By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – Church, drinking, BB guns. Sounds like the makings of a ‘80s coming-of-age comedy, right? These elements – plus lots and lots of guitars – helped Tokyo Police Club shape their new album TPC released earlier this month.
After 12 years as a band, the Newmarket, Ontario quartet figured it was time to get the heck out of town and try writing in an entirely new space – a church on the picturesque shores of Lake Huron.
“We had been, for a decade, working in Toronto and we’d just always go to the same downtown practice space,” keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Graham Wright explains. “But everyone was kind of scattered, and we weren’t all living in the city, so we already knew that we had to travel to do this writing. And we were just sick of playing in these kinds of scuzzy spaces. We knew some other people who had got out of town and we were like, ‘I don’t know, why don’t we just try that? It ended up being the answer to like a million problems we didn’t even know existed.”
Sometimes a change of pace is all you need. Cups of joe and relaxation by the seaside proved to be a winning formula that actually inspired the band to have some incredibly productive jam sessions.
“There was no set times. When everybody was out of bed and had some coffee, maybe we’d start playing guitars. And then when everyone was sick of that, maybe we’d go down to the beach, or whatever else,” says Wright. “We actually ended up doing way, way more. Our natural run out of energy point is usually about the two and a half to hour mark. After that, we’re pretty much just running on fumes. Once we ran out of steam, we could go shoot (BB) guns or eat lunch or whatever else, and lo and behold, you’re re-energized and you’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s nothing else to do, so you go back to the guitars. And now you have another three hours in you, and all of a sudden you’ve got nine, 10 hours of creativity in a day without feeling like you’re running yourself ragged.”
From their energized field trip, “Hercules”, a jangly pop-rock number off TPC with a catchy guitar hook, is currently gaining solid airplay on Canadian radio. “It was one that came out of the sessions really quickly and organically. Dave (Monks, vocals/bass) writes songs like most people breathe air. He played us ‘Hercules’ one day at the church when we had finished working on something else, and we were just like, ‘Shit man, that’s awesome! Let’s just try and play it now,’” Wright recalls. “It just felt right away like this really fun feeling. It was just fun to play.”
Visually, TPC and the videos for singles “Hercules,” “New Blues,” and more recently, “Simple Dude,” have also served as documents of the time Tokyo Police Club spent making the record. “Dave bought a camera when we were in L.A., and first the album cover is a picture that he took. All of the single covers have been pictures that he took,” Wright says. “He’d been scratching stuff on these film negatives. That’s how we got the whole typeface of the record, the sort of hand scrawled thing, that’s just sort of using tweezers to write on a negative.”
Overall, Wright believes the band – rounded out by Josh Hook (guitar) and Greg Alsop (drums) – is happy with the album and can’t wait for people to hear it. “I fucking love it! But ask any band about any new record and you know… I guess the most I could say is that I honestly, I genuinely do love it and if I didn’t, I would lie to you and tell you that anyway!”
Amen, brother. Amen.
Tokyo Police Club perform October 18 at The Good Will Social Club (Winnipeg), October 19 & 20 at Capitol Music Club (Saskatoon), October 21 at The Exchange (Regina), October 23 at Bo’s Bar and Grill (Red Deer), October 24 at The Starlite Room (Edmonton), October 25 & 26 at Commonwealth Bar & Stage (Calgary), and October 29 & 30 at Fox Cabaret (Vancouver)Bo’s Bar and Grill, Capitol Music Club, commonwealth Bar & Stage, Fox Cabaret, The Exchange, The Good Will Social Club, The Starlite Room, Tokyo Police Club