Interview: The Struts @ Paris (ENG)

VERSION FR

Hello guys, thanks for meeting with us today; we know you’re always8 on the road and never stop and you even found time to release an album last year. Can you tell us where and how you created this new baby, Young & Dangerous?

Luke: On the road! (Big smile) In between tours.
Jed: It’s very international: L.A, Nashville, New York, London… It was anytime we had time on tour and could take a few days away.
Adam: It took like 9 months.
Luke: It was longer than that.
Adam: …like a year!

So you don’t really have time to write it comfortably in a studio?
Luke: Not at all. It was like « okay you have 6 days. Let’s do this”. Sometimes we could write in the studio, sometimes in the Airbnb. But most of the songs were just made like this you know, in a few days.

You clearly are the symbol of the new Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle but what does it really mean to be Young & Dangerous?
Luke: I wanted to say that because I’m not young anymore so I thought maybe I could call the album Young And Dangerous now and stay kinda young. But what does it means to be young and dangerous? It’s the celebration of freedom with very little regard for consequences. When it came to music, it was more to express how dangerous we are as a band.
Geth: I think we have pushed the sound quite far on this album. Everything was more dangerous in the way we work our sound too, even with the production, but I still think the result is pretty cool, you know just the way we achieve this.
Jed: The idea is also that it’s dangerous to do this kind of music in 2019. We’re fully aware that we’re underdogs in this industry because it’s not the mainstream.
Luke: We also have a dangerous life. I mean, we’re young, fuck**g talented, good looking… We kick fucking ass! (Laugh) So yes we are dangerous! You know if we’re playing a festival, there are all these other fuck**bands… I love festivals, we’re coming on stage and maybe people have never really heard of us before, we are backstage and some of them are « who are these cunts ? », then we get on stage and BAM that’s when we are dangerous because crowd fuck**g love it, they miss stuff like that.

You told us how dangerous it was to create these new songs but in the end, which was the most challenging song to write?

Luke: I think they all were challenging songs because there’s a few songs that really took a while; even People or Somebody New, In Love With A Camera… Even Body Talks.
Geth: I think In Love With The Camera was the worst. We rewrote this song like ten times. Sadly, I think the original version was the best, but never mind. (Laugh)
Luke: But it doesn’t damage the reputation of the song because at the end we all signed off like « okay this is fuck**g great, whatever« . But you can’t help listening to anything and be like « it could have been better« . So I think for the listener they’ll still loving this. That one in particular was especially hard but, we recorded Body Talk a few times… One of the most difficult things, for me, I mean personally, was the mixing at the end of it. We really tried to figure out how to do it because we worked with different producers, different teams and every fucking song sounded really different and it was really frustrating. And I remember I had like 3 or 4 different people mixing one song and I was like, « I like the version of this one but I love other things in other versions of that song« . The mixing can make the song completely different. It’s like the next stage of producing. You have to take everything at the next level.
Adam: It’s like for You Do It So Well. The first they mixed nothing sounded good, it didn’t make any sense…
Luke: It still doesn’t sound good now but, nobody could make it sound good. When you listen to it now, you’re like « why is this so quiet » and then you have the chorus « WOW!« . I loved it. It was fucking sick. We end up with 5 different people and that’s funny how people can be so wrong. For me, I can’t understand it, I don’t know what people do to make that bad but it’s funny how people try to be clever with it. Just try to make it a little bit better. Don’t fucking reimagine it. It’s already fuck**g perfect.

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I noticed on the LP, Fire and Ashes are at the opposite of the B-side. It’s quite unusual to have a song in two parts going together. Why did you make that choice? Why separate them?

Luke: I was listening to the songs for a while, and it doesn’t work like that. I tried to put them side by side, let’s be realistic. But it didn’t work. Ashes is really like the closer. It’s just how you have to finish an album. Fire has the emergency we need to start a B-side. Another thing as well, a tune like Freak Like You isn’t strong enough to start or finish this side. So Fire goes towards the beginning because it’s nice and it’s telling a story. I don’t know if you know it but the first side of the album is very colorful, very youthful, and then the other side has more depth with songs like Freak Like You, like Ashes, like Tatler Magazine, there’s a lot of more musical depth into it. So both sides work perfectly together.

The look seems to be a huge part of your identity, on stage it’s something almost theatrical like the way you move, you change your clothes or even makeup; mirroring big artists like Bowie or Queen…
Luke: It’s really important. The clothes and the makeup really help. It’s part of the show.  Let’s be honnest, touring can be hard sometimes. I know I’m lucky as f**k. When it’s me and the fans, like meeting them before the show to say hello, it makes me really excited. Then putting the outfits, the makeup… It’s like a ritual. I look in the mirror and it’s like « Okay it’s time to get to work ». And then, the show is like the other half of that. Sometimes you’re not having a good day, but you leave everything outside the theater. You try to be professional and do the performance. So, yeah, the look really helps.

Last time you were in Paris you did a cover with Yarol, what a surprise! How did this happen? Did you know each other before?
Luke: No, actually he was a fan and our label said, « hey, we know you guys love to jam so what do you think of this guy?« . And my girlfriend at the time knew him because she’s French and his dad is a massive Johnny Hallyday’s fan, so as he was playing beside him, I was quickly educated of who this guy was and he’s a great player. Good singer as well.
Geth: Lovely dude as well.

You really have a special relationship with your French fans, what do they represent to you?
Luke: Oh our French fans are the most beautiful, and the most sophisticated. They are probably one of the coolest that we have. I don’t know what it is but you can’t explain it, I mean you’re French you’re gonna get it. I can’t f**king wait to be on stage tonight. Every crowd gives you a different type of energy. Like in America, it’s like « Wooow brother!! Wooow Rock ‘n’ Roll! » (Laugh). I love that! I feel like I’m Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen in America. But here, in France, there’s so much more… I feel like I’m Bowie here. I feel like they are involved into the details, like they look at my shoes, look at my makeup, they appreciate it and they can see the intention behind it. That’s why I like them.
Jed: I think it’s also because the French were the first real fans we had. It’s there where we really started to play our biggest shows; so France is always close to our hearts. And coming back there, playing in bigger venues with 5 years of America behind us, it feels very exciting.

Live report @Paris 

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