Interview: 60 Seconds with The Strypes

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This interview was produced for and originally appeared in the Metro Herald.

Josh McClorey, 17, is the lead guitarist in Cavan rhythm and blues sensation The Strypes. With an average of just 16 they recently signed a multi-album deal with Mercury Records.

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2012 was a phenomenal year for The Strypes, did the success come as a surprise?

We’ve been a little bit shocked at how much attention we’ve been getting but you do get used to it. From the outside looking in everything looks like a whirlwind but everything feels quite gradual because we spend every day together and we’re still quite grounded.

Any particular highlights so far?

Playing with Paul Weller at Abbey Road was unreal. The Jam would be quite a big influence, especially style wise and with their attitude – they’re quite ballsy

How was the sold out Whelan’s gig?

It was amazing; it was a great way to end the year. It sold out quite quickly and the crowd were really up for it. It was just one of those special nights you’ll remember. It’s such a rock n roll venue too. We prefer small, sweaty clubs.

Elton John is apparently a fan, have you had a chance to meet him yet?

He came to a gig we did in Brighton and we got chatting to him after. We’re signed to his management company, Rocket Music. They look after people like Ed Sheeran so we have great management behind us. We talked to him a little bit and you can tell he’s just such a genuine music fan.

Was there much competition for your signatures?

Yeah, it all started when we released our four-track EP in April. It went to number one and there was interest from Universal Music which translated over to the UK. We did a lot of gigs in London in September and a number of record companies tried to sign us.

Why did you eventually decide on Mercury?

With Mercury everyone was so nice. All the others were good labels but we just got on particularly well with Mercury and their international scope is amazing

How long have you all been playing?

I started playing the bass when I was about 5 or 6, then switched over to the guitar when I was 11. Evan (Walsh) has been drumming all his life, Pete (O’Hanlon) has only been playing the bass and harmonica a couple of years and Ross (Farrelly) has been singing in the shower all his life!

You guys seem to have really put the practice hours in…

We’ve been together about two years and we spent at least six months building ourselves up. We’ve been off the last two weeks and we’ve been practising every day. It works because we’re such good mates and it’s just natural for us to jam.

Your influences aren’t typical for teenagers, how did you get into that sort of music?

When we were younger Evan’s father Niall, who’s one of our managers, had quite a tasty record collection. We were introduced to bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles when we were kids and then when we got to about 14 we started looking at the bands they all covered like Bo Diddly and Chuck Berry.

I take it The X Factor isn’t on in the rehearsal room so?

We don’t like that kind of music at all. There’s nothing real, there’s nothing rock n’ roll about it. It could be any four or five good-looking lads in those boy bands. We’re more about keeping it real than jumping on the bandwagon.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

Tough question! Any one of The Rolling Stones would be quite cool, McCartney is a big one for me and Jeff Beck is one of my guitar heroes.

How are you balancing all this with school?

Pete, Evan and I are over 16 so we’re allowed take a break which is what we’re doing. Ross has to stay in and complete his Junior Cert though and then we’ll see after that.

When will we see the debut album?

We plan to record in August or September time. It’s going to be a nice mix of covers and originals. We want to do it like a lot of the band who we’re influenced by, like Dr Feelgood, and mix the two.

Any other plans for 2013?

We just want to gig as much as we can this year. We want to build up the fan base in England and there have been offers from Japan and America so hopefully we’ll get to there.

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