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Tokyo Police Club Entrance

A random chat with Tokyo Police Club guitarist Josh Hook

By Rich Shivener · February 9th, 2011 · Music

Tokyo Police Club will probably deliver another EP of Electro-laced Indie Rock in late 2011, but most of this year brings month-long tours and time for jamming. So says guitarist Josh Hook, who checked in by phone from Austin, Tex., more than 1,500 miles from his home in Toronto.

“It might be an album, it might be an EP, it might be whatever the next format is in six months,” Hook says about the next recording. “I really like the idea of EPs. Maybe it will be ‘Extended Extended.’ ”

In June, the Canadian foursome released Champ, a full-length mixing dance-floor firestarters with driving rockers like “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)” and “End of a Spark.” It’s fueled another round of touring all-ages venues across North America and a quick stop on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Hook had just finished back-to-back interviews when we connected, so I avoided routine questions about the band’s origins and theories behind Champ.

CityBeat: Let’s have a random chat. You just finished two interviews before this. Are multi-interview days exhausting?
Josh Hook:
Sometimes it’s actually very welcoming and it’s smooth. The worst feeling is when you get incredibly bored and you find yourself eating three times more than you actually do.

CB: About 15 minutes before this interview, you were playing an acoustic set for another magazine. Why do acoustic sets rock like electric sets?
I always like seeing a band take a song and strip it down. It’s also cool if you can play a song that’s totally of a different context. For that reason, we started doing “Bambi” as an acoustic song — and that song is sample driven. It’s (presented in) a way people aren’t expecting (going from) a dance-floor jam to a really pretty acoustic song.

CB: What are your theories on the Disney movie Bambi?
I haven’t seen it in a long time, so I should probably brush up on it. It’s from that Disney era where the animation was just awesome — really cool, like, storybook animation.

That’s something I think kids today are missing.

CB: You have other fun song titles on Champ, like “Frankenstein.” What can you tell me about the classic monster?
I think he’s just misunderstood, and if you want to compare him to our song, the basis of that song just came from an extended jam of another song we had. (The band decided), “We’ll take this part from here and put it in this song, and you got that part over there and we’ll put it in this song.” We really did Frankenstein it together.

CB: One more question related to Champ. Who’s the world’s greatest champ?
It’s Laika, the Russian dog that went into space.

CB: Your latest video, “Wait Up (Boots of Danger),” has dogs running around and jumping in a pool.
It was a friend’s half-baked idea — “Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone made a video of a dog pool party?” We thought, “Why not?” Instead of all these literal submissions of song lyrics, we decided to go with it. It has nothing to do with the song and that’s kinda awesome.

We thought we could adopt dogs for the day, but we had to call up a dog acting service. They were as good as humans taking directions.

CB: Fans get a download of the video when they donate to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. What’s your position on animal cruelty?
I definitely think the laws behind it are lacking. I don’t know what the solution will be, but there is very little protecting animals (and there needs to be) tougher enforcements on people that do inflict harm on animals. I don’t know how you go about fixing that because I don’t think it’s very high on any political agenda.

CB: Onto another topic. You guys travel from Canada. How is it crossing the border a lot?
There are stories of certain bands that say they are going to record album somewhere (in the U.S.) and that’s what they tell the border guards. (For tax purposes, bands need work visas to play shows and make money in the United States.) Coming back into Canada is always fun, though. I think our record time is four seconds and we didn’t even stop. The guy was like, “Where are you going? Welcome home.”

CB: Before we wrap up, I’ll ask you to finish one thought. Canadian crowds are different than U.S. crowds because …
The one major difference, depending on where you are, is a legal-age show. (The drinking age in Canada is 18 or 19, depending on the province.) When you have an all-ages crowds anywhere … (they) really get into it. It probably has something to do with the fact that all-ages kids have two hands to clap, whereas overage kids are holding beer — “Eh, I’ll just snap with one hand.”

TOKYO POLICE CLUB plays Covington’s Mad Hatter Thursday. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.



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