Inside In, Inside Out (15th Anniversary Deluxe)

Inside In, Inside Out (15th Anniversary Deluxe)

Having formed after guitarist Hugh Harris heard frontman Luke Pritchard playing his songs on the streets of Brighton, The Kooks bounded into the public consciousness in the same post-Strokes indie boom that brought the world the Arctic Monkeys. Recorded with producer Tony Hoffer (Beck, Supergrass), the band’s 2006 debut, Inside In, Inside Out, practically explodes with a live-wire joie de vivre. The Kooks’ deft knack for a killer hook and seductive melody ensured “Naive”, “Sofa Song” and “She Moves in Her Own Way” became as ubiquitous on daytime radio as they were on the booze-sticky floors of UK indie clubs. However, the album also harboured an adventurousness that stretched beyond the bushy-tailed hits. On the anguished “I Want You” or the breakneck rattle of “If Only”, The Kooks play with an angst and energy that feels like they could implode at any moment (the sometimes volatile dynamic audible here meant that the line-up that recorded the album—completed by bassist Max Rafferty and drummer Paul Garred—didn’t last much beyond 2008 follow-up Konk). Meanwhile, “Matchbox” and “Got No Love” betray a love for reggae, ska and dub. “The band all wanted to play different styles, and I was in the middle with my songs getting pulled around, and an amazing sound was created from that,” Pritchard tells Apple Music. “When I listen back now, I forget how intense the record is. It’s fast, it’s energetic and it’s quite angry at times. People think of The Kooks as quite a soft band, but actually it was pretty raw.” Let Pritchard and Harris talk you through all the original tracks, plus some highlights from the extras on this 15th anniversary reissue. “Seaside” Luke Pritchard: “Paul, the drummer, had written it on piano and it was a completely different vibe. It was this kind of piano ballad, so I wrote a bit more on it. We were right at the end of recording and had some extra tape on the last day, so Tony said, ‘Do you have anything else that you want to do?’ Having it as the first track is unexpected. It worked for us because our whole vision with the band was to turn things on their head a little bit. At the time all the bands were doing something quite dance-indie. We had these more sentimental tunes. It’s campfire. We felt like it was a bit of a statement.” “See the World” LP: “It was our anthem for trying to break out of a mundane life. We used to love playing it. The energy on that was cool between us; it’s definitely a strong one.” Hugh Harris: “I wanted the riff to sound like a Dalek from Doctor Who. I think what we ended up with in the guitar sound was stripped back from what we had because it sounded a bit too much like a Dalek and we thought it’d be too comedic. My request was kind of laughed out the room.” “Sofa Song” LP: “This goes back to my band before The Kooks. I was in a band with another singer who wrote as well. It was always a competition for the ideas, and he was a better politician than me. ‘Sofa Song’ is kind of how me and Hugh really connected, because he heard me playing it and he dug the song. That sound—the choppy, bouncy acoustic guitar—was quite a direction for us. It’s the Brighton skank. One of the things we always wanted from the beginning was for the music to be very danceable.” “Eddie’s Gun” LP: “There’s a lot of comedy in our music. We wanted to be following the footsteps of The Kinks and The Beatles in that way of having this comedy element whilst you’re quite a serious band. Writing a song about erectile dysfunction when you’re a teenager is funny. It was our first single. I remember the first time Jo Whiley played it on Radio 1. We were in the splitter van on tour. It felt like we’d joined the music world.” “Ooh La” LP: “‘Ooh La’ was really where a maturity was coming into the songwriting. I wrote that in the studio, so it might be the last thing I’d written for the album. There was a real depth to it. I felt like I was really saying something and connecting. There’s a real melancholy fear to it. It’s eerie. On a lot of the songs, everyone was fighting to put their musicality in, but on this, Hugh waits till the end. He comes in with this insane guitar sound, but it’s basically very, very minimal.” “You Don’t Love Me” LP: “It was inspired by glam rock. That was the real indie dance-floor moment for us. That song was like [Camden venue] KOKO on a Friday.” HH: “It gave you permission to lose your shit, that song. On that solo, Luke and Max decided to bombard me with missiles. Anything you could find in the studio came flying at me.” LP: “That was Tony Hoffer! He wanted it to sound angry, so he was like, ‘Go in there and fuck with him.’” “She Moves in Her Own Way” LP: “It’s pretty much a duet between me and Hugh. It’s like a love song between us. It’s as much about the guitar as it is the vocal.” HH: “With a guitar you can make it sing, you can do a call-and-response thing with the vocal. That was always a rule of mine: ‘Don’t play anything on the guitar unless you can sing it first in your head or out loud.’ I get a kick out of being up there with the vocal; it’s where the conversation is. And the swing on that song is majestic. It’s hard to imitate that live.” “Matchbox” LP: “It’s basically three songs put together. Max had written something and then I’d written something and then we kind of stitched them together. We were experimenting with a lot of writing like that, where we wanted to have multiple genres in a song. I always see The Kooks as kind of, especially on our first album, prog pop. We were definitely trying to do things that shouldn’t have worked. We wanted to do it Abbey Road-style: ‘Let’s take 30 seconds of your song, 30 seconds of my song…’ We worked on the lyrics to make it make sense, but it was quite psychedelic.” “Naive” LP: “I think it’s great that I was capable of singing that at that age. I think it was quite brave in a way. It’s so strange, it’s like an evergreen kind of song. The meaning keeps perpetuating. At the time I was resisting having it on the album.” HH: “I didn’t like the first mix very much. It was quiet and the second one came back and all of a sudden it just sounded quite pop. I was very anti-pop at the time, but I knew that it would be really well received.” “I Want You” LP: “Full-on heart-wrenching young-love breakup song. It’s beautiful guitar playing and bass playing and drumming. I think we recorded it late at night. Everyone had had a few glasses of red wine, quite smoky vibes. I remember being quite emotional singing it. I was breaking down a bit. I was quite an angry kid. I had lost my father young and I took things seriously and I was quite angry at the world. Looking back [at this song], it’s a time capsule and it kind of shocked me that I was feeling that much pain. But that’s being human; you don’t always write it down or put it in a song.” “If Only” HH: “The energy on that song is dizzying. I had to stand next to the drum kit to stay in time because it was that intense. It’s just a lovely release.” “Jackie Big Tits” LP: “Would I now, as a grown man, call a song that? Probably not. Have you seen Sexy Beast? She’s a character in that film. If you heard the title then listened to the song, you would be surprised, I think. It did stop us putting it out as a single, especially in China. They actually took it off the album in China. But again, we were teenagers, we did our thing, and no one was there going, ‘You can’t call a song that!’ There was a freedom of expression, so you’ve got to appreciate that, but in answer to the question, no, probably not.” “Time Awaits” LP: “I’ve always been particularly into that one because it is really experimental. All the synth work was really cool on it. It was a fusion of all these influences. It had edge. It had a lot of edge, that one, which I always thought was cool.” HH: “The ethos of the band is really at play in that song, because it’s got such an open-door policy to different styles and ideas. I was playing ska, reggae… There’s a freedom to it.” “Got No Love” LP: “Tony was using the desk as a kind of instrument on this one. The mixing desk became like how Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry or King Tubby would use it. He was doing all this stuff and while we were playing live. Tony never came in and was like, ‘Oh, you need to sound like this,’ or anything. He just was like, ‘Right. Let’s just put this into context. Let’s let you have your space.’ Tony and Todd Burke, who was the engineer, were geniuses.” “Tell Them From Me (Studio Demo)” LP: “This was strong, but things like ‘Ooh La’ popped up towards the end. That’s how it happens with records. Songs get bumped, unfortunately, but that was one we liked for a long time. Sometimes you have the fights about the songs, but I don’t remember having it on this album. I felt like the choices were the right ones, but listening back to some of these, I am like, ‘They could have easily been on the album.’” “1984 (Studio Demo)” LP: “It’s political, man! We used the chorus for ‘Matchbox’. That was one where we just cut it up. It was like, ‘Here’s my section, here’s your section…’” HH: “It’s a little bit brutal, actually. It’s kind of a morbid surgical procedure to do to songs. That’s why this is so nice to have them back together again, as they were.” “In My Opinion” HH: “I think it ended up being used as a B-side for something. I think the issue people had with this one was that it didn’t quite take off in the choruses. It had a very Police-y thing to it, which was already being represented in other songs. It’s so much a part of our story. That song was on every set list for the first few years of the band.” “Theory of a Pop Star (First Cassette Demo)” HH: “That came off a tape that I found. I always knew I had our first-ever tape and I’d put it somewhere really safe. It’s got the guys on it abusing me for being on holiday and not at band practice, and then it’s got all these other songs on it, the first-ever set of Kooks songs, and no one had heard it or digitalised it until this release. I thought I’d lost it. It was in my old school briefcase with all my old schoolbooks.” “Inaudible Melodies (Acoustic Version)” LP: “I was really into the tune and a lot of Jack Johnson’s songs. I probably just laid it down. I don't think there was any thought of putting it on the album at any point. He’s a great songwriter. When I first wrote 'Naive', it was that kind of thing.”

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