Meet Luke Pritchard, Frontman Of British Indie Rock Band The Kooks

Photo: Andrew Whitton

Summer is on the horizon and so too are a scattering of music festivals set to bring a host of international acts to our shores.

Beach Life is one of them – set by the sands of Glenelg, between the Grand and the beach. Headlining the summer festival this year is British pop icon The Kooks who are headed to our sunny state for the first time in five years.

Some of their first hit singles, ‘Naive’ and ‘She Moves Her Own Way ‘ and ‘Sofa Song’ had the band of youngsters in the top ten with their first record release – Inside In, Inside Out in 2005. Since then, the band has clocked up four more records, including their latest release – Let’s Go Sunshine this year.

To celebrate the release, the band are hitting the road to share their Indie pop-rock tunes with fans. Feet-tappin’, heart-warming melodies are the perfect accompaniment to the summer sun, not to mention the band’s energetic stage presence. They’re old-school rock band in the modern age – a rarity not to be missed.

We sat down with frontman Luke Pritchard to learn about rise to fame and upcoming visit to Adelaide.

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How did The Kooks begin?

We all went to a college in Brighton and one day, I was playing social song which was on the first record and [future] guitar player Hugh Harris asked if he could jam with me on it…from there, I thought ‘wow someone likes my songwriting’…it was one of the first times someone had liked my songwriting.

He knew the drummer and then we tried to find a bass player for a while which has been difficult for us for some time…It was basically that…we had a great time and very quickly got a lot of interest. We played every bar and club you could possibly play in Brighton and drummed up a bit of interest and got a record deal four or five months after we formed.

We got lucky because one of the things that happened was that Paul and myself (still a very good friend) went into this pub and this guy said ‘you guys look quite cool, I like your hats’. He asked if we were in a band and we said ‘yeh’.  His mate was a manager and he put us in touch and from there, really. The hats will always be part of the story.

Have you always been interested in music?

Yeah definitely. I was always going to try to do something like that. I was interested in drama and acting at school and then I got expelled from my scholl which is bizarre when you look back on it. That moment in my life I went back home for quite a long time – I was off school for six or eight weeks and that’s when I got into music.

My dad was a musician and he passed away when I was a kid and I had all his records and all his guitars and all these pictures of Buddy Holly and The Rolling Stones, so it was kind of legacy to me to get into music. I hadn’t applied myself at all to music [yet], but I was in the house and surrounded by all these things so I started writing songs…from the age of 14 it was all I wanted to be.

Now, I have found mysef in the position I am in now…I have always loved music. My dad has always been a big part of it.

What do you love most about your job?

I do not love it all. There’s great things about it…I love being able to make msuic but you have to get the balance right because you’re away a lot which is fine when you’re younger but it can get quite tricky. Relationships or friendships can be quite hard, or you miss your favourite cousins wedding…there’s all that kind of stuff. I don’t really like all the travel and the constant airports.

The upsides are obvious…there’s loads of upsides and it is amazing to make music. You get to play for people who appreciate your music.

The music industry can be throughouly depressing, though. For anyone who makes music at the moment, it is a tough time. I feel very lucky…I don’t take that shit lightly because it’s so hard. There’s people with a million instagram followers who get signed…so it can be really hard. You do see great bands who are breaking through but it’s a really mad time at the moment in the industry. I find it quite tough…Knowing that people that are great aren’t getting deals any more. The funny thing is that I think it will be the death of those major labels – if they’re going to just sign instagram stars, how long is that going to last?

You have to maintain trying to keep centred and trying to write the best songs – there will always.

Your thoughts on Adelaide…

It’s unfortuantley not on the route a lot when we come to Australia, but I’m really excited to come back. I remember we went to a gig there [last time we went]. This time, we get to go to the beach, put our suncream on and soak it all up.

Beach Life hits Glenelg on 28 December. Tickets $101

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