Now that summer is in full swing, we can all look forward to one of our favorite new musical options at Neat Coffee Shop’s Shed Sessions. Born out of necessity during the pandemic, the outdoor concert series proved to be a hit with music lovers who were finally able to enjoy live performances while maintaining a safe distance. Unfortunately, the schedule was again changed several times as tours were postponed and restrictions changed. But some of those delayed shows are finally happening, for example this weekend with the Tokyo Police Club.
However, the timing promises to have worked out for both artist and fans alike, as the band have put the finishing touches on a new album and should be ready to debut some fresh new songs on Friday and Saturday. And given that the band hasn’t played with all four members since last November, they’re eager to get going, and neither is guitarist Josh Hook. We caught up with him to discuss the new album and the special connection he has with the region.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
APT613: Thanks for taking the time to chat. I know you are busy today with your first gig in a while.
Josh Hook: Good to finally come out for the second or third time in the last few years, it’s been kind of a stop and start, trying to keep the momentum going, but it feels good to do it again finally.
What did you guys do? I know you all have different side projects, so how did you spend those two years trying not to go crazy?
I think we all went crazy, and then on top of that too, it was a shame because 2020 was the tenth anniversary of our album champion. We had all these plans to do this big tour, and so a lot of the time was spent hustling this whole tour and trying to figure out if we could reschedule dates in Canada first and then in the United States with all changing restrictions. And then we went down the rabbit hole trying to do a virtual show for it because it didn’t look very promising. And then, just when we sorted out all the logistics for it, the entry into the country changed. I’m currently in the US so it was going to be a two week quarantine headache.
Then the other guys: Dave (Monks) recorded or recorded a solo record, Greg (Alsop) produced in PEI and Graham (Wright) has been busy writing other material as well for his band Girlfriend Material. I’ve been involved in editing podcasts and stuff like that.
And then on top of that, we also finished recording a new Tokyo record that we did almost all separately. Obviously I was doing all my stuff from here and the guys would get together from time to time in the studio in Toronto. But it looks like we’ve turned the corner now, fingers crossed.
Glad to hear there’s a new album on the horizon. I imagine it must have been difficult trying to do it virtually together.
Absolutely. This is absolutely not the configuration most conducive to creativity. It was largely the product of circumstances. I don’t think we would voluntarily choose to do it again like this. I think there’s always a kind of intangible quality and vibe that you get when everyone’s in the same room and making decisions, whether big or small, together. It really helps create cohesion in an album.
That’s not to say this one isn’t consistent at all, but it was in a different way. We did so many studio records, so it was a whole new kind of curveball to deal with. We’re old and set in our ways, so figuring out how to run a Discord server for different song threads and all, instead of just emailing or talking about it, was one of the many new challenges. But we prevailed.
Speaking of going to the country so you can record with the band, will you be able to make it to the Neat Coffee Shop gigs?
I hope very much. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed, but just in case, we have a good friend of ours ready to fill in. But I really hope I can because my grandparents live ten minutes from Burnstown in White Lake, so that’s an area I know very well, and to be able to play a gig there is special. After growing up and spending summers there, it was pretty cool to see this place exist. And then also to organize shows of very good caliber there. I still have hope.
The Tokyo Police Club plays at the Neat Coffee House tonight and Saturday. Find tickets here.