After the isolated and brooding sounds of album three, Soapbox, Sheffield mainstays the Crookes return for a fourth time with the ambitiously buoyant and colourful Lucky Ones. Released through their own label, Anywhere Records, with the help of new drummer Adam Crofts, the band have springboarded a self-professed ‘brand new start’ for themselves.
As the Crookes take their reliably spirited clout to stages up and down the country alongside pop-punk upstart and collaborator, Misty Miller, guitarist and lyricist Daniel Hopewell sheds some light on their current approach.
Who are the lucky ones?
It depends how specific you wanna get. I mean there are two answers. The song ‘The Lucky Ones’ was originally written with the kind of Outsider theme that belongs to Soapbox, although it is far less angry and perhaps more tongue in cheek. It begins by describing the kind of people you see on nights out who I know I could never really fit in with, but it kind of changes halfway through and becomes more about the kind of people I do fit in with. I think people have sort of taken it to mean people who share similar ideas to yourself. It kind of fits in with fans of our band as well; it’s like being in a private club, all starry-eyed and hopelessly romantic. There’s always something special about seeing people at our gigs all thrown together and united by music. There’s almost a community feel to one of our shows, and if you find other people like that I guess that’s pretty lucky too.
What makes this a brand new start for the Crookes?
Line-up changes aside, there’s a stark difference between the sound of old songs and new songs. The tone is more optimistic and just, well, fun. Even as recently as the sounds of Soapbox, there was no hint that you would be employing drum machines and synthesisers.
Where did this idea originate?
We wanted to come back with something completely different. Most people say they were surprised when they heard the new album, but in a good way. For us, that’s perfect.
Your video for ‘I Wanna Waste My Time on You’, directed by Khyan Mansley, is one of your most inventive to date. What’s the story behind its creation?
George [Crookes vocalist] knew Khyan Mansley from his school days. He’s just this incredibly funny and intelligent man, and we are all big fans of him. Luckily he’s a fan of ours too! We gave him free reign to do whatever he wanted and he conducted the whole thing.
What can we expect from the Crookes on this tour?
If we ever give you less than our all you can have your money back. That’s all we can do. It’s all we’ve ever done. We come off stage covered in sweat (and sometimes blood). The shows so far on this tour have seen the crowds going pretty mental. There’s no line between band and audience. We’re all in it together. There will be lots of dancing too!
How did your working relationship with Misty Miller come about?
We met her through work we did for Burberry. She’s just incredible. I’m convinced the whole world is gonna know her soon. She’s just too good not to be ridiculously famous.
How have you found releasing the album on your own label, Anywhere Records, compared to your earlier work with Fierce Panda records?
Tom [Crookes guitarist] has taken on a lot of the work along with our manager Penny. They’ve both been amazing at getting it up and running. I guess the main difference is it all rests with us. Success or failure, it’s down to us and us alone. I think we all like that.
What effect do you think a second line-up change has had on you? Is the idea behind the Crookes bigger than its members?
Ha, maybe it’s like in football when a player moves and you say “the club is bigger than the individual?” I dunno, but it feels like we’ve traded up with the people we’ve brought in. This is the year we’re gonna be going for the Champions League!