Peter Denton, bass player with The Kooks chats with Kevin Cooper about the 10th anniversary of Inside In/Inside Out, his musical inspirations, a new studio album and their forthcoming tour of the UK
Peter Denton is the bass player with The Kooks, an English indie pop rock band formed in 2004 in Brighton. He joined the band permanently in 2008.
Signed to Virgin Records just three months after forming, The Kooks broke into the musical mainstream with their 2006 debut album Inside In/Inside Out. The album was ultimately successful, achieving quadruple platinum status in the UK within a year and also overseas in the form of a platinum certification in Australia and two times platinum in Ireland. The Kooks found themselves entering into mainstream media attention, with the band winning the award for Best UK & Ireland Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2006 and picking up a nomination at The Brit Awards for the single She Moves In Her Own Way.
Their 2008 follow-up album Konk debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, and their third entitled Junk Of The Heart was released in 2011. Their most recent album Listen was released in 2014 and debuted at number 16 on the UK Albums Chart.
Whilst getting ready to tour the UK he took some time to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.
Hi Peter how are you?
Hi Kevin I’m very well thanks, how are you doing?
I’m doing really well thanks for asking and before we move on let me firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.
It’s my pleasure.
And I have to ask, how is life treating you today?
Life is actually all good, really good in fact. We are all relaxing and getting everything ready for the forthcoming tour at the moment. We are making the most of a little down time before heading off into the endless touring schedule which will be for the next two years I’m sure. Having said all of that everything really is great. We have just had some time off from it all and if I am honest we are all now chomping at the bit to get back out on the road. Touring is one of those things where if you haven’t done it for a while then you really do start to miss it. Then three weeks into the tour when everyone looks like shit and you are all knackered, plus you are spending every night on the bus with twelve other men, you suddenly realise that is why you really hate it (laughter). I’m joking, it’s going to be great. It should be really cool (laughter).
You will be playing here in Nottingham at Rock City on Monday 1st May. Just what can we expect?
Yes that’s right we are going to be playing Rock City which is a cool venue. We are going to be playing a few of the new songs on this tour because what you have to remember is that we have been touring for a long time now, playing all of the old songs over and over and so having a couple of new ones in there to play is going to be fun. The whole thing should be really cool.
Is Rock City a must play venue for you?
Yes I think so, definitely and it was the one place that I always wanted to play when I was a kid as well. It’s the one place where all of your favourite bands have played. It’s a cool place, a great venue with a good vibe. It’s going to be really cool and we can’t wait to play Rock City.
Do you still get a buzz out of touring?
Yes I do, I personally get a massive buzz out of touring. We like to go out, have a laugh and enjoy ourselves whilst we are out on tour but you just have to pace yourself. If we went out and did that every night it eventually takes its toll doesn’t it. As you know we have recently released a greatest hits album but we were also keen to be in a position on the forthcoming tour to be able to play some new material too, which is why we have been in the studio for the past couple of months writing new material ready for a new studio album. I think that if we were to tour a greatest hits album without having anything to follow it up then it might be a different story, I don’t know. However, knowing that we have some new songs to play as well makes it all much more exciting and I can’t wait to get back out on the road again.
It must make you feel good when you see that the tour is sold out already?
It’s great, it really is, and that is really super cool man. And the poster looks so cool too (laughter). Of course that is a great feeling, being in a band that has been around for eleven years now, they have still got it and they can still sell out a tour. That feels so special and it is really flattering.
What’s happening this summer, are you playing any festivals?
Yes we are, we will be playing at a few decent festivals this summer. It’s always really nice when you start a tour in April or May because we always manage to enjoy ourselves throughout the summer, providing that the British weather is okay (laughter).
You released your last studio album Listen back in 2014. Were you pleased with how well it was received?
Yes I was actually. That album was quite a departure from what the band had been doing and we love doing that (laughter). We have meetings trying to decide what we should do to shake things up a little (laughter). To be honest with you, we never really intended to make an album at that moment in time. We were all really doing what we wanted to do and we had written a few songs which surprisingly we all thought were really good and so we thought ‘why not’ (laughter). The process was pretty free and so the whole thing was really quite cool. The problem came when we were trying to remember who played what so that we can name check them on the credits of the album (laughter). For example, I was playing bass and the drums which was really cool. It was a really fun time for us and I think that you can hear that on the record.
You have briefly touched upon a new studio album. How far are you into that?
This will most probably surprise you but the new album is pretty much all done and dusted. There are a few bits and bobs to do to tidy it up but we will probably be mixing it sometime in July which is really good.
What can you tell me about it without having to shoot me after?
(Laughter) we have really gone back to basics with this album. We have bought in an American record producer called Brandon Friesen who is a really great guy to work with. He has actually been with us now since the back end of last year. On this album I have personally felt that the song writing has been really good. As I said earlier, it has kind of come full circle but it is not a re-hash of the first album (laughter). In terms of us going back to guitars and big drums it is a pretty big sounding record. It’s quite nice actually because we are all pretty good at what we do with regards to guitars, bass and drums, so let’s just do that (laughter). Let’s put the accordion down and crack on (laughter).
The album is really fun, really cool and to be honest the songs are great. It’s not like when people would ask you that question in the past and you would tell them that the album is really amazing. You would never quite know if you were trying to convince yourself that the album was any good or whatever (laughter). Obviously everyone has got their favourites and their least favourite songs on the album, but that is just the way that it is. However, everyone is genuinely pleased with the whole of the new album which is a good position to be in. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. The single which we put out from the album has been quite well received over the past few weeks so it feels nice to be back on track with this album. We have been receiving nice reports about the music and people seem to want to get involved with us once again. It’s nice.
You are about to go out on tour to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Inside In/Inside Out. Are you looking forward to that?
Yes I am, I really am. When I met the boys it was literally a month before that record came out. So for me that album Inside In/Inside Out was my introduction to a band that was about to break into the main stream society and have success. Prior to that I was supporting The Editors and then six months later I was playing for The Kooks in front of fifteen thousand people, smashing up my tent in both Leeds and Reading which was pretty much fun for me (laughter). Obviously you are playing these songs over and over but to be honest it never gets boring for me or anybody else really. A lot also depends upon the audience’s reaction as well.
You can have ten thousand people all stood still while you play She Moves In Her Way or you can have them all jumping around which quite obviously changes things. It’s not about how you are playing it, it’s all about getting the audience onside. It’s very difficult not to get them onside when you are playing She Moves In Her way (laughter). Obviously some gigs and some songs go down better than others but I still do thoroughly enjoy playing all of those songs for sure.
I recently played the album and I have to say that in my opinion it still feels as fresh today as it did back then.
Thank you. I have to agree with you on that and say yes it really does. I have to be honest and say that I have not listened to it for a while now but yes it does. There is quite a lot of energy on that album (laughter). In fact I would go so far as to say that Luke (Pritchard) needs strapping down (laughter).
Who has musically inspired you?
To be honest with you I couldn’t possibly nail that down to just one person. There have been many artists over the years that have inspired me. I am a huge fan of Stevie Wonder, I love Cream, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, and the list just goes on and on. I guess that if were talking about the modern day then I would have to include Ryan Adams, but let’s be honest it has to be people like The Beatles, who I have to say were being played constantly in our household (laughter). Having said that I absolutely love The Beach Boys so as you can see it is really very difficult for me to say which one single artist has inspired me. When I was a kid there was always music on in the house so that is obviously something that you take with you throughout your life.
What was the first record that you bought?
The very first record that I bought with my own hard earned cash was the Dark Side Of The Moon album by Pink Floyd (laughter). It’s quite weird because I was only about eight years old (laughter). I blame that album for all of my issues (laughter).
Who did you first see performing live in concert?
(Laughter) well, this is quite a funny story. I was born in Leeds and Nirvana were playing in town so me and a mate sneaked out of our houses, got on the bus and went to the gig. There was no way that we were going to get in so we just stood outside the venue and looked through the windows for a little bit (laughter). We stayed for about twenty minutes than jumped back on the bus and went home. So that was quite cool (laughter). I never actually got into see them play because I was only ten years old at the time (laughter).
What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?
Wow, what a question. Thinking about it that would have to be I Only Have Eyes For You by The Flamingos. The reason being is because I proposed to my now wife whilst we were both listening to that song. It’s one of my all-time favourite songs ever.
I know the song that you are referring to, it was later covered by Art Garfunkel in 1975, The Temptations in 1987 and Mick Hucknall 2012 to name but a few.
Really, wow that’s amazing as I only know The Flamingos version. I will have to check those out later, that’s really cool.
What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?
I would like to think that it is yet to come. So far I think that a highlight has been for us to put out a greatest hits album which in itself is an achievement I think. For us to have a greatest hits album released together, a tour that is sold out together with a new album to come, has to be up there. For us to have achieved that is extra special I think.
On that note Peter let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been great and I hope to see you here in Nottingham.
Thanks Kevin it’s been a pleasure. Make sure that you come and say hi when we get to Nottingham. Bye for now.