Photo: Taylor Ohryn

Tokyo Police Club are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their sophomore album Champ in a big way. Not only are they releasing a reissue featuring demos, unreleased songs, and remixes (including Matt & Kim’s remix of “Gone”), they’ve also announced a full album livestream concert on March 5th. We caught up with Graham Wright to chat about the livestream, what it’s like to look back on the album, and the band’s influences over the years.

From the Strait: It’s been over 10 years since Champ was released – what thoughts and feelings hit when you think back to making the album?

Tokyo Police Club: The cool thing about time passing is that you seem to forget the piddling issues that bugged you at the time and remember the good parts, even if you missed them at the time. I’m sure that making Champ involved plenty of angst and unpleasantness, but looking back now all I remember is skipping out on Canadian winter to take an all expenses paid trip to sunny Los Angeles with my three best friends and play rock music. Gives me a nice feeling, it does.

Also the more I “look back” the more convinced I become that we hit a big grand slam homerun and made a really good record, and the very kind messages we’ve been getting around the reissue have driven home for me the extent to which that album has been part of people’s lives, which is still just surreal. That’s what the records I love mean to me. What more can you ask for!

FTS: Tell us about the livestream event to celebrate the 10th anniversary edition of the album.

Tokyo Police Club: Well they’ve got this pandemic going on that I’m told makes it “dangerous” and “lunacy” to cram a few hundred people in a small dingy room and play loud music at them. Fortunately our benevolent Silicon Valley overlords have come through once again by providing us with the means to play music at people in the comfort of their own homes, and we got tired of waiting to do an album tour so we decided to do one of those instead.

In true guileless Tokyo Police Club fashion (I thought the skyline behind Letterman was real for years), we assumed that you have to do them live. Now people who know keep telling us we’re fools not to pretape it, so I guess we’re fools – but our livestream will be live, dammit. Tune in and cross your fingers.

FTS: Who were your musical influences growing up, and how do they differ from your current ones?

Tokyo Police Club: Champ was actually the first record where I can’t remember any conscious influences. There’s songs on ALIC and Elephant Shell where I can remember specifically trying to incorporate (read: steal) ideas from records I loved, and we did some of that on Forcefield too, but the Champ sessions felt – to us – pretty sui generis. But I’m sure a cursory glance at contemporary reviews would reveal that we were copying shit all over the place. Way she goes!

FTS: Back when live concerts were still a thing, you guys played killer live shows at some of the best venues. What’s your all-time favourite venue to play?

Tokyo Police Club: I stopped keeping a list after like 3 years of touring. Too much to keep track of, plus we had crappy shows at some wonderful venues. A room can only do so much heavy lifting. THAT BEING SAID, I always look forward to playing the Doug Fir in Portland like a kid looking forward to Christmas.

FTS: What would 2021 Tokyo Police Club want to tell 2010 Tokyo Police Club?

Tokyo Police Club: Imagine having a time portal from 2021 to 2010 and using it to dispense band advice!

Check out Matt & Kim’s remix of Tokyo Police Club’s “Gone”, and grab your tickets to the Champ 10th Anniversary livestream!


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