Q&A • Charlotte Davies chats with...
Roy Stride of Scouting For Girls
Scouting For Girls is an English pop band comprising three best mates, Roy Stride, Greg Churchouse and James Rowlands. They have sold over two million albums and singles, received over 500 million streams, and been nominated for four Brits as well as one Ivor Novello award. Their UK tour for 2022 has almost sold out and it does not begin until November. However, you can still catch them at Trentham Live from 1st-4th September 2022 (playing support for McFly on the 4th). I chatted with lead singer Roy who feels he is writing better music than ever. 15 years strong and this upbeat band are showing no signs of slowing down.
Hi Roy, so where are you speaking from?
I’m currently at home, I have a couple of days off. We did Glastonbury last weekend, which was amazing. We had such a wonderful time. We played on the acoustic stage. We had the best response we have ever had playing Glastonbury. I’m now just in the studio working on some new songs.
Do you prefer to do the smaller stages at Glastonbury as they are more intimate?
Oh, I would much prefer to be on the Pyramid Stage, but we have not been invited up to that one yet.
How does it affect your home life being away so much, do you find it difficult?
They are used to it now. Every weekend from May to September I am away. I’m around much more Monday to Friday than most people. I get to take my kids to school and pick them up a lot. I also have a recording studio next to my house so I can be flexible. My kids are 13 and 11 so have got to the age where they enjoy coming to some of the festivals.
Do you think Covid has had a big effect on music?
This year live, we have been busier than ever before. Covid has definitely had an effect. There is a really buzzy, happy atmosphere. It’s a bit grim out there in terms of the news and economy and people are looking for those things to distract themselves and have a good time.
Your music is ‘happy music’ uplifting, catchy, a bit of escapism with great melodies. The kind of stuff you have to sing along to on the radio.
I could not describe it better myself. People know they are going to smile and sing along and that’s what we try and do. I love being the front man of this band because it is a real joyful experience for everyone.
You are known for your witty lyrics and catchy melodies. Do you write your own music?
All the Scouting For Girls stuff is all me. I just write from a very happy place. I write for other bands and artists too. ‘This Ain’t a Love Song’ was not a particularly happy song, but it still has an uplifting message.
Writing, performing, recording; what is your passion?
I love it all. I love writing music. It’s the closest you get to magic. You can start with nothing and half an hour later have a song that can change people’s lives. 20 years on from when I first wrote a song, I still find it a wonderful experience. The connection playing with the crowd live is amazing too. We are so tight as a band. We can tailor it to whatever the crowd needs. I love making sure everyone in the audience has a fun time. If it is not working, we just change tack. There are no set lists. We play to the crowd. It’s good as it means no show is ever the same.
It is widely known that you three are best mates - have you ever felt it has tested the limits of your friendship being in the band together?
Not at all. We were friends for about ten years before we even started making music together, then another ten in a band together before we got a record deal. We got a record deal 15 years ago. That’s 35 years. I’m not sure what would have to happen for us not to be friends.
If you were not doing this, what would you be doing?
I never had a backup plan. I worked for Carphone Warehouse part-time. The rest of the time I spent doing music. I would still be working there part-time trying to get the band signed in my forties.
Or would you be a pilot? I hear you have an aviation podcast named ‘Top Landing Gear’ which you host with Rob Curling, Jeremy Curling and James Cartner.
I haven’t got my license. I am the slowest student in the world, I have about 3-4 lessons a year, but it’s fun.
McFly or Busted?
It would always be McFly. I worked on the McBusted album. I have known all those guys for such a long time. I know them on a personal and professional level, and they are all such good guys. When we were trying to make it, both bands were the biggest in the country. I never dreamed then that we would be playing with them.
Do you think ‘Shes So Lovely’ is the song that made Scouting For Girls?
Yes absolutely. Every band has a song that catapults them to a different level. Coldplay had ‘Yellow’, Robbie Williams had ‘Angels’. There is always that one associated song.
Who was it written about?
It was rewritten over three years. There are various people that popped up whilst I was writing it. The actual origin of it is lost now.
You have had an amazing career. Do you still have a wish-list of stuff you would like to achieve?
Oh absolutely, I am still so hungry. I feel I am writing better songs than ever. I want to write a hit record. I still feel like I am learning in life and in music. 15 years on we are only getting started. The band is bigger than ever.