Return to the classics

Return to the classics

With rave reviews and fans such as Elton John, The Strypes say the golden age inspires their creativity

Pop music is rubbish, they said - "music by the numbers" just for the sake of making money. Where's the creativity?

That's a pretty bold statement, especially when you're a band trying to make a name for yourself. But this isn't just another band. This is The Strypes.

These four Irish lads - with Ross Farrelly singing lead vocals, Pete O'Hanlon on bass, Josh McClorey on guitar and Evan Walsh on drums - have taken an interest in old blues and rock 'n' roll. Some critics have said they sound like Britpop band Oasis in the early years. The unexpected fact? They're aged between 16 and 18.

And one of their biggest fans is Elton John.

"It's flattering, and it's a lovely thing for us," says McClorey, who spoke with Young Post at Clockenflap, Hong Kong's music festival, earlier this month.

All this world travel and the compliments and comparisons are because the band are determined to be true to themselves in their music.

Formed in 2008 in Cavan, Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland, The Strypes put out a cover EP last year called Young, Gifted & Blue, covering songs from their favourite artists such as Bo Diddley.

The next thing they knew, their faces were all over such prominent music magazines as NME and Mojo, with John saying in a televised interview that the four lads boasted a knowledge of blues and R&B that he mastered only at the age of 65.

Their first album, Snapshot, came out three months ago. It made No2 in Ireland and No5 in Britain.

The media spotlight began to shine. The "pop music is rubbish" quote came in an interview with The Telegraph.

This month, the stance they took was a bit milder. "We just don't listen to it. We have no interest in it," Farrelly says. "It's just the whole manufacturing side of it is what we really hate. It doesn't matter what [songs], they are going to be swapped, in and out, in two years anyway."

Adds McClorey: "It's just that there are so many bands being creative and coming up with their own stuff. With the manufacturing side of pop ... it's music by the numbers. People can make money, but there's no real creativity."

Indeed, when The Strypes make music, much of their motivation comes from their desire to spread the styles of music they grew fond of by listening to their parents' record collections. Their influences include rock bands Dr Feelgood, The Yardbirds, Eddie and the Hot Rods, and The Rolling Stones.

Being compared to great bands is an honour, but these humble lads wish people would focus on their music rather than their rising fame.

"Bands can appear to be another generation of [Oasis/Stones etc], or are inspired by whatever," Walsh says, "but I think that we're not the next Oasis. We're just ... us."

You might also like:

- Irish band The Strypes drop its debut album, Snapshot, and brings ‘60s garage rock back to our charts. Surprisingly, some of the band’s members are just 16 years old

- One of the perks of going to music festivals is that you get to hear a broad range of music that you might not normally listen to. Argentinian Juana Molina and Beijing-based Hanggai emerged as two surprise hits of Clockenflap

- Just a week after Clockenflap, music fans were spoilt again as the inaugural Blohk Party kicked off at West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, curated by famous rapper and producer Pharrell Williams



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