The Touts are a teenage three-piece with a sound and image akin to the Jam. The Derry band take influence from The Buzzcocks and the skinhead scene of the 80s. Way Out Radio spoke to lead singer Matthew Crossan.
What’s it like coming from Derry? Is there a scene there?
We love Derry, some people that live here call it a shitehole but we have it so easy. It’s a lethal city with loads of history and plenty of good spots. We’re all very proud to come from Derry. The city has come a long way in recent years. It’s the type of place where everyone knows everyone. In terms of a scene. I think the scene comes and goes once there’s a band or an artist with a bit of buzz about it there will be new bands starting and the scene gets going a bit. Usually in a venue called Masons Bar, you have the Nerve Centre, Sandinos and Bennigans also. At the minute there is loads of young bands starting which is very exciting.
Why’d you choose the band name Touts?
We had to change our old name because we would’ve run into legal issues. Our bassist suggested it as a joke and we sort of liked it. It short and in your face like our bassist Luke. It’s very significant here in the north of Ireland because “touts get shot” a tout here is a squeal or a super grass. And that was an act that was punishable by death. And in some instances still is.
What drew you to punk?
Just everything about it, it comes while naturally to us. I dono it’s hard to describe, I spose the attitude the reasons and it’s the best craic to play. The lifestyle of it too to an extent.
What do you think about being likened to The Undertones and Buzzcocks?
Happy days like, they’re 2 brilliant bands so it’s definitely a compliment to be compared to them.
You’ve got some shows coming up with Blossoms, what do you think of them and are you looking forward to it?
Blossoms, I first seen them supporting Paul Weller about a year ago. Really liked their music straight away. Because I remember that bass was loud as fucked and they just make music that is good to listen to. We supported them in their Irish tour there and they’re really sound boys. So we’re looking forward to playing with them again.
Do you write a lot of lyrics and what do you write about?
Individually for me it’s the Rolling Stones, Luke probably The Stone Roses and Jason Led Zeppelin. Now our music tastes are somewhat different with a few mutual artists like The Clash, slf and the smiths surprisingly. A lot of folk. The Dubliners are unreal. Simon and garfunkel aswell as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s solo stuff is brilliant.
Do you ever forget lyrics or change them when you play live?
Aye I suppose when we’re writing we write a lot of lyrics before we settle, we’re really critical of ourselves. I try to look at lyrics from other people’s perspective, because the song has obviously the meaning to us about what we wrote it about. But I want someone else to be able to listen to it and take whatever they want about it so I’d say we’d try to be a bit poetic with them. Which again folk is brilliant for that. We write about our lives, what effects us and what we think needs wrote about
If we have a new song we’re playing occasionally we forget lyrics, or if we come in at the wrong parts, mistakes happen. Look at me for example. In terms of changing them every so often aye I’d change them sort of subconsciously if a word or phrase fits the song better.
Do the band have a message? Is there anything you fight against?
Stop bombing Syria, Free Palestine and End Brexit.
What do you think about social media and what is your approach to it as a band?
Social media is a good tool, but it’s a handful too, its so easy to lose a serious amount of time by just mindlessly scrolling down your news feed, your Twitter or your Instagram. But it’s here and is probably here to stay so.
How did the band meet and how long have you all been together?
We met through mutual friends, and Derry City Football Club matches (ut RP13) funnily enough. With the current line up we’ve been together since November 2016 but with our old bassist we’ve been going since June of 2015.
Have you toured?
Just for us to write more tunes and we’ve a few lethal lethal gigs coming up, with blossoms, kasabian and cabbage. We’ve a headline show with young Rory Wynne in London on the 26th at the Camden Assembly.
What was the recording process like for the new record? Where was it recorded and how long did it take?
We record all our music live. We go into the studio play the set and then start playing the tunes we’re recording once we get everything going and warmed up. Once we get a take we’re happy enough and we’re all content it captures what we’re hearing we over dub extra guitars and vocals. The record was recorded in a day in start together studios in Belfast with Rocky O’Reilly.