Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to Tokyo Police Club singer, Dave Monks, about their upcoming record Champ due out on Mom and Pop Records on June 8th. Filled with amazing tracks, trust us, this is TPC’s best album yet.
Modern Mystery:All of your albums have been successful, what kind of pressure did you have going into the studio to make Champ ?
Dave Monks: Not that much, going into Elephant Shell (Saddle Creek) we had a lot of pressure. This time when we were writing we didn’t even feel like we were writing a record. It was way more relaxed. I’m not sure if we turned it off but there wasn’t as much pressure.
MM: What inspires you to write a song? Where do you pull your inspiration from?
Monks: It can come from a many number of things. You have something planned conceptually and musically. Usually girls and stuff…ah that sounds so lame (laughs). There seems to be more light stuff on this record, going out, doing stuff.
MM: Your new record is being released on Mom and Pop Records. How come you decided to split from Saddle Creek?
Monks: Saddle Creek was awesome, and we were trying to gauge our feeling for every record with a fitting label. With Mom and Pop, their ceiling is much higher. When we worked with Saddle Creek there wasn’t a lot of options for us. Mom and Ppo is a good mix of both worlds of indie and major.
MM: You’re starting a contest that is challenging fans to go up in competition with you involving anything. Are you guys really game for the crazy ideas that may be thrown at you?
Monks: Oh absolutely! We’re really excited about the contest. Send in whatever, we’ll do it. I think since the record is called Champ, we thought the champ of what? We decided to find out. If it was called macaroni it would have been totally different.
MM: Will the competitions go up online for fans to see, as in will they be filmed?
Monks: We’re going to film them, then you’ll see how super fun they are and people can submit their ideas.
MM: How long did it take to record Champ? From songwriting to the end of the mastering process?
Monks: “Breakneck Speed” was written in January 2008 but it was definitely three months recording the record. We did six months of actual solid writing time
MM: What is your favorite part about going on tour and playing live?
Monks: When a show goes really well and a crowd reacts, it s a really cool feeling. It’s what you strive for. To be able to connect like that. And the food!
MM: How does the band write songs? Is it a collaboration? Does everyone bring in their own pieces?
Monks: It starts out as kind of…I’ll have a bunch of ideas about the skeleton or the ideas for the song, then the melody comes in. It starts out as it usually starts with me, then halfway through the process we all try to map it out. That’s where all the good stuff comes from.
MM: You guys blog a lot on your website. How important do you think it is to keep that connection with your fans?
Monks: It’s crazy that we can actually do that. For 300 dollars we got flip cams, and we edit the videos in no time, and they get really good response. If that gets fans excited and makes them feel more connected to the songs, that‘s great. Maybe they don’t like the songs and think we’re stupid. We like it and are going to keep doing it.
MM: What is your favorite song off of Champ and why?
Monks: I really like “Big Difference,” which is track 9 I believe. Something really unique came out of it. I don’t know how the song came about entirely but it came out from a chemistry I couldn’t tell you how to get.
MM: What musicians and bands inspired you to play music?
Monks: Definitely Radiohead, Wilco, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Apples in Stereo. I don’t know, so many bands. When we were in high school there was an amazing amount.
MM: If you weren’t in Tokyo Police Club, what would you be doing?
Monks: Probably be graduated with a B.A. and looking for work. I don’t know. I was in school and it was pretty aimless. I might be out of work (laughs).