy.

‘You sort yourself out, sweetheart, don’t mind about us - we’re only the fucking rhythm section!’ says Greg jokingly (we hope).

Perhaps the increase in such diva-like behaviour is directly proportional to the number of famous friends the band have now made? Greg laughs: ‘My girlfriend knows more famous people than me. We went to Danni Minogue’s PA’s leaving do.’

‘I met that Roy Stride from Scouting For Girls,’ adds Pete, not wanting to be left out.

Roy, meanwhile, looks wistful. ‘They always say don’t meet your heroes.’

Pete agrees: ‘I met Ben Mills from X Factor and I was so fucking disappointed. He carries his own stuff.’

Roy recounts the tale of an event where he found himself standing between James Dean Bradfield and Kelly Jones: ‘Those two bands have been like the soundtrack to my life for the last ten years and I was like “Roy, say something you cock.” Everyone was being really cool, hanging by the bar, and I should’ve gone’ (he adopts a high-pitched voice) ‘“I love you!” He would have appreciated that.’

‘The only idol I want to meet is Dave Grohl,’ says Greg. ‘I reckon I’d be disappointed with everyone else.’

It seems, however, that one member of Scouting For Girls is still struggling to get to grips with being around so many familiar faces. Greg picks up the story:

‘We were up in Xfm Scotland doing some interviews and I walked past this really tall bloke. There’s Roy and Pete standing together, and Roy’s going “I’m the lead singer of Scouting For Girls – I’m suave and sophisticated” and Pete taps him and goes “It’s that lead singer from Snow Patrol! Roy! It’s that lead singer from Snow Patrol! RRROOOOOY!”’

Pete hangs his head. ‘I did have a habit of doing that. I’ve got a bit better.’

But it’s not just Pete who gets over-excited, as Roy admits:

‘When we were recording the Michaela Strachan song, I’d spoken to Michaela a couple of times on email-‘ (cue much laughter and accusations of name-dropping from the others) ‘I’ll rephrase that. I had one email from Michaela, and then I got a second email from her, and literally we were just recording it – the guy came in to do the horn part and that’s my favourite part of the whole album. I checked my emails and she’d sent an email going “I was wondering if you could put the song up which you’ve written for me again. I’ve got a friend round to listen to it – it’s Timmy Mallett.” And I literally ran – I bolted into the room-‘

‘Knocked the horn player over,’ says Pete, making an appropriate horn mime to help us visualise the tale.

‘And I shouted “Stop! You will not believe this!” and just pushed him out of the way.’

‘It’s a good way to meet your idols,’ says Pete.

‘We pulled the (Michaela) song from the uni dates,’ says Roy. ‘And a girl came up to me and said “I can’t believe you didn’t play Michaela.” And I looked at her and said “How old are you?” and she said “Fifteen” and I said “How do you know Michaela?” and she said “I know who Michaela Strachan is - everybody knows who Michaela Strachan is!” and I was like “THEY DO!”’

In closing, and with the hope of actually getting the chance to speak before the end of the interview, we ask them a slightly different question: If the tables were turned, what question would Scouting For Girls ask their interviewer?

‘Probably “Where did the name Dawn come from?”’ says Pete.

‘If you could interview anyone, who would you like to interview?’ asks Roy, hurriedly adding ‘Apart from Scouting For Girls, of course!’

As the grilling continues, we begin to regret our choice of question.

‘See, it’s hard isn’t it?’ says Pete, ‘people sitting there looking at you!’

‘Who are your heroes?’ yells Roy.

‘Why are you here?’ adds Pete.

‘Where did the name Dawn come from?’ asks Pete, before coming up with the gem ‘If you could interview a Dawn, who would it be? Dawn French?’

‘Dawn from Eastenders?’ suggests Roy before he and Pete, only knowing of two other Dawns, come to a grinding halt and look to each other for inspiration.

Which seems like as good a time as any to wrap up the interview. Thank you, boys; it’s been a lot of fun.
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With huge thanks to Roy, Pete, Greg and Matt. Visit www.ScoutingForGirls.co.uk for more information.

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