Tokyo Police Club Audio
Nichole vs. Tokyo Police Club
The EARL Atlanta, GA
March 5, 2009
Nichole Bennett: Just introduce yourself.
Greg Alsop: I’m Greg Alsop. I’m in Atlanta, and I play drums in Tokyo Police Club.
NB: Thank you so much for joining me. So I guess just a little bit of background on the band. If you could describe the story of your band, would it be a comic book or would it be a pop-up book? And maybe fill in the details.
GA: I would probably choose a pop-up book. I’m not as familiar with graphic novels as some. I sort of grew up on pop-up books. I had a great version of “The Night Before Christmas” that my mom bought in the seventies that saw me through year after year.
NB: Yeah I make my parents read mine every Christmas.
GA: Yeah, same. We formed in January of 2005. We were all friends in high school. So you could picture us all there drawn in mostly pastel colors. And there’s a little slide arrow of us waving in front of our high school. We’d all just been friends in high school. The other three had known each other since elementary school, and we all just kind of bonded over similar taste in music. We were the only people we really knew in our small town who were into a lot of the new bands that were coming out around that time. You know like Interpol, The Strokes, Arcade Fire… Everyone else was, kind of strangely, into hip hop. It was a bunch of really rich white kids. Just like…beating each other up for no reason. And we were like “I don’t want any part in that.” So, our thing to do on Friday nights was just to gather in somebody’s basement and just play music until our parents told us to stop. Eventually, that brought us here.
NB: Where did the name Tokyo Police Club come from?
GA: There’s no good story.
NB: Is it just words mashed together?
GA: Yeah, it really is just words mashed together. That’s the best description. We should come up with a decent story for it because people ask us that all the time. We’re not a band full of mystery. That’s the problem…very open. And we’ve got nothing to say about our name. We wrote the song “Cheer It On” in May of 2005 and it came to be our first show, and we were like “We need to call ourselves something.”
NB: So how is this tour going?
GA: It’s fantastic. It’s the best. Yeah, we are touring with all incredible bands that we are great friends with. Ruby Coast from our home town in Toronto. Born Ruffians from there also. The Harlem Shakes, who are amazing. Ra Ra Riot, who we’ve been out with before. If I’m missing somebody, then I apologize, but it’s just all incredible bands.
NB: Yeah, I saw that all of your openers are fantastic.
GA: Yeah, we wanted it to be that way. We haven’t toured in a while, and we’re not going to be touring again for a while, so we wanted to make this as fun as possible. Going out on tour can be very exhausting, but when you get to the venue everyday and there’s a bunch of people there that you’re really excited to hang out with it’s much better.
NB: How would you describe the sound of the band, or even maybe the sound that you guys are looking for, to a three year old?
GA: To a three year old? We’re music you can jump around and have fun to, I’d say. You don’t have to cover your ears. We don’t have too many swears. Hopefully they aren’t words that a three year old would be familiar with anyway so it doesn’t really matter. Even if, there’s nothing that you would be shocked to hear a three year old say. It’d be a little more cute.
NB: Three year olds cover Tokyo Police Club.
GA: Yeah, yeah, you could do that. If Kidz Bop or whatever that was decided to do one of our tracks, they wouldn’t have too much trouble choosing, sifting through the lyrics.
NB: Do you ever read your own reviews? I always wonder, as a musician, if you read your own stuff.
GA: Yeah when the album first came out, I did. But eventually it became too difficult separating what they are saying as an actual critique from just journalism. You can’t take it to heart. Sometimes you find reviews that maybe do offer very good criticism that you can use to make better songs in the future. Some publications are just about tearing bands up, and some publications are just about puffing bands careers up. I don’t know. I feel like it’s good to find a middle ground.
NB: I feel like reviewers should also be reviewed sometimes.
NB: They’re never criticized for their writing.
GA: That’s the one thing. That is the one part of the music industry that is completely unnecessary. It’s kind of the easiest job out there.
NB: Yeah, nobody is looking over their shoulder.
GA: Exactly. Maybe that will be my thing…writing in just letters to the editor week after week. More counter-reviews.
NB: What is your favorite flavor of jellybean?
GA: In just the regular variety, yellow.
GA: Yellow lemon I guess. Or white, I guess. I like white beans sometimes. But if you’re going to go all the way to the Jelly Belly gourmet flavors, Dr. Pepper. We had a bunch. I got a bunch for Easter last year, and they were all nicely laid out in a tray, and within a few hours they all just spilt and were all over the floor. So every once in a while, you could just reach down, grab a couple up and just make a cocktail.
Matt Crisler (WSBF-FM): Do you eat the black ones? That’s the big question as to whether or not they like jellybeans?
NB: Yeah, I like the black ones.
GA: I do, yeah.
NB: My friends would all hand me the licorice ones. And I love food, so I was always like “Give me all of yours.” So, I gradually grew to love them.
GA: Yeah, I will take all of the other ones. But if I reach down and grab one, then I’ll eat it. No problem.
NB: So you guys have a Candyland van with jellybeans all over the floor.
NB: So I was thinking about this the other day that pop music, when you think about the word “pop” it has become something totally different in especially the minds of young people these days. Do you have your own personal definition? Or has it become a bad word? It used to be like pop and that meant Brittany Spears.
GA: I definitely agree that it used to be something to approach rarely, and if you were labeled as pop music it was just stuff that was very trite and easily digestible. The definition has become much for vague and all-encompassing. I mean, what do you really consider not “pop” music these days? Clearly if it’s not jazz and if it’s not composed in a modernist classical sense, then everything else can really fall under the pop category. I mean, we label ourselves as pop music. I don’t like assigning genres. Oh it’s like trip-electrocore or something. What are you talking about man? It’s just music, and if you like it, then listen to it. It shouldn’t be something that you try and find a label for and then listen very strictly to that.
NB: One more, and this is the one more and this is the one that I ask all bands. If you were an animal, what would you be?
GA: Me? Maybe a turtle because then when I tour, I can bring my home everywhere with me.
NB: That would be nice.
GA: That’d be the best actually. That would be really great. I don’t think it fits with me any other way.
NB: Thanks so much.