Interview: Scouting For Girls

Victoria LeggettCatchy pop is set to resonate through Thetford Forest with Scouting For Girls and, as bassist Greg Churchouse tells VICTORIA LEGGETT, they really cannot wait.

Victoria Leggett

Catchy pop is set to resonate through Thetford Forest with Scouting For Girls and, as bassist Greg Churchouse tells VICTORIA LEGGETT, they really cannot wait.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Surrounded by beautiful mature trees and the sound of Norfolk wildlife, Thetford Forest has been sharing its tranquil woodland setting with music lovers for more than 10 years.

Most Read

When Scouting For Girls step on stage on Thursday it will be the band's first appearance at the breathtaking venue, and the first time headlining any Forestry Commission gig.

But a turn as the support act for indie group The Feeling a couple of years ago at another woodland venue means bassist Greg Churchouse already knows what to expect from the unusual style of concert - and cannot wait to do another.

'Normally you are in a dark, dank venue, all enclosed and in your own little world,' he says. 'But when you do one of those gigs, it's amazing. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I had never been to one of those type of gigs in my life - even as a spectator - and it was mind-blowing.'

It meant agreeing to do the concert was a very easy decision and the band are all looking forward to getting out among the trees and blasting out songs from their new album, Everybody Wants To Be On TV.

Greg say: 'I'm really excited about this gig. It's such a good idea. It brings in extra money for the Forestry Commission and it's a great experience for all the people who head down there.'

It is true the beautiful forest venue will differ greatly from the usual venues a band visits on the promotion trail.

Leading up to the Norfolk show, Scouting For Girls have completed a comprehensive UK tour taking in towns and cities from Liverpool and Leeds to Blackpool and Bournemouth - each time playing in an enclosed academies or concert hall.

Yet Greg insists the group's performance in Thetford will be no different to any of their other gigs - because they rock them all.

'We like to pride ourselves on being a good live band. Wherever we play live we always take our A game and we're always working at 110%, trying to put on a good show. The setting is the only difference. The show will still be us rocking it - just with a lot of pretty trees.'

The Thetford Forest show have attracted a wide variety of acts over the years from 1970s icons Blondie and 1990s Brit Poppers Pulp to indie rockers Embrace and reggae stars UB40.

And, thanks to the stunning setting, the audience can be just as broad a mix with many coming along for the atmosphere just as much as the music.

Greg said a varied crowd would be perfectly suited to the piano-led Scouting For Girls sound - and could also help them pick up a few more fans.

He said: 'We're enormously blessed with our demographic - our record label don't know how to advertise us. When you look at one of our shows, at the front you tend to have 13- and 14-year-olds going crazy. Further back, we have them going back in ages. The parents of the teenagers are usually at the bar, having a beer, and saying 'I quite like this one'.

'Hopefully we should be able to get some more people involved at this gig.'

For the band, the gig is part of the promotion of their second album which was released earlier this year.

Released nearly three years after Scouting For Girls' eponymous debut record, which reached number one in the album chart in 2008 and produced five top 40 singles, the band's second offering brought with it a little nervous anticipation.

Greg says: 'We had no idea if anyone would remember us, we were away so blooming long. But the reception we have got has been amazing - we're chuffed to bits that people still remember us and that it's going so well.'

The first song released from the record, This Ain't A Love Song, notched up another achievement for the boys, earning them their first number one single.

The band's bassist said, although they had already had 'so many amazing experiences' during their relatively short careers, introducing the song on BBC Radio One's chart show definitely rated as one of the highlights.

The group's success flies in the face of comments made by many critics who seem to object to their brand of catchy pop.

Roy Stride, the band's lead singer, has described Scouting For Girls as similar to Marmite - people either love them or hate them.

Greg says the show at Thetford would soon put their critics right. He says: 'If people came and saw us live, they would love us. We're not some evil pop band. We're a rock band. Everything you see is being played by someone. There's no recording - it's all completely live.'

While they work at winning over the critics, the fans of upbeat, sing-a-long songs will make their way to Thetford Forest for the gig.

t Scouting For Girls play Thetford Forest on July 8.

t New single Famous is released on July 18.

t Further listening: