Youthful Irish rhythm and blues band The Strypes, who scored a UK hit with their 2013 album Snapshot, are looking forward to returning to the fray at this year’s Live At Leeds festival.
Bass player Pete O’Hanlon says the group, from Cavan, close the border with Northern Ireland, are excited to be back after time away writing and recording their second longplayer.
“Looking at the bill and everything, there’s a couple of bands that we’d like to see,” says the 19-year-old. “We’ve played a couple of times before with bands like Swim Deep, it would be nice to see them again, and just looking forward to the great expanse, there’s a lot of acts going on over the whole weekend and we’re really looking forward to it. Leeds is a great place to play as well.”
O’Hanlon recalls the first time they performed at the now-closed Cockpit. “That was one of the first gigs we did in England and it was riotous, really very scary, a really great craic.”
Their set at Live at Leeds will offer a chance to air songs from the band’s forthcoming album, Little Victories, which is due out this summer.
“That’ll be the whole kind of point because it comes in the middle of this month-long UK tour we’re doing across other small venues. We haven’t played in the UK since last year so it will be a bit of a reintroduction and it’ll be with a view to playing this new stuff.”
He concedes the new album “has been a while coming” but explains: “We were set to go then it got pushed back, markets and all that kind of stuff, the label have their plan what they want to do with it, so they pushed it back. It’s been a while coming but I’m glad it’s moving on now.”
Julien Temple’s recent BBC4 documentary on The Strypes hinted at behind the scenes tensions between the band, their principal songwriter Josh McClorey and their major label. O’Hanlon says Temple’s portrayal was accurate.
“People seemed to respect the honesty of it all. If it was any other band we could just say we’ll just gloss over that and make it seem all rosy but I think it was good that people know it all. We all like different stuff and I think it’s all healthy, it makes for great music, it makes for a fusion.
“We had a load of songs all ready to go in May of last year and the label went eugh. We’d just come back from an American tour that we thought went really well and was all sold out, we came back on a buzz and went into the studio for a few days and we did about 12 or 15 songs and the label came in and said, ‘Oh, they’re grand, not really what we’re looking for though’ so we came home that week feeling really s*** and that was the week Julien Temple did the interviews and we wree all at the each other’s throats.
“But again, being 18 and 19, if you didn’t fight a bit it would be a bit s***, wouldn’t it? There’s always that sort of stuff but the interviews happened at at time when we feeling at a bit of a low ebb and at a time when we’d no gigs for about a month or so. We just sat there and stewed in our feelings of inadequacy but I think it was good in that it was a bit of a reality check. As much as it’s hard to hear ‘We don’t think that’s good enough’, it was a backwards compliment in that you can do better so we forged on and by the end of the year we’d recorded this album.”
The Strypes play at Leeds University Stylus on May 2 at 9pm. For details visit http://www.liveatleeds.com/artists/the-strypes/
Listen to the interview in full in the new Post Music podcast at http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/