Indie-pop band "Scouting for Girls" to perform at Atlantis Dubai's Sandance festival
Almost a decade into their professional career, indie-pop band Scouting for Girls appear to have avoided most of the traps and pitfalls that await a charting act in the cutthroat music industry.
“We’re extraordinarily content with the life we lead,” says bassist Greg Churchouse, “and as long as we get to carry on doing it, we’ll be happy as Larry.”
After releasing three studio albums and a greatest hits compilation, all of which peaked inside the UK top 10, the London trio are set to start work on their fourth studio album later this year.
The group’s eponymous 2007 record topped the charts, going triple-platinum and producing hit singles She’s So Lovely, Elvis Ain’t Dead and Heartbeat, and in 2010 they released their only number one single to date with This Ain’t A Love Song.
As well as performing at Sandance this Friday, Scouting for Girls also have an exciting summer ahead with two giant shows in their homeland alongside Backstreet Boys and new supergroup McBusted.
City Times spoke with Greg ahead of his band’s trip to Atlantis Beach on the Palm Jumeirah, where they will perform on a festival bill which also includes Pet Shop Bys, Fatboy Slim, Arrested Development and Goldfish.
Have you ever visited Dubai?
I’ve been to Dubai once before, over a decade ago for my dad’s 60th birthday. I’ve been told it’s changed quite a lot since then.
What are some of your proudest moments since starting the band?
Our first really proud moment was the first time we ever released a single. We started the band back when we were at school, then we toiled and struggled for 10 years, so to actually get a record deal after that length of time was absolutely amazing. Then to get a single and an album out, along with a whirlwind of two years of constant touring, was absolutely phenomenal. We never dreamt in 100 years that we’d ever get to do this professionally. Another proud moment was when we played Wembley Stadium.
When was that?
It was part of a Capital Radio gig in 2010. That was fricking weird – walking out onstage at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately, they hadn’t turned the monitors on. So I’m lapping in the crowd, it’s absolutely amazing, then I turn around and see that Pete our drummer has already started playing and I can’t hear him!
When you first received a record contract offer, did you think someone might be pulling your leg?
Totally! I was working in a shop, and I remember sitting there messing around reading a newspaper, then getting this e-mail and going, ‘Nooo, this can’t be right!’ It literally wasn’t until we’d signed the contract and gone down the pub afterwards that we got on our phones and told our respective jobs, “Really sorry, I won’t be coming into work tomorrow…or ever again!” That was the best phone call I’ve ever had to make.
Were you polite in your resignation or did you go out in a blaze of glory?
I was very polite, just in case. You don’t want to burn your bridges!
What were your preconceptions of being a rock star, and did they live up to the reality?
It was weird – we never had any preconceptions what it would be like, maybe because we never thought it would kick off in the way it did. We always thought we’d be a little cult band signed to an indie label, so to be picked up by Sony and constantly tour was…well, it was a lot more hard work than you’d expect. I got into a band to avoid early mornings, and yet I still seem to get up early all the time!
You’ve remained on the same label, and seem to have had a less fraught time of things than some of your peers. Do you think Scouting for Girls have been relatively lucky in that sense?
Definitely. We were really blessed that the guy who signed us, Nick Raphael, was so passionate about the band that in comparison to a lot of other acts we definitely had it a lot easier. He used to text us after a gig and ask us how it went – how many managing directors of a record label do that for their bands?
With musical shifts in the past seven years, do you think Scouting for Girls would have stood less of a chance if you came out in 2014 as opposed to 2007?
Definitely. It was a lot of luck and a lot of perseverance that got us to where we were, but it was also the musical climate of the time. Music seems to work in cycles, and I think we’re coming to the end of a cycle now and back into bands and guitar music. But it was definitely right place, right time.
What: Sandance festival featuring Pet Shop Boys, Fatboy Slim, Scouting For Girls, Arrested Development, Goldfish and more
Where: Atlantis Beach, Atlantis the Palm, Dubai
When: Friday, May 9, 3pm to 3am
Cost: Dhs300 regular, Dhs350 at the door, Dhs450 VIP (Sandance NYE ticket holders can get a 50 per cent ticket discount, which must be availed before May 9)
For more info: See www.sandance.ae