Tokyo Police Club Enter Indie Big Leagues With Champ
Though Ontario indie-rockers Tokyo Police Club might still technically be considered wet behind the ears in terms of age, their notable résumé and relentless work ethic speak a different story. Forming in 2005 after disbanding their previous group, Suburbia, the foursome, then between 18 and 19 years old, played songs in their basement for fun, before gaining some buzz around their hometown.
TPC's full-length debut, Elephant Shell, was released in 2008 to favorable reviews, many citing the band's knack for penning quick, post-punk pop tunes; but it was their sophomore release, 2010's Champ, on which the band, though still fresh-faced and youthful, reveal they are climbing out of the confines of ageism and expectancy and stepping into a spotlight all their own.
The band, currently on tour in support of Champ, plays tonight at Warehouse Live, and Rocks Off spoke with the TPC guitarist Josh Hook about their journey and future plans.
Rocks Off: I've heard the band refer to Champ as having been recorded with "more feeling than thought" when compared to Elephant Shell. Was this a conscious effort, and does it imply that Champ is a more personal record for the band?
Josh Hook: The main difference between Champ and Elephant Shell was the writing process; when we were writing Shell, we were still getting offers off our previous EP, it led to a fragmented writing and creative process for Shell. When we'd come back after a week of touring and try to write the song again, we'd forget where we were and have to pick it back up in a more "thinking" way - as in, "This is where we are, this is where we want it to go...".
Whereas for the writing process for Champ, we just said we don't want to do anything except write and grow with each song and see it from inception to completion and move with it, and that's where the "feeling" comes in; when you have an uninterrupted time to complete something, you feel it grow and mature. We didn't have that with Shell; Champ is a result of us taking our time and having the ability to see its recording through all the way to its maturity.
RO: Speaking of maturity, TPC formed when you guys were quite young. Do you consider your records are showing the natural maturing of the band in general?
JH: Oh, definitely. We might be too close to the music to look at it objectively, but I'd agree that we've become more comfortable in how we work and play and that's the maturity we've seen.
RO: Are there pros and cons about forming a band so young?
JH: People sometimes dwell on our early upstart, or say, "These kids have a long way to go," but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I would rather have started young than to not have even started yet. People tend to take notice of young musicians, so that spotlight gives us a stronger push than we maybe wouldn't have felt had we started a band at 25.