The Kooks
Live @ Bristol Louisiana
January 27, 2006
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

'Luke Pritchard is one of the best young pop writers around.' NME

'The Kooks are the best live band we've seen all year.' WHAT'S ON

'The finest piece of short, feisty, perky indie teen action, since The Strokes' Last Nite.' GUARDIAN GUIDE

'Prepare to hear this everywhere, very soon.' DAZED & CONFUSED

'Superior Britpop for the 21st Century.' THE SUN

'Abrasive rhythm guitars chug like a Britpop steam engine, while pin-up in waiting Luke Pritchard, does a nice line in schizoid rocker.' THE MIRROR

'Truly sensational.' THE STAR

'Scuzzy, but melodic punk-pop gems, shot through with a sense of youthful joie de vivre. A band to follow.' MUSIC WEEK

Even if you had never heard of The Kooks, the above press cuttings would surely be enough, to whet your appetite for the young Brighton band's irresistible Indie Pop!

Aged between 18-22, Luke Pritchard (vocals / guitar), Hugh Harris (lead guitar), Max Rafferty (bass) and Paul Garred (drums), all met "through friends" whilst studying at Music College, and found that they "had similar ideas about music." After jamming (the first song they played together was The Strokes' Reptilia), they formed The Kooks, played some gigs, recorded a demo and were soon snapped up by Virgin Records.

Spirited frontman Luke revealed, "To be honest, we were way too young to sign a record deal, we'd been together like two or three months, so we really didn't want to sign. But then, we thought it's a really good opportunity, and Virgin seemed like really cool people - they just seemed to really understand where we were coming from."

A string of catchy hit singles thereafter, including Eddie's Gun, Sofa Song and You Don't Love Me, saw the band charting progressively higher in the UK Top 40, with each consecutive release - the latter of which reached Number 12. Then, on January 23, 2006, the band released their sparkling debut album, Inside In/Inside Out.

Recorded in London, at Ray Davies' (The Kinks) Konk Studios, the LP entered the UK Album Chart at Number 9, and not only highlights the band's aforementioned infatuation with Indie and Pop, but also uncovers their love of Rock 'n' Roll, Ska and Reggae. Luke's unmistakable voice, only adds to the infectious qualities of their songs as well!

But chances are, if you're a fan of The Kooks, you probably know most of this by now anyway + that Luke once dated singer / songwriter, Katie Melua, and that the band have recently supported The Subways.

Tonight however, The Kooks are headlining at the Bristol Louisiana - a venue regarded by many, as a fantastic place to catch up-and-coming artists. Not only is the sound superb, but its intimate (and very hot) atmosphere, ensures that gigs here are rammed to the rafters, and have the potential to become the stuff of legend! So, there's perhaps no better place to interview the South Coast band (currently on the ninth date of their sold-out UK Tour), as it turns out that this is also one of Luke's "favourite" venues!

At 5pm, I meet Luke and Hugh in the bar, and although they've had a busy day of interviews and photo shoots, they are genial, enthusiastic and more than willing to be quizzed for R*E*P*E*A*T. "This looks great" remarks Luke, as he glances at the cover of Issue # 23. We talk until about 6pm, and I'm then allowed to watch the band sound-check.
*Due to Max's reoccurring appendix problems, Pete has temporarily taken over bass duties for The Kooks' current tour dates*

Afterwards, the band kindly invite me back to their dressing room for a beer, and I also meet some of their family, friends and crew. With discussions of where to go for a night out on the town (amongst other things), drawing to a close, Paul then goes off to buy some replacement drumsticks, while Luke practises a new song on his acoustic guitar, which he still feels "needs to sound more dynamic." A little later on, an hour-long set sees the band tear through 14 of their songs, with equal amounts of passion and verve boiling over into the lively audience!

Having already created a stir in the Music Industry, and quickly made a name for themselves on the Indie Scene - "The Kooks are out" to quote a lyric from Matchbox, and they are having a blast!

It's only a matter of time until you fall in love with them…

1. The past couple of years have been a very important time for the British Music Scene, with many Indie bands producing some of the finest music in decades. Is it exciting for you, to not only be a part of this, but to be considered as one of the UK's most promising young bands?
Luke: "Wow, that's a pretty big statement (laughing). Yeah, I think that's true (pausing), well, I think that music has got very good recently as well, and if you look at the charts, live bands have been taking over. In the Top 5 you have the Arctic Monkeys, Hard-Fi, Editors - and the Kaiser Chiefs are probably in there still. It's all live music, it's real bands, do you know what I mean? Even if we don't particularly like them or whatever, it's really exciting man, and people seem to be getting into music for the right reasons now, rather than having it shoved down their throats - they're using the Internet to find new bands and artists. All that's really good and it's nice to be a part of it, and we do feel a part of it. Hopefully, we do show promise as well (pausing), sometimes, when we're sober (laughing)!"

2. What are the biggest influences on your life, and on your music?
Luke: "The Lord Jesus Christ (laughing). Ghandi, that's a good one! I don't know? Probably just (pausing)…"
Hugh: "When we were growing up, we had quite a lot of friends around us, and things that your around when you're young, kind of contribute to how you are as a person and as a musician. The music we listen to and the people we like (pausing), it's not just the musicians, but their philosophies as people just as much. I don't know man? It's all sorts of things, it's a combination really."
Luke: "Yeah (laughing), I think everything influences us! I suppose it's a weird question, do you know what I mean? as there's so many influences. Musically, obviously there's Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan… there's millions! But actually living your life and how to go about things, there's a few. Jim Morrison, after reading a lot about him (pausing), and that's quite recent, I've just read this one book about him. But before then, I didn't really know (pausing), well I'd always heard bad things, but the way he went about his life, is pretty inspiring. People like Bill Hicks, he influences us in a small way you know?"
Hugh: "Lots of people do it through different mediums, and he did it through comedy. Whereas other people, will go through music or whatever - even combine the two, like Andy Warhol did."
Luke: "Exactly! It's the sentiment that's the main thing!"

3. When speaking of his songs, John Lennon once joked, "There's nothing wrong with perfection, just as long as it doesn't take any longer than a couple of weeks!" Can you tell us about writing and recording your music, and how as a band, you know when a song is completely finished?
Luke: "I've never heard that quote before (smiling), it's great! We go through that a lot don't we (looking at Hugh)? It's hard (laughing)! Because one minute, you like one thing, and then…"
Hugh: "And then the next day we'll wake up and go, "Man, what were we doing that day? It sounds shit (laughing), or, really good!" I don't know? Songs grow on you and you grow apart from songs - sometimes you have to rework them as well, to fit into your mood. Because you listen to music and really like it one day, because of your mood (pausing), but you change as a person when you listen to music, and I suppose that's how bands develop? That's a mad quote, it's quite funny (laughing)."
Luke: "I think our philosophy on the first record, was just to do something really simple, and we were trying to make it all live - we tried to just get in there and get great sounds - do it simply as we were, and not over think it. That's what I think we were trying to go for, rather than that perfection thing. I mean, you can just go on for fucking ages (pausing), but then at the same time, sometimes that's right. Something like Bohemian Rhapsody or whatever, that probably took (pausing), well, it took a month I seem to remember reading somewhere, to finish all of the harmonies and the arrangement. But then Axl Rose has spent a decade trying to finish a record (laughing)!"
Hugh: "Yeah, yeah (laughing). Sometimes you have to let go of an idea that you have in your head about a song, because of how much it can change over time. Say Luke will play us one of his songs, and each one of us will have a different idea of how it's going to sound, how it's going to turn out, and you'll always pull in the direction that you want it to move. But somehow, its got to snap back into the middle. It's about compromising when we write songs together, and it is hard to let them go, because you just want to touch up a little bit here, a little bit there. Sometimes, I feel if we had the chance to, we'd record the album all over again, do you know what I mean (laughing)?"
Luke: "Yeah, exactly (laughing)!"
Hugh: "But, I may say that one day, but on other days it's like, "Yeah, this is wicked - this is perfect!" It's weird like that, perfection is imperfection in a way (laughing)."

4. Can you remember where you were, and how you felt, when you first heard one of your songs on the radio?
Luke: "Yeah, I remember that, it was Eddie's Gun - that was when Jo Whiley played it."
Hugh: "Yeah."
Luke: "We were on our Tour Bus weren't we (looking at Hugh)?"
Hugh: "Yeah, yeah."
Luke: "It's bad (pausing), well I feel bad for saying it, but we got told that it was going to be on (laughing). It's a bit shit, because we would've liked to have gone, "Oh My God - it's our song!" (laughing). That was a really fun moment though (smiling)!"
Hugh: "The first time that it happened to me, where I didn't know that it was going to be on, was on Channel 4, when our documentary came on at 1am in the morning. I'd just been out drinking (pausing), it's weird how you listen to your own music, from either a TV or radio, because you always think to yourself, "Man, if I wasn't in this band, what would I be thinking about this music right now?" And you try and think from a listener's point of view, but you can't, because you're always focusing on what you did and how it sounds, because you are in the band. So it's always hard to get a correct view of it, apart from whether you like it or not, and most of our songs on the album, I can't really listen to anymore. But that doesn't mean that I don't like it, it's just difficult to listen back to."

5. Musically, the whole concept of your debut album is, "Diversity and Simplicity" - but what are the main themes of your lyrics?
Luke: "Well, the lyrics, a lot of it's about paranoia - it's pretty paranoia-based, and there's a lot about relationships and shit like that. I was also thinking (pausing), well I think we all thought, that the first record would sound like Please Please Me - going for lyrics that were kind of bold, but simple. Also, I think it's quite honest and quite personal (pausing), I don't think the second record is going to be so personal, as this one is maybe just a little too personal, which is fine, as that's really the theme of our first record. But it is diverse, there's stories and other things going on as well."
Hugh: "It's a cool way to go about writing lyrics though, making them personal, because people hold onto that, and I think people (pausing), not buy into it, but they like it more when they can relate to songs."
Luke: "Yeah, yeah. Well if you open up, that's the thing, if you open up. I think people (pausing), I mean I personally get fed up of bands where I don't believe a word they say, or you know when you listen to a line, and people use these key words that are kind of cool? I don't care what you say, you can talk about (pausing), Max always says this, and it's a really good way of putting it I think. You can talk about going to pick flowers or whatever - you can talk about anything, but as long as it's honest and you're talking about it from here (placing fist on heart), then there's a meaning to it and there's a reason for it…"
Hugh: "No matter what it is."
Luke: "That's where we're kind of coming from - you don't have to put the world to right to mean something to people, do you know what I mean?"
Hugh: "You can be as trivial as you want, but if you're passionate about it, then someone's going to relate to it in the right way. Or, some people don't, some people make silly judgements and slag you off for it. But that's the way it is."

6. Are there any songs that you wish you had written?
Luke: "That's a good question man (pausing), there's so many! I mean the things is, at the end of the day, you want to be yourself though, do you know what I mean? But there's loads of things. It would probably be real old stuff, like classic, classic songs…"
Hugh: "Like A Virgin (laughing)."
Luke: "Yeah (laughing). I suppose old Blues songs - I would love to have written something like Not Fade Away, which is a Buddy Holly song (pausing), I think he wrote it? I'm not sure? But The Stones covered it - in fact, Under My Thumb (excitedly), the lyrics in Under My Thumb are fucking brilliant (laughing), it's so Un-PC now (laughing)!"
Hugh: "If you wish that you'd written it though, it's kind of taking away from who actually wrote it. I don't know? I think it's more of a desire, because like Luke said, you are who you are, and you write what you write."
Luke: "But, I would easily give up my life to be Keith Richards (laughing), no fucking questions (laughing)! I would, I would - I'd just do it, if I could just live his life, do you know what I mean? Fuck it, why not (laughing)? Brilliant (laughing)!"

7. Why did you hire Tony Hoffer to produce your debut album, and what do you feel he brought to The Kooks' signature sound?
Luke: "Well, I was a bit dubious to begin with, with Tony, because he's from LA and he wanted us to go there, and we were like, "Fuck that - we don't want to do it in some kind of soulless city, we want to do it back home!" But after having met him (pausing), the reason why we got him really, was because our A&R guy was really, really passionate about using him. There was talk about using another guy, Paul Stacey, who we'd just worked with and who we thought was really cool. But, Nick was so passionate and he thought it was so right, to bring that other kind of culture to our music. So I said let's meet him, and we were all like, "Let's use him - he's obviously going to get good sounds," and we had a really nice time. We had a week-and-a-half with him in Brighton - he came down and was kind of like our coach you know? He didn't really change any of the arrangements of the songs, but he was just coaching us, getting us tight and getting the stuff right. He got a bit hard on me about lyrics, because I had so many lyrics that I just repeated, and he was like, "Come on, you've got to write some more lyrics." I was like (pausing), well I was being all pretentious (laughing), saying, "I've got to get into the soul of the song man!" and he'd go, "No, it's just a song, shut up." In one respect he's right, in one respect he's not, but you know, he made us really focus on making the record, and that was really cool! We did have our fair share of arguments though didn't we (looking at Hugh)?"
Hugh: "Of course. That's what you've got to go through really, and I think that shows on the record as well, what we went through in that studio - being locked up and staying in a B&B next door, living in each other's pockets…"
Luke: "That B&B was so miserable (laughing). I remember hating that food (laughing)…"
Hugh: "It said English Breakfast on the menu, and all you got was 2 boiled eggs and stale bread (laughing)."
Luke: "Yeah, yeah (laughing)."
Hugh: "And there was some sweaty man bringing it out to you (laughing)."
Luke: "Do you remember Max (looking at Hugh)? Max was really freaking out (laughing), because he was in a room with really thin walls, with some sort of builders next door - they used to come in and bang on the door, telling him to shut up or whatever. We sometimes got back from the studio at 4am in the morning, and wanted to play a bit of guitar (pausing), there was also some night when 2 people were fucking, and he couldn't sleep (laughing)."
Hugh: "Yeah (laughing)."
Luke: "It just drove Max mental basically (laughing). But, we had so much fun doing the record! I mean it was hard (pausing), but it's one of those things that when you look back on it, it was so good! But at the time, it was hard work and everything, and there were massive highs and massive lows…"
Hugh: "I had a fucking abscess on my neck (laughing)…"
Luke: "Yeah (laughing). Hugh was walking around like this (holding neck), saying, "I'm gonna do my overdub now guys…"
Hugh: "I was in fucking pain! This huge thing decided to grow on my neck, and it just started to develop, I thought it was like a foetus or something. It was horrible (laughing)."

8. Why the LP title, Inside In/Inside Out?
Luke: "We were going through loads of album names, we had Suck It and See…"
Hugh: "The Luke Pritchard Experience…"
Luke: "That's not a real one, he's joking (laughing)…"
Hugh: "Luke Pritchard and The Insignificant Others (laughing)…"
Luke: "It's more like, bloody (pausing), never mind."
Hugh: "Jimi Hendrix Reincarnated as Hugh Harris, and The Insignificant Others (both laughing)."
Luke: "We had all of these names and they just weren't really clicking. I don't know? I thought of it when I was in bed, when I was about to go to sleep, just 'Inside In', and then I woke up and thought, actually, that's quite cool, and it kind of makes sense because we're quite honest, getting inside us and all that. The alliteration kind of worked, and then I thought 'Inside In Inside Out', and that it would be so cool to put a / like, White Light/White Heat, by The Velvet Underground. I thought that would be really cool, like a little homage!"
Hugh: "I think the title kind of sums us up for the past 2 years as well, because we had these songs or riffs or whatever, which were Inside In - they hadn't really been shown to anyone, and now the album shows them, so that's Inside Out. That's how I see it."
Luke: "Yeah (laughing)."

9. What would you choose as your 'Desert Island Discs'?
Luke: "Oh God, here we go (laughing). Nah, I'm joking, and you know what, I don't think we've ever been asked that in an interview before (looking at Hugh)?"
Hugh: "No we haven't."
Luke: "It's very weird…"
Hugh: "I would really like a Talking Disc - you know you have those Talking Discs that you listen to at night, where you learn a Language? But this one would tell you how to survive without any food or CDs (laughing)!"
Luke: "A Survival CD (laughing), that's a good one (laughing)! He's got a bit of wit - he's on it today (laughing)."
Hugh: "Fuck knows? Seriously, I mean it's so hard…"
Luke: "I think I'd say Hunky Dory, because that's got to be one of my favourite records. We listened to it the other day (pausing), I mean you know what it's like, music always changes - you like something one week, and then something else another week. But Hunky Dory is one of those albums, that you can always come back to, and it always does it for me! The songwriting is just fucking amazing, and I think it would keep you company…"
Hugh: "I'm really getting into Beggars Banquet by The Stones at the moment, so I'd probably take that album with me now, definitely! Loaded by The Velvet Underground. I'd probably take something that I didn't know as well, that I hadn't heard before…"
Luke: "Very good point!"
Hugh: "Because it would be something new to get into…"
Luke: "But then it's a gamble…"
Hugh: "That could be fun though? Just go on iTunes and pick one like that?"
Luke: "Maybe take The Rolling Stones' Forty Licks (both laughing). Or, The White Album…"
Hugh: "Double CDs!"
Luke: "Or, Sandinista - triple album, so there's even more music to listen to!"
Hugh: "Sound & Vision Box Set (laughing)."
Luke: "Yeah, Sound & Vision Box Set by David Bowie (laughing)."
Hugh: "The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Collection (laughing)."
Luke: "Yeah (laughing)."

10. On a similar note, what is the one thing that you couldn't live without?
Hugh: "A knob (laughing)…"
Luke: "A knob (looking at Hugh + laughing)?"
Hugh: "I'd have the penis blues (laughing)."
Luke: "Probably music. No, I don't know?"
Hugh: "It is!"
*Luke asks if you can have all of your human-being functions, and one material possession, to which I reply yes*
Luke: "Moisturiser (laughing). Fuck it, you know what - a guitar! Fuck 'Desert Island Discs', if you had a guitar, you could entertain yourself!"
Hugh: "What if you snapped a string (laughing + looking at Luke)?"
Luke: "Ok, a guitar witch had an extra set of strings (laughing). But then what if you snap those strings (looking at Hugh)?"
Hugh: "Um, you make strings out of pubic hair (laughing)."
Luke: "Urgh, you sick fuck (laughing), you could have at least just said hair (laughing)."
Hugh: "Yeah, you're right (laughing)!"

11. You all met at Music College - is this something that you would recommend to young musicians?
Luke: "We kind of met at Music College, but we didn't really meet Max (pausing), I mean he was there, but he never turned up because he was a lazy twat (laughing)."
Hugh: "To recommend it, depends on what a young musician wants to achieve. If you want to learn how to play as a session guitarist, and learn techniques, like how to play things spot on, then yeah, it's cool. But if you want to meet people who aren't bothered about where they want to go, and how they get there, and if you want to play music with lots of different people (pausing), well, we did get to do that there…"
Luke: "It's a hard question actually, but it's quite poignant, because my little nephew who's coming tonight actually - I haven't seen him for ages - he wants to go to ACM, which is this place in Guilford. It's the same kind of place that we went to, except a lot more kind of tacky…"
Hugh: "Tacky (laughing)?"
Luke: "It is (laughing). I went to see it and it's horrible - it's very flash. But you know what, I'd say if you go into one of those places with the right head on, you'll be fine. If you go into it just going, "Listen, I just want to play music," which is what Hugh was saying - if you go into it and say, "I just want to play music all day, I don't give a fuck about anything else," then you'll be fine. But if you buy into the desperate stuff (pausing), I mean we've been surrounded for so long, by people who are so desperate for success, and the minute that we all got together, we just wanted to let it happen. We just did the music and if you focus on the music, it all comes naturally man, because that's how it should be. Whereas if you chase it, then you're fucked you know? So if you go to Music College and say, "I'm just going to play my instrument, meet some cool people and have a good time," then I think you'll be all right. Just don't buy into all the crap they tell you, that's all. The thing is (pausing), not all of them, there's a few good teachers there, but a lot of them are really bitter because they haven't made it themselves, do you know what I mean? I feel like a twat saying that, but it is true, and so they kind of put their bitterness onto you, and tell you that The Music Industry is really shit. When actually (pausing), it is shit in a lot of ways, but there's a lot of good people as well, there really are. There's a lot of people who want to make somebody special, and you can't just deny that by saying, "it's all shit" you know?"

12. Some musicians and music fans, consider bands who are successful commercially or who have Chart Hits, as too mainstream. What's your opinion on this?
Luke: "They're dicks."
Hugh: "They're idiots."
Luke: "Look at The Beatles and The Stones…"
Hugh: "But that was a different time, and now you're under a lot more judgement from people. Entertainment's are being merged together and people judge you differently, because you're not just a musician - you're in the public eye quite a lot more. This whole celebrity status thing that's around at the moment, is just blurring the lines between musician and personality. I don't know man? I think if you bind yourself by those rules, then you're not really doing a very good job for the music yourself. Pop Music is popular music, obviously it's an abbreviation for a genre of music which everyone likes. As soon as you get people starting to put things into categories, it just becomes soulless, and I think that's a ridiculous attitude to have, and wholly immature if you're a musician. I mean if you really like music that much, then why would you put such a judgement on to it, just because loads of people like it?"
*Luke asks Hugh and myself, if we'd like to eat some dinner, and then returns from the Pub Carvery with a delicious-looking hot meal. Hugh soon follows suit*

13. The Kooks are named after a song on David Bowie's album, Hunky Dory. Why did you decide on this name, and were you called anything else beforehand?
Hugh: "We weren't called anything else. Luke used to be in a different band, and one of his mates suggested it as a name, but they never really did it. Then when we got together, we couldn't really decide on anything, and Kooks seemed to stick. Symbolically, Kook kind of means left wing, and quite an eccentric / wacky type person. I mean I'm not saying that we're fucking Chris Eubank's or whatever (laughing), but we do show a bit of personality sometimes, especially as a band you know? Kooks is just a cool song lyrically as well."
Luke: "The band I was in, in Clapham, wasn't really a band, because when we played, we didn't do gigs like this and we never played at proper venues. We played at my friend's flat and we'd just invite friends round, get stoned and just have a good time - we played music to our friends basically. I kind of remember who it was, it was a girl, and at the time, we were listening to a lot of Hunky Dory, and that's when I really got into David Bowie for the first time. I thought it was a really cool name, but nobody else really liked it, everyone was going "it's a bit shit," so we decided on The Basement Band. But a few years later, when I was playing with these guys, I suggested it and everyone really liked it, so we used it! It turns out though, that there's a couple of other bands called Kooks. But never mind."

14. You're very much a 'Fans Band,' and have rewarded Kooks devotees with Exclusive Gigs, Download-Only Songs, and even T-shirt and Poster Design Competitions. Is this something that you hope to continue?
Luke: "Oh yeah (pausing), you know what, when we started, one of our really big ethos's I suppose you could say (pausing), well one of the big things that we wanted to do, was not be shoved down people's throats - we'd talk about it all day you know? We wanted to let people get into it, because they liked the music, and not have someone telling them that they should buy it, and I think that's what we've tried to do the whole way through. That's why with the people who have come to our gigs all of the time, we try to, I suppose as you say, reward them (pausing), but you know, it's not rewarding them. It's nice for us man - because people actually want to come and see us, and not just because they think that it's cool or whatever, do you know what I mean? It's like when we did the album launch, we played a small place in Brighton, basically for fans. But what was really nice, is that I remember being on stage and looking out, and seeing people who were at our first couple of gigs - that kind of thing, and that's really cool! But yeah, we want to carry it on, of course!"

15. Max was quoted as saying, "I don't understand it when bands say they get bored of touring… because to us, every place is new, every single gig is new, and we always want to improve?"
Luke & Hugh: (both laugh hysterically).
Luke: "I can hear him saying it, but it's just that it's funny now (smiling), because he's gone off tour - we've got a stand-in bass player - but it's just funny (laughing), because whenever we get to Stoke, all you hear is him whining, "Fucking Stoke man" (laughing)! No, I'm just joking. In answer to your question though, yeah we all feel like that, especially playing music! There's all of the other shit that surrounds it, but when you get on stage, it's like, "Yeah!" How can you get bored of playing a song? Its always got a new meaning, its got a new feel and its got a new audience every time, so yeah, of course it's always exciting and we definitely enjoy it!"

16. Can you tell us more about the stage invasion, at your London Islington Bar Academy gig on September 1, 2005?
Luke: "Funny man, very funny!"
Hugh: "One guy got up on stage and just started dancing around, and we didn't have security, so we were just like, "Fuck it, yeah - let's have it!" And then another guy got up (pausing), I think people just wanted to get into the vibe of it, and that's what our gigs are all about I think. I handed my guitar to someone, who started strumming away and we just had a dance (laughing)."
Luke: "It was just mad - it was so cool (laughing)!"

17. What are your Tour Bus Essentials?

Luke: "Socks - oh yes!"
Hugh: "You fucking need socks (laughing)!"
Luke: "If you have a new pair of socks on, you feel like a diamond! But socks have a habit of disappearing, and every tour we do, I always go out and buy a whole load of socks, so that they're new, clean and fresh. You can't beat them!"
Hugh: "What else? Your sanity - you need that, that's quite important on tour, because you're away from home for quite a long time, and you don't really have a root, do you know what I mean? You're living out of a suitcase and you don't have a bedroom, you're sharing with 10 other guys in coffin-sized bunks. It's not the most homely of atmospheres (pausing), well it can be, but it can't be as well, it depends how you're feeling. So I don't know? Probably a bit of Vaseline to ease the tensions (laughing)."
Luke: "I'm socks - Hugh's lubricant (laughing)!"

18. Do you have any special memories of places you've visited, bands you've met, or standout gigs / festivals so far?
Luke: "Ooh, so many memories. When we were at V, we met that dude from The Polyphonic Spree, and we went to see the Super Furry Animals - I really enjoyed it! We were just having a laugh really (pausing), I can't go into it, but it was fun!"
Hugh: "I have loads of memories…"
Luke: "You know what was good (looking at Hugh)? France, when we came back from France, that was really nice."
Hugh: "Yeah it was (pausing), actually, Ibiza - fuck it, Ibiza was first, yeah man! We were out there for a couple of days and we didn't really get any sleep (laughing)!"
Luke: "It was mad! It was really, really mad (laughing)!"
Hugh: "Parts of the island aren't too great, but it was really enjoyable."

19. Are your family and friends proud of you?

Luke: "Yeah, my Mum's really happy, because my Dad was a musician and it's nice to carry it on. But I had some shit when I decided that I wanted to do music, because my Dad died when I was young, and my Granddad always felt like he had to do the whole fatherly thing, do you know what I mean? I remember having conversations with him and saying, "I just want to do music," and he went, "No, you should be a bloody accountant or something like that." And I would say, "Look, I don't give a shit about being a fucking accountant," do you know what I mean? But, Mum's always been really cool about it, and she seems pretty happy with me. Every now and then, she sends me a letter saying well done and all that."

20. Luke, is it true that you said, "The Kooks are a groove Rock 'n' Roll band who want to make people dance - but when there's so much music to explore, why limit yourself? We want to take risks, and we want to challenge what's expected of us"?

Luke: "Yeah, yeah - I think we've said both of those things. I don't know which one of us said them? I might have said one of them? But yeah, totally man - especially now as we're getting more into the groove stuff, like Rhythm & Blues. We don't want to limit ourselves to anything, and I think we all feel that we've got the skills, or whatever it is (pausing), well not skills. But we can basically do Reggae, we can do Rock 'n' Roll, we can do Acoustic - we can do all of those things and more, so why not do that? That's how we all feel you know? Why just be a Garage Rock 'n' Roll band because it's cool?"
Hugh: "We're not close-minded about it basically, we just do whatever we feel like doing really, and we're not limited by what people think we are, or this whole rock thing that's going on. That's always been the aim of our band!"

21. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Luke: "I don't really like chips, so I'll go for cream buns."
Hugh: "I'll go for chips man, I prefer savoury."

A very special thanks to Luke, Hugh, Paul and Pete, to The Kooks' Tour Manager Tony, and to Victoria @ Virgin Records, for all of their time and help.

Bristol Set List

Do You Want To See The World
Eddie's Gun
Moves In Her Own Way
Time Awaits
I Want You
Sofa Song
Ooh La
If Only
You Don't Love Me
Pull Me In
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