The Kooks: Always where they need to be...

Following their UK tour, I caught up with The Kooks’ Pete Denton to talk about the band’s 10-year anniversary and new record.

Eleven years ago, Brighton-based four-piece band, The Kooks released their debut album Inside In / Inside Out that was the beginning of their catalogue of indie-pop hits that saw them dominate a new generation of music.

Now, after a three-year hiatus and an intimate UK tour – which included a gig at Birmingham’s O2 Academy – The Kooks are back with a brand new record that’s sure to spark nostalgic memories for their devoted fans who grew up listening to their toe-tapping songs.

Fronted by Luke Pritchard, the band formed in 2004 after meeting in college and went on to win over young teens and university students alike with their incredibly catchy tunes that earned them three top 10 singles.

Their new album, The Best Of…So Far is a treat for any fan of the band. A collection of their biggest songs, including Seaside, Sway, Down and two new tracks Be Who You Are and Broken Vow, The Kooks are taking a trip down memory lane as well as giving fans an insight into what their future material may hold.

“It feels like we’re starting the engine again,” Pete tells me. “Nothing has been this big for us for quite some time and we’ve worked really hard to get to where we are today. We wanted to mark our 10 years as a band with The Best Of…So Far and I think we deserve to celebrate something like this.”

Inside In / Inside Out is still as iconic now as it was back in 2006; birthing tracks Ooh La, She Moves in Her Own Way, You Don’t Love Me and Naïve put the Brighton band on the map for all the right reasons, leading them to playing numerous festivals and releasing a further three studio albums.

Our music has changed quite dramatically over the years, but that’s the road we always wanted to go down.

“It’s going to be really nostalgic for a lot of people,” Pete says of the album. “We’ve gone full circle with this record and I’m super excited about it. Looking back at our fourth record – 2014’s Listen – we were trying out a lot of different instruments, experimenting with paces and genres.

“Our music has changed quite dramatically over the years, especially when you jump from the first to fourth record, but that’s the road we always wanted to go down, we were never forced to take the approaches that we have done to our music,” Pete adds.

Looking back, The Kooks’ career has seemingly gone from strength to strength and The Best Of…So Far is a clear example of just how far they’ve come over the years. “There have been some pretty huge moments for us over the last decade,” Pete says. “We’ve had the opportunity to play some really awesome gigs and festivals – a slot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2007 and sets at Reading and Leeds Festival.”

Hitting the 10-year mark is something that most recording artists and bands dream of in the early stages of their careers, but for The Kooks, that dream has now become a reality. “There’s this feeling that builds up inside you where you suddenly realise ‘wow, we’ve become a successful band’ and I don’t think anything reflects our success more than where we are now; for me it’s a moment that I’m most proud of,” Pete says. “That being said, it’s not always been the easiest journey either, but we’re just so proud that we’ve made it to the greatest hits stage and beyond. This record is the best one yet.”

I don’t think anything reflects our success more than where we are now; for me it’s a moment that I’m most proud of.

2017 is proving to be an incredibly busy one for the band, after completing their headline tour a few months ago – which practically sold out every venue they stepped foot in – they’re now preparing to take The Best of…So Far on the road to Switzerland, Spain, Russia, Indonesia and Ukraine.

“It’s going to be fun, I’m super excited about it,” Pete says. “I’d like to kind of revisit some of the old songs and do some updated versions, maybe throw in a couple of covers. We did do some pretty cool covers back in the day as well, so there’s always the possibility of playing a couple of those bad boys. I just can’t wait to get back on the road.”

The Best Of…So Far is out now!