Scouting For Girls are almost indie music veterans as their successful and self-titled debut album hits its tenth birthday. Ten years is a lifetime in the music industry and it’s a fitting time for Great Central to catch up with frontman Roy Stride. They’ve done well to stay on the up since smashing into the charts in 2007, with their number one album and hits She’s So Lovely, Heartbeat and Elvis Ain’t Dead. Returning to the indie fold with a re-release of their debut album including ten new tracks, they’re embarking on a UK tour and arrive at Leicester’s O2 Academy on 28th November 2017.
Back in the day, when Roy started making music, it wasn’t all sold out tours and hit records. In the early years (albeit a different band but a precursor to Scouting For Girls) he and some of his current band mates played The Shed, and it wasn’t to the huge crowds they command today. Rumour is, they played to three people, but Roy sets the story straight with a hint of humour and explains ‘It was less than three people. It was no people. Even the sound guy left halfway through to get a kebab! To be fair this was our old band and we were rubbish. Since then Leicester has been very kind to us.” And he’s right they’ll be welcomed back when they play the O2 later this year.
Talking about the “good old days” fills us with nostalgia and inevitably we start reminiscing about the Myspace times (remember those days, when bands posted what they liked and talked to who they liked without getting bollocked by their PR?) and most fans remember the lyrics ‘Fitter in your Myspace picture’. We even tried to access our old accounts, but like millions of others, we couldn’t remember our logins, passwords or security emails. Did Roy even know how to use it anymore or had it been put out to pasture? “I haven’t looked for years.” He continues “Will check it out now. I remember a digital meeting at Sony, trying to convince the team we didn’t need Facebook or Twitter or even a website because we were one of the biggest bands on Myspace.” Despite that, one of Roy’s proudest moments was signing their deal with the aforementioned major label. “Up to that point we had done everything ourselves. From writing and producing the music to duplicating and delivering CDs. We had dreamed of being professional musicians since we were teenagers and ten years later we did it!”
Scouting For Girls’ audience is massively important to them and celebrating ten years of hits means being in touch with their original fans. “It’s amazing to still be in contact with people who came to the very first tour. We were playing to 50 people a night and could have a drink with everyone after. Ten years on it’s great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd.” With news that some of their dates are already sold out and some venues have been upgraded, were they expecting so much love? Roy seems quite pleased when he says “Not at all. I think over half the tour is already sold out. It’s been incredible.”
So, what else have they done to celebrate ten years? “Well, the reissue also came with our first ever live album and four unreleased demos from 2006. We also put it out on vinyl for the first time ever. We’ve got a few more surprises in store for the rest of the year too.” By surprises, are we talking new music? “Yes” Roy announces. ”We have just finished mastering 10 brand new Scouting songs. They will be out before the tour. I think a couple of the tracks are up there with the best we’ve ever done. Which is good news for the fans.”
As well as new music, they’ve kept busy playing festivals. For Roy, Glastonbury was one of the best, “Glastonbury was one highlight because we were headlining a stage on Sunday night, the same time as Ed Sheeran. We thought no one would turn up, but it was rammed and one of the best shows of the summer. A proper party.” Not only did they pull the fans in, but Greg (bassist and backing vocals) also got himself into a spot of bother when festivities took a turn for the worse and a trip to the hospital ensued, “We had quite a big party on the bus back from Glastonbury and consequently, I’m not entirely sure what happened when we got back to our lock up. From what I remember it involved Greg, a ladder, a broken collarbone and then 5 hours in Northwick Park Casualty. It was light and I was sober when we finally got out. Anyway, he’s on the mend now and will be back this weekend for V and all good for the tour.”
Talking of boozing, the band are marginally healthier these days and coinciding with the re-release of the album they’re doing ten challenges, to raise 10k for Alzheimer’s society. One of them – running a marathon. It’s an admirable feat, but not something normally associated with rock’n’roll. So, what would Roy’s younger self-have thought about Scouting For Girls running a marathon this year? “I would have said we were mad. I still think we’re mad. Turns out 26 miles is a long way. I managed 5 hours with an injured foot. Greg did it in 7 hours with two Gin and Tonics along the way. Dry January was really tough, then the half marathon and then the London marathon. I think the next challenge is a month of exercise every day in October. It will be good training for the tour.” Speaking of the tour, what’s on the agenda when its all done? Roy explains he has a lot planned, “Next year I’m doing the music and soundtrack for a film and producing a couple of records for other artists. We currently have no Scouting for Girls plans for 2018. So come see us now!”
Scouting for Girls play Leicester on the 28th November at the O2 Academy. Get tickets here.