The Kooks: ‘There's This Sad Idea You Have To Be In Turmoil To Make Art’

12 August 2022 | 11:37 am | Jessica Lynch

We chat with The Kooks frontman Luke Pritchard ahead of the band's highly anticipated return to Australia in October for Grapevine Gathering and headline shows.

(Pic by Paul Johnson)

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The 2000s brought us many questionable things that we hope never make a comeback (think low-rise jeans, Crazy Frog and the guy from the Slap Chop commercial), but British indie rockers The Kooks are certainly not one of them. 

Sixteen years on from their debut studio album Inside In/Inside Out, the trio has refused to remain stagnant, instead choosing to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing musical landscape. 

Not only have they managed to keep long-term fans excited over new tunes, but they have also resonated with a new generation of listeners.

“I think it's the fact we just keep going and keep making new sounding records and haven’t stuck to a particular sound,” frontman Luke Pritchard tells The Music when asked the secret to the band’s longevity.

“We've embraced the future and we've embraced modern music, so that helps as well.

“I feel like our new album works alongside what the young guys are doing now as well. So, you learn from that. Just look at the Stones and The Clash – they move with what’s current but still keep to their core,” he explains

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The Kooks’ sixth studio album, 10 Tracks To Echo In The Dark, sees an electronic-tinged evolution of their iconic sound, and serves as a testament to the group’s maturity and personal transformations. 

This remains particularly true for Pritchard, who has become both a husband and father since their 2018 release, Let’s Go Sunshine.

Connections is about the night I met my wife [singer Ellie Rose], it’s very simple but very meaningful for me. Sometimes you just go in the studio with a simple song and something like that comes out, which is just very pure, you know?

“Also Beautiful World - I wrote that when I found out my wife was pregnant. It's kind of a bit soppy really, isn't it?” he laughs

“There's this idea that you always have to be in turmoil and pain to make art. I always thought it was his self-perpetuating fallacy because people romanticise it and I think that's really sad,” he muses, adding, “I've been in real tricky ones and made terrible music!”

And for those who were fans of Pritchard and Rose’s side project DUO and their self-titled album from 2020, there’s even more good news.

“We are actually currently working on the new album,” Pritchard reveals. “I'm very excited about it and it's sounding good. DUO has been a good journey, it's nice to have something else.

“The guys were very supportive and they played on the record, so it’s like family vibes,” he explains. “I would imagine we we'll have some new music out by the end of the year.”

Pritchard added that fans can also expect some live shows from DUO in the not-too-distant future. 

“I'm sure we'll look at that for next year. But it’s a lot of fun, I’m really lucky. Ellie's very talented and, surprisingly, we work well together. Maybe I’ll get my son to be the drummer - he's only eight months old, so probably not for a while,” he laughs.

The band have recently unveiled the music video for their latest single, Cold Heart

Directed by Polocho and shot in London, the visual finds the band inside a futuristic space station, as alien beings begin ‘experiments’ on them in a clip that’s reminiscent of ‘90s VHS tapes.

“We had some serious UFO sights in the past few years together,” Pritchard reveals in what inspired them to use intergalactic imagery. 

“We wanted to have fun with that because I think music videos should be fun! I love that we've done that on this one - it's good to explore some of the more out there stuff that we talk about in the band.”

It’s not the only gift The Kooks have for their adoring fans - in celebration of the 15th anniversary of their debut studio album Inside In/Inside Out, the group are set to embark on an Australia-wide tour this October alongside The Vanns.

It will be a welcome return for the boys and for fans alike, with The Kooks being a fixture on the Australian festival circuit prior to COVID.

“I’ve been looking at my diary at October for a long time,” Pritchard admits. “I just feel like it's just such a privilege, we forget how coming there so often became quite normal. 

“I hope it gets normal again because we’re hoping to come over [to Australia] every two years, basically.”

He continues, “We would always would come and play on New Year's Eve. I'm very nostalgic about being in Australia, usually Perth.

“I can't wait to play the first album in entirety for the first time over there. It's gonna be a lot of fun, I'm sure of that.” 

For more info on the band's upcoming Aussie tour, click here