The Strypes: You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover

An interview with The Strypes

Chris Swindells on 02 May 2013

Occasionally the hype machine turns out an anomaly. An act not clad in East London chic or touting new age innovation. Teenage rockers The Strypes from Cavan, Ireland are those indeed unlikely candidates, as they have, swapping the teen perils of acne and schoolboy crushes for festival slots, TV appearances and celebrity groupies.

Ahead of Record Store Day the band are keen to talk up their musical heritage. "Vinyl was a big part of growing up." 17-year-old Evan Walsh tells VF, "It would have been a treat really to blow some dust off and spin some records."

Walsh paints a picture of rural Ireland and four (very) young boys finding escapism in music. They met at the tender age of three, pushed together by their respective families, and then through the record collection Walsh's parents kept they discovered rhythm and blues.

Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Lew Lewis - Walsh shows no hesitation as he reels off names, though it's clear no one has had more of an influence than Dr Feelgood and, more specifically, their madcap frontman Wilko Johnson.


Paying homage to a great musical tradition is not doing bad business either, as The Strypes are quickly turning their long list of heroes into fans. Paul Weller, Miles Kane and Jeff Beck have all made trips out to see the band live, but probably no one more unexpected than Elton John. His visit to Brighton's Fitzherberts pub, just 100 in capacity, with his entourage was certainly not without comment: "I think the crowd thought it was an Elton John impersonator" Walsh comments, "it's one of the least likely people you'd ever expect to meet in a pub in Brighton.

"We chatted to him afterwards and he's a very nice man, an absolute wealth of knowledge about music. It wasn't that hard to find things musically to talk about, that was great."

Noel Gallagher was next to make an appearance at a Strypes show, sneaking down to the Old Blue Last back in January. "Generally all the chat ends up being music related, whoever it's with, because it's common ground you have. You can separated by a myriad of things but you can meet on a musical level."

If the music game is proving rewarding then the school timetable certainly tempers any egos. Ross Farrelly is the only band member still 15 (the others are all 16 or 17) and therefore still enrolled to finish his final year this spring: "He's still technically in school but he just didn't really show up ever. We've got another couple of months to get him through and then he turns sixteen."

As soon as that milestone is met all efforts will turn to the touring schedule, and a number of festival stops, including Secret Garden Party this July. Walsh admits to having limited knowledge of the great Garden Party, yet he seems enthused to be playing the Main Stage warm up to Django Django. "It seems like a really nice alternative thing."


Before the band are making the most of the Secret Garden Party they're working on the debut record. With the prodigious producer Chris Thomas (Paul McCartney, Sex Pistols et al) at the helm they're moving fast too, getting through a track a day at their best.

"We're trying to bash it down relatively quickly," Walsh says, "live in the studio to begin with, and doing it all totally live then if there's embellishments or overdubs to be done we do them."
 
The tentative release date set for late September, the band seem keen to get back to what they know and the touring schedule, including Glastonbury and Secret Garden Party, ahead of any major release. For the Irish prodigies they're embracing this time to prove their notable fans correct and crown their own ascent to stardom.


The Stypes play Secret Garden Party which takes place at Mill Hill Field, Abbots Rippon, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire from 25-28 July 2013. Regina Spektor, Django Django, Soulwax, Bastille, Modestep and many more also play the independent music and arts festival.

Click here to see the full Secret Garden Party line-up.

Click here to buy Secret Garden Party tickets.

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