x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Scouting for Girls: ‘We are like a Marmite band’

Scouting for Girls bassist Greg Churchouse talks to us about their Sandance performance on Friday and their forthcoming tour with the Backstreet Boys.

Scouting for Girls, from left, Greg Churchouse, Peter Ellard and Roy Stride. Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Scouting for Girls, from left, Greg Churchouse, Peter Ellard and Roy Stride. Luke MacGregor / Reuters

To describe Scouting for Girls’ forthcoming gigs as eclectic is an understatement.

After releasing their Greatest Hits compilation last year, the London pop-rockers took a few months off to regroup before hitting the road once again.

Their Sandance appearance tomorrow is only their second show this year before a large series of British festival performances alongside the likes of the rock stalwarts Echo and The Bunnymen and Maxïmo Park.

The biggest surprise, however, is their decision to go on a joint tour of the United Kingdom with the 1990s boy-bands Backstreet Boys and 5ive.

The band’s bassist Greg Churchouse laughs at the mention and shrugs off suggestions of the band losing their rock credentials. “We have always been a people’s band and we just thought this would be a great opportunity to get out and play,” he says.

Churchouse’s demeanour is as ego-free and affable as the band’s music. Formed in 2005 and built through an ardent following on MySpace, Scouting for Girls hit the ground running. After releasing a heralded EP, the band announced themselves to the mainstream with a self-titled debut album in 2007. The album’s easy-going charm tapped a large market of listeners who were pleased with the band’s brand of light and catchy rock, in the vein of Travis and Keane.

Their next two albums produced more anthems, including the 2010 British chart-topper This Ain’t a Love Song. British rock critics labelled Scouting for Girls relentlessly optimistic, which Churchouse says the band wears as a badge of honour.

“We like to say that we are like a Marmite band – so you either love us or hate us,” he says. “There is so much pessimism in the world that it is nice to have some people who are unashamedly optimistic and happy with life. You only get one chance at it and hit it with all barrels blazing.”

While acknowledging their sounds are conservative and polished on the albums, he promises the Sandance audience a more rocking affair tomorrow: “When you see us live, we are a proper rock ’n’ roll band. There is no backing track, everything you hear is played by one of us on stage. It’s a different experience from the albums and we do like to whip the crowd up into a frenzy.”

Scouting for Girls perform at Sandance on Friday at 7pm, at Sandance Beach at Atlantis The Palm. Sandance runs from 3pm to 3am. Tickets begin from Dh300. Visit www.sandance.ae

Also on the bill

Arrested Development, 5.45pm

A mix between a hip-hop group and travelling commune, Arrested Development are festival favourites with a colourful show packed with hits including People Every Day and Mr Wendal.

Pet Shop Boys, 8.40pm

The classic British dance duo arrive in the UAE on the back of their acclaimed new album Electric, a release full of their synth-pop magic.

Hollaphonic, 10pm

The Dubai-based electronic dance duo continue to accumulate an impressive list of high-profile appearances. After an energising set at Creamfields Abu Dhabi last year, expect their Sandance slot to be manic.

Fatboy Slim, midnight

The UK DJ is fond of UAE beaches. The last time he performed here was to a packed Abu Dhabi Corniche as part of 2011’s Beats on the Beach.

sasaeed@thenational.ae