Force is strong with Tokyo Police Club

The band Tokyo Police Club pose for a photo at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, Ont. on Thursday March...

The band Tokyo Police Club pose for a photo at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, Ont. on Thursday March 6, 2014. Band members are (from front to back) Graham Wright, Greg Alsop, Dave Monks and Josh Hook. (Ernest Doroszuk, QMI Agency)

Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

Is “the force” still with Toronto indie rockers Tokyo Police Club?

Both singer-bassist Dave Monks and keyboardist-guitarist Graham Wright sure hope so as TPC’s new disc, Forcefield, arrives four years after their sophomore effort, 2010’s Champ.

“The industry is getting squeezed out in the middle,” said Monks. “There’s no room to just be a good rock band. There’s less like The National and Walkmen and Death Cab (For Cutie) and Spoon and The Shins, that just hang out and they’re not all over the radio and they’re not the most sensational thing. They’re not Grimes and they’re not Imagine Dragons. And so we felt that. And it was like, ‘We want to make this record and if we want to take our band places we want to go, we really have to be shooting for the moon here.’ There isn’t room for another Champ II.”

We caught up with Monks and Wright, both 27, at a Toronto hotel restaurant recently to talk about their meteoric rise, music industry pressures, Tom Petty and the band’s penchant for science fiction.

What is releasing a new album like in the music industry now?

Monks: It’s just a super-saturated industry and it’s been a long time so I think we feel great about the album and now it’s time to see how many people out there remember us still and how much of this new cycle is going to be about getting new fans and how much is going to be about waking up our old fans. (The industry) is more saturated and the gatekeepers have more power. The iTunes, the Spotify, Pitchfork, it’s more centralized.

Wright: Like it’s easier to get a kick at the can now than ever if you’re a band. Everyone gets a chance to play, but you get like one pitch and then you either hit a homerun or it’s like next, next, next, keep going!

Your first album, 2008’s Elephant Shell, saw you playing on David Letterman, Craig Ferguson and making an appearance on Desperate Housewives. Did you take that early attention for granted?

Monks: We’re lucky. The first part of our career just fell into our laps. I think Champ was us continuing to do what we did. We took certain parts of our success for granted. We were just lucky that we had that song (Wait Up (Boots Of Danger)). We weren’t even really trying to get that. So then you start to think more seriously about what you’re doing and the opportunity that you had.

Wright: We made a lot of discoveries about our capabilities as a band, as musicians, at sort of the tail end of the Champ process... and I think that all of us were... champing at the bit to take those lessons and apply them right away. And make them part of the DNA of the songs.

What was inspiring you musically for Forcefield?

Wright: I started to only want to listen to literally mainstream music... I like Coldplay a lot. I got into Katy Perry for a while.

Monks: All Tom Petty. I was really into Full Moon Fever (starts singing) ‘I Won’t Back Down.’ It was like, ‘Yeah, man! The Forcefield is here.’ We were all into that song American Girl a while ago and then I watched a documentary and I didn’t realize what a bad ass he was. Unbeknownst to me he was the influence for some of the bands I liked in high school. I thought he was like this old crunchy rock dude and he was wicked.

Why call the album Forcefield? Are you sci-fi geeks?

Monks: That has always been a group interest it’s like escapist sci-fi entertainment. Yeah, Forcefield is a sci-fi thing and the cover is outer space-esque and there’s some lyrics on the record that are sci-fi-esque as well.

Twitter: @JaneCStevenson

Jane.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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