*published in the Cork Independent, 13/4/2017*
*photo’s by J.J. Lee*
Cavan four-piece The Strypes recently concluded their ‘Never Mind The Mocks Tour’ in The White Horse in Ballincollig.
The boys have been spreading their frenetic brand of bluesy rock ’n’ roll all over the country, in anticipation of their yet-to-be-titled third studio album and it’s set to be their best effort yet.
As a young band, it can be argued that their sound is still very much evolving, a fact that is compounded when you compare breathless debut album ‘Snapshot’ to the bands follow-up ‘Little Victories’ in 2015, which came in for some criticism.
However, there’s an overall feeling of contentment amongst the band with the process involved with the third album.
Bassist Pete O’Hanlon admits that the band are pleased with the results.
“Yeah we’re very happy, more so than before with the other two albums. Even with the recording and the design aspect, we’ve had a lot more control over it.”
However, the most distinct difference between the new record and its predecessors is that the rhythm section of O’Hanlon and drummer Evan Walsh have had more of a direct influence in the song-writing process.
The bassist explains that “there’s been a big change with the sound, in that myself and Evan have written half of it. We have a little demo facility at home, which we were holed up in for a few months, and just knocked out 20 or 30 songs, just worked off each other’s ideas.”
Even though the group has excelled and reached already dizzying heights, they have yet to go stratospheric and drummer Evan’s modest approach to success with the new record is refreshing in a genre dominated by inflated egos.
“I think the only thing you can hope for with an album is that’ll find an audience that appreciate it and that people will come to the gigs and they’ll be supportive and enjoy it for themselves,” he says.
It’s a sentiment and mindset shared by his bandmates. Pete adds that “success is defined by yourself as well. Getting an album released on a major label; that’s a success even before people even buy it, the criteria for success is completely defined by yourself. Putting bums on seats, we want people to come to the gigs and if they do, that’s a success”.
The Strypes are also big supporters of the Irish pub and club scene, heavily touring smaller venues in the past few years alongside larger venues across the world. This 15-date tour was used by the band as a way to bring their name back to the fore, to test new material and purely for the love of playing intimate gigs.
Pete explains: “Some of the best venues you’ll ever play are these pubs and clubs and it’s just a shame they’re not considered part of the proper circuit. We love playing these.”
The band also outlined how beneficial these gigs can be for them, in regards to testing out new songs for the album.
“Over in England when you play the bigger venues, it’s hard to talk to people afterwards because security come in and chuck them out, but here we’d be packing away the gear and people would come up for a chat, give a hand if they wanted to and it is really good to ask people what did they make of the set and hearing the reaction of people first hand is great, rather than just seeing it online,” Pete explains.
With the band’s extensive Irish touring regime, the boys have some especially fond memories of Cork, having played here twice in the past six months alone. Despite listing the now-closed Savoy Theatre as their favourite venue on Leeside, Pete recalled previous encounters and the band’s affinity with the rebel county.
“Two of the greatest gigs we ever played were in Cork; one in Kinsale in this cottage-like sort of a venue (The Spaniard). The beams were really low, so there was lads pulling off them all night and by the end of it I was up on the beam playing away and just jumping off into the crowd.
“The Savoy Theatre as well, it was an absolutely stonkingly good gig, there wasn’t an awful lot of people there – maybe about 200 or so – and they were kind of scattered up in the balcony and down the back so we just got everyone down the front and it just kicked off, it was unbelievable,” says Pete.
The Strypes’ third studio album will be released on 16 June through Virgin EMI Records and the band will be travelling in support of this new release all across Europe in the summer and even as far afield as the famous Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.
Hopefully, they will return to Cork soon to put on an inevitably raucous show.