20 Questions With The Strypes

With a repertoire of Blues standards, a phenomenally well received Late Late Show appearance under their belt and a killer video to accompany their latest release, the future's looking good for The Strypes - but how did they get the blues at such an insanely young age?
Publish date:

1. You're insanely young to be singing the blues. What gives? How'd you get the blues?


EVAN: The whole blues thing really came out of a shared love for The Beatles. Our interest in them introduced us to other British Beat/R&B groups such as The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Who, The Kinks and Dr. Feelgood. We then began researching the numbers they covered and that brought us onto artists like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter and Slim Harpo. We became passionate about it and that’s how we ended up playing it.

2. Who are The Strypes?

The founder members of the group are Pete, Evan and myself. We’ve known each other since we were very young and have always jammed together over the years. Then we met Ross, the lead singer, about a year and a half ago and things started to become more serious, getting a proper set together and gigging regularly. The line-up is:
ROSS FARRELLY – lead vocals/harmonica/percussion
JOSH McCLOREY – lead guitar/keyboards/vocals
PETE O’HANLON – bass guitar/harmonica
EVAN WALSH – drums

3.  How long have you been together?

ROSS: We been together properly for 18 months.

4.The video for "You Can't Judge A Book" is a small work of art. Who filmed it? Where? What was the inspiration for it? It has the feel of Beatles movie.

PETE: The video for “You Can’t Judge A Book….” was filmed by Finn Keenan, a young and up-and-coming Irish filmmaker who is also from Cavan. He’s in his early twenties and just out of film college. We’ve known him ages and have a great rapport with him. The idea of the camera rapidly switching to show us in different positions was Finn’s, I’m not sure what was inspired by. The black and white lent a nice 60s vibe to it all.

5. Any plans to record your own songs in the near future?

JOSH: We’re just trying to let the song writing develop organically. There’s no real pressure to start writing, as the songs we’re playing aren’t being played by many people. The covers we play define our identity as a band and we’re very selective about material. Anyway, in blues bands, the emphasis is not really on originality but the way you interpret the songs, rearrange them and make them your own. I mean, The Stones first three albums were mainly covers and The Animals barely had an original between them!

6. Would a lazy comparison to The Commitments be unfair? Do you think it's high time The Strypes had a movie of their own?

EVAN: A lazy comparison to The Commitments would be absolutely and completely unfair, mainly because we are nothing like them. We model ourselves on the British blues bands such as The Yardbirds, Dr. Feelgood, Stones, Animals etc. and a comparison to any of those bands would be more than welcome. We try to interpret the original bluesmen’s material as they would have. As for the film, I think that’s a few years away yet!

7. The recent Late Late Show performance was very assured. Any nerves or are you taking it all in your stride?

ROSS: There was little bit of nerves in the minutes before going on, naturally, but once you start playing the track, you get into it and the nerves fade.

8. Is school getting in the way? Any plans to go totally rock 'n' roll and fuck your Leaving Cert. off?

PETE: It is a bit of a drag to go back to school after a weekend of gigs, radio, TV or recording. It’s hard to say exactly what’s going to happen but the way things or going, finishing school is become more and more unlikely.

9. What's a typical Strypes crowd like?

EVAN: We get a great mix at gigs between male and female. The kids get in when they can but many of the gigs we play are in clubs in Dublin where we aren’t even supposed to be there. The adults appreciate the act more for the music and the quality of the playing, while some of the younger ones seem drawn to it possibly because it’s people roughly their own ages playing rock ‘n’ roll with a youthful exuberance they’re not used to.

10. Anyone give you a hard time?

ROSS: Not really. Cavan is a very rural area so more people in school care about sport and stuff like that, though some of them think the band is cool and are all in favour of it.

11.It's obvious who your influences are are but are there any current bands you chaps like? Anyone you'd like to work with?

JOSH: There are some really good people out that at the moment. Miles Kane, The Last Shadow Puppets, The Heavy, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and Vintage Trouble are really great.

12. How have your families reacted to it all?

EVAN: Our families are obviously very happy and excited about what is happening, but everyone is managing to keep clear heads about it. My dad Niall is the manager of the band so we just talk about all these things in a very normal, relaxed way, mainly getting excited when we get some big news about something.

13. You have a very accomplished sound. How long have you been playing your instruments?

PETE: I’ve been playing bass for just over a year. I played guitar before that, but never really got into it or had as much fun as playing the bass. I’ve been playing harmonica for about a year now. I just took a notion one day and bought one and found I picked it up very quickly. I had a sort of beginner’s book for harmonica, which I used, but also just constantly watched videos and listened to harp players like Sonny Boy Williamson, Keith Relf and Ray Davies.
JOSH: I’ve been playing guitar for four years now. I played bass before that. I’ve been playing keyboards for nearly a year now.
EVAN: I’ve been bashing about on the drums since I was four!
ROSS: I’ve only been properly at it since I joined the group, just sung around the house before that!

14. Any plans to tour outside of Ireland? Fuck school off you know you want to. Tour, tour, tour...

JOSH: Well all the gigging is starting to get more and more regular and we’re getting better paid bookings, so who knows!

15. Vespa or Lamberetta?   PETE: Vespa.

16. Do you think you're spearheading something here? A return to real music. Music with a bit of soul. I hope you are.

EVAN: It’s hard to tell. If we were to make it big and then other acts popped up being inspired by us, that would be fantastic, a return to good old-fashioned rhythm and blues.

17. Describe a typical Strypes gig for us.

ROSS: There isn’t really such thing as a typical Strypes gig as we play to a huge variety of gigs to a many different varieties of people. A typical club gig, such as the Retro Revival Club or the Mercantile (two clubs in Dublin we play), would consist of an over-18s crowd going pretty mad over us! The rave-up and climaxes in the set are always really exciting and fantastic, songs like Slim Harpo’s “Got Love If You Want It”, Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man”, Billy Boy Arnolds “I Wish You Would” and of course the finale of “My Generation” are some of the highlights. People can get incredibly whipped up! Generally we gain new fans and are well-received wherever we play.

18. What's on your rider (given you're not old enough to drink in most places).

EVAN: We haven’t had a rider before, but I’d insist there’d be several packets of McVitie’s chocolate digestive biscuits!

19. Do you know any good Cavan jokes?

PETE: Afraid not, sorry!

Well that's alright Pete, know a few myself. Cavan man stripping the wall paper, his neighbour says, 'You decorating?' Replies, 'No moving.'

20. Top ten fav songs  everyone should listen to.

The Beatles – I’m Down
Chuck Berry – Roll Over Beethoven
Bo Diddley – Pretty Thing
The Rolling Stones – Off The Hook
The Pretty Things – Rosalyn
Muddy Waters – Hoochie Coochie Man
Howlin’ Wolf – Down In The Bottom
Robert Johnson – Rollin’ And Tumblin’
The Yardbirds – Over Under Sideways Down
The Who – Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

If you liked this, have a go on:

The Strypes: The Irish Teens Giving Rock And Roll A Kick In The Arse

Click here for more articles about Music in Sabotage Times

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook