The Kooks are one of the most enduring British bands this side of the millennium. Nearly fifteen years on from their formation, and you can still hear their biggest hits belted out in indie discos all over the country. If you don’t know most of the words to at least one of their unavoidable bangers, well, you’re probably not going to be sat there reading Dork. Riding on the back of their latest record ‘Let’s Go Sunshine’ – “the best album we’ve done,” according to frontman Luke Pritchard – the band are currently making their way through festivals, and have just been confirmed for next year’s Community.
Hello Luke. How’s summer been for The Kooks?
It’s been a lot of festivals. I think our band works particularly well at festivals; it’s where we’re most comfortable. We’ve been having a good one. The new songs have been going down well.
Last year you did this massive greatest hits tour, but things seem to have kept growing since then.
I hope so. I feel like we’ve still got a lot to say. I really feel like our new album is maybe the best album we’ve done, I know it’s probably what a lot of people say, but you’ve got to believe that. We’ve come up with something exciting. It should engage people in a different way to they’ve been engaged before. We’re not a band who does the same album twice. We’re bringing something new so let’s see how it pans out. We’re humble. We’re a humble British band that’s doing okay.
You’ve been in this game for a while now. Are you still taking to time to appreciate things, or has it become par for the course?
I’m appreciative of everything in my life, but we work hard. We’ve been through ups and downs as a band, and right now, we’re having an upward moment. I learnt from the first album; you’ve got to enjoy that moment at the time because soon you’re going to be on the down again and you’re not going to remember having a good time. We are definitely pretty real, in terms of our experience. We had an explosion on our first album but for us, this is an artistic endeavour, and it’s fun, and it has its ups and downs. At the moment, I’m happy, but I’m asking, what are we doing next?
Tell us about your new album.
It quite heavily nods to its influences. It’s a sunshine pop record, but it’s also this journey of searching for happiness and then finding it. Every song has a slight moral edge to it, and all of them have a real story or a tale. It’s quite descriptive lyrically, more so than I’ve ever been but it’s also playful, it’s eclectic, essentially. There are some real, angsty moments like the first song on the album. ‘Kids’ is a real Nirvana sorta tune that’s about my frustrations about Brexit, this country and being a slave to debt. ‘Chicken Bones’ is in that moment as well. ‘Pamela’ is about falling in love with a girl during a date. It’s meant to be heavy and fun all at the same time. And emotional. There’s a lot of heart in our writing. I’m a heart on the sleeve kinda guy. But at the same time, there’s a silliness. A lot of silliness. You can’t take yourself too seriously, in my opinion.
Your music still connects with kids. People aren’t here to just hear ‘Naïve’. Why do you think people still care about The Kooks?
It’s because I’m so good looking.
We can see that.
Nah, I’m gripping on. It’s potentially because our first album, our first two albums maybe, they’re very youthful records. Our first album is an album made by teenagers, in the best possible way. But for an album made by teenagers, it’s still got an element of maturity to it. It’s quick, energetic, maybe that’s why? We are youthful in our attitude. As a musician, a songwriter, a band, you want to stay like Peter Pan. You want to keep young in your mind. Hopefully, we’re doing a good job of that.
Staying away from being boring.
Hopefully. That’s basically every day I go in the studio. ‘Don’t be boring’. I have a little note on the end of a stick saying, don’t be fucking boring.
The Kooks play Community Festival on 30th June 2019, visit communityfestival.london for more information.
Words: Ali Shutler