Interview Tokyo Police Club

”Oh, we met the girl from Pussycat Dolls last night, the main one or whatever, the one that looks like plastic.”

Tokyo Police Club

started almost by accident. The band began as a way to pass time but after catching the eye of record execs at the Pop Montreal festival the Canadian foursome thankfully abandoned jobs and school for the rock star life of big paychecks and 24 hour partying. Well, not exactly. When DIY caught up with Dave Monks and Graham Wright before their San Diego date the boys filled us in on what it’s like to run out of gas in the middle of the night, push your van across the border, finally be able to pay rent, and most importantly the highlights of their first headlining American tour.

How is the tour going so far?
Graham: Good. It was kind of a slow start, playing some weirdish venues in smaller towns but it picked up. We did San Francisco and LA last night, and those shows were both really good.
Dave: The starting shows were all really good crowds.
G: Yeah the crowds have been good all the way through. And our van was breaking down, well it’s still breaking down, but in the beginning it was breaking down more it’s cool though. It’s good now.

When you decided to leave school to pursue the band full time were your parents supportive?
G: Well I wasn’t in school, I was taking a year off before I went to school and my parents weren’t thrilled with the prospect of me not going to school, but Dave was in school.
D: I was one semester into first year and I just called my mom and was like I am going to drop out and she was fine with it. She was like, ‘if that’s what you want to do then that’s cool’, and she was fine with it and has been supportive of it.
G: I was lucky that I was not in school at that point. But yeah all of our parents are really supportive now. I mean I think they’ve seen that it’s been ok.

Where there any moments after you quit school where you thought have we done?
G: All the time! I still think that everyday.
D: Yeah, you get it sitting in the van. When you are just like wait a minute why am I in Nebraska?
G: We were driving from the venue to our hotel in Colorado and we ran out of gas and it was like 2:30 in the morning, and we exhausted and we were parked at the side of the road waiting for Triple A to come with a little jug of gas and I’m just like what the fuck am I doing with my life? What am I doing here? This is ridiculous, I am twenty years old, I should be at university skipping class and not studying for tests, but you’re waiting for gas. But that’s part of it, it’s kind of like a scary thing to do and it’s a really big risk without much of a safety net. I mean there is a safety net, the longer you go though the less of a safety net there is. That’s why there are those people who are thirty six years old and are still going for it and going for it, and every year you keep doing it there is less and less of a chance.

Well it seems to be working out for you.
G: Yeah, so far so good fortunately.

This is your first headlining tour in the US, correct?
D: First proper one.
G: Yeah we’ve done little bits.

Do you enjoy opening for really big bands or headlining your own shows?
G: Headlining shows. They’re both cool. Headlining your own show is always nice because it’s your fans, it’s your show, it’s just special. But at the same time I do enjoy sort of winning a crowd over.

Your last tour was with Cold War Kids.
G: Yeah it was awesome.
D: They were awesome to tour with. I mean when you are on an opening slot on a tour it really depends on the band you are opening for and how you feel about them.
G: We played pretty big rooms with Cold War Kids in places we’d never played before but they had a few times and it so that was kind of a challenge to go up in front of four or five hundred people probably non of whom has seen us before, maybe they had heard of us and they were a Cold War Kids crowd and to sort of try to win them over by the end of the set… You know when they were on your side it was pretty cool.

Was it intimidating or were you pretty pumped for it?
D: Um, we felt a little bit weird because Cold War Kids are such a sound, there is such an aesthetic to them. I don’t think we sound like them, I don’t think we cross over with Cold War Kids at all, other than that we are both new bands. So I felt really strange playing to Cold War Kids crowds sometimes but that made it just more rewarding.

Have there been any interesting your antics to speak of?
G- Mostly perpetrated by the van. We ran out of battery at the border so we had to push our van across the border.
D: Oh, we met the girl from Pussycat Dolls last night, the main one or whatever, the one that looks like plastic.

I heard you just moved out of your parents’ houses, how is that?
D: Awesome
G: It’s awesome. You know it’s a big step to take. Even when I wasn’t working at a job and I was doing the band and with my parents and people would always be like ‘is this what you do for a living?’ Yeah but I don’t really pay for anything, it’s not that impressive I’m just living with my parents and they feed me and clothe me and that’s it. But know I can legitimately say that my job is to be a musician, barely. I do make rent every month though.
It’s cool for me, I feel like everything that we have, we’ve earned. My parents as supportive as they are, are not sending me checks, I’m paying for myself and I’m supporting myself. It’s a really big step into adulthood that we’re doing really early on and it makes me proud.

You just signed to Saddle Creek records, is there a full length album on the way?
G: Yeah
D: The plan is to start recording in September.
G: And hopefully it will come out in the early new year, February sometime. Its like we’ve toured A LOT and as much as I like all of our old songs and I really do like them, I’ve played those songs many many times now. You know, early on we wanted to start writing new material but it was just impossible because we were only on tour and when you’re on tour there’s barely any time to do anything like that. And then we’ll be home for two weeks and I’ve just been on tour for an month and the last thing I want to do is get home and go play my keyboards again, you know I want to take a break. So it’s really tough to find time to actually set aside to do that but recently we’ve had a few opportunities and we’ve taken full advantage of that.

So you’re going home to record?
D: We’re recording in Connecticut. This guy has a studio there, it’s in his basement. We thought he was a cool guy and we are a fan of other work he’s done.

Alright last question; rumor has it you are big fans of ‘The Office’. Which version do you prefer American or British?
G: American. We were talking about this last night.
D: We always talk about this!
G: Greg would watch the British one pretty much exclusively and just like anyone who has watched the British one he was really skeptical about the American. We were like trust me, watch it and you’ll like it.

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