The Strokes may have just announced a new album on the way, but The Tricks are one band already looking to resurrect the ghost of rock’n’roll – with the help of a certain Johnny Depp. Wonderland talks to frontman Joel Hodge about balls-out, old-school rock.
How did you guys meet and form the band?
We all grew up together in Hertfordshire and hung around the same people. Me and John, our guitar player, went to primary school together, so I’ve known him since I was four. And Ash, our drummer, is my younger brother.
How would you describe your sound?
We’re a rock’n’roll band with elements of pop song writing. Our influences are bands like the Clash, the Strokes… Bands who have pop songwriting sensibilities, but that have a rock and roll sound. I’m influenced by Bruce Springsteen, John by Elvis Costello, but what ties it all in is that they are all acts that write pop songs which are rock and roll, which is kind if what the Beatles did.
What do you think of modern pop music then?
A lot isn’t great. There’s an element of style over substance, but I don’t think that has to be like that. I mean the Beatles are regarded as the first people to make pop music in its truest form, and they were great songs.
Some people might say that rock’s on the way out…
If a song is great, then a song is great no matter what you put over it. Everything comes back around- guitar music will never go away because its so accessible to people, it reminds people of the music they used to listen to as teenagers.
What’s the worst gig that you’ve ever played?
It wasn’t actually in the Tricks, it was in a previous band that I was in when I was younger. There was one where we were playing so late at night, so by the time we were on I was very drunk. I can’t remember being on stage. The next day everyone was like “you were wasted last night”. That’s probably the worst.
You went on tour with 90s band Babybird, which is quite the blast from the past. What was it like on your first UK tour?
Actually going on a full tour was incredible. Babybird told us loads of industry stories but they were relatively professional in comparison to us, who were very excited! We went out every night.
I hear that Johnny Depp is your biggest fan. How did that happen?
The guy who owns our record label is best friends with Johnny, so we got introduced to him. He came to one of our gigs in Camden! He really enjoyed it and he’s very supportive of the band.
You covered Santigold’s Desperate Youth – how did that come about?
As soon as we heard that song we thought it would lend itself so well to doing it with guitars. One day in my apartment, we were like, “Fuck it… lets record it”.
And what’s this about organizing your own night in Dalston?
We wanted to do a club night for people who we are friends with and fans of the band. It’s a free night and we’ll play and DJ northern soul and some disco and pop. It’ll be monthly with the first one on the 11 July at Hysteria. We want everyone to have a great night really. We’re also planning to put out a single to coincide with the night.
So what’s next?
We went to LA last year and recorded an album’s worth of songs. We’re hoping that it’ll come out at the end of this year/ the start of next year. But now we’re looking at other ways of releasing our music, like releasing a new single every month. That whole idea is to get as much of our music out to people who want to hear it as possible.
The Tricks will perform on 11th July at the BOP! Club in Hysteria, 578 Kingsland Road, London.
Words: Zing Tsjeng