Two months ago, British rockers The Kooks returned to the music scene with their third full length, Junk of the Heart. Since then, they’ve toured extensively in support of love-soaked record, their first in over three years. Tonight and tomorrow, fans can catch the Kooks at two sold out shows at Webster Hall, where hearts will no doubt be worn on sleeves. We recently caught up with frontman Luke Pritchard, who was bussing around Europe at the time, and couldn’t wait for his New York gigs. “I’m just getting drunkenly ready for it right now,” he said, while sipping a hot toddy. What a coincidence—so are we!
How does it feel now that, at long last, Junk of the Heart is out?
It’s great to just send it off, ya know? Put it out to the world and not think about it anymore. Let it do its own thing. Playing the shows with the new songs now, it’s cool to see the new songs connecting.
Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind the album.
It’s quite specific to me, really. It’s the most personal record to me, because the album’s all about coming out of a dark place and a lot of the lyrics are sort of about looking back on things. That’s why there’s quite a lot of joyousness. It’s kind of about finding someone. Having a girlfriend was a big thing for me. I love my girlfriend. I had a bit of a crazy time with it, with traveling all the time. I was writing it for her in some ways. The album really came from that. The purity of that inspired me. It’s fucking great.
How long have you two been together?
We’ve been together quite a while. Nearly two years.
Does she ever join you on tour?
Not much. She works a lot herself. She’ll come stay with us for a few days every now and then.
How has tour been so far?
We’re just enjoying playing. The shows have been crazy. Really crazy crowds. A lot of fun.
Do any specific stops stand out?
In Spain, fans are quite fanatical. And, in Paris, a girl managed to sneak into our dressing room. It happens every now and then. It’s quite mad. She basically fooled everyone that she was meant to be there. She just hung out with us. Just some girl who walked in off the street. Things like that happen all the time.
What can fans in New York expect from your two shows at Webster Hall?
We’re doing a bit more of a show than we have been. It’s a different dynamic. The lighting is really cool, we’ve been working on that. It’s going to be quite psychedelic, I think. We’re bringing in some old school projectors and we’re going to have some really cool imagery going on with the shows, which we’ve never really done before. It’s been cool to get a good amount of rehearsing in. We’re playing really well at the moment. By the time we hit New York, it should be pretty funky.
Beyond all that, how’s life, Luke?
Life’s good. I’ve been gettin’ into being a musician more than ever. I feel like that’s the thing that’s going really well. I’m excited about just working on new material, meditating, things like that. It’s quite cool. I’ve been reading this Marcus Aurelius book on meditation, which is really interesting. You can just pick it up and flip through it. It’s really helping me out. It’s all about being a good Roman, the way you should live your life. It’s all about being a good person and taking yourself out of the equation and trying not to have an ego, really.
What’s next, after the tour?
I’m taking a month off in January to go traveling in India. I know that sounds really cliché. I want to do some traveling on my own. The guys want to do some stuff themselves, so we’re taking a little bit of time off.
So you’ll be flying solo, so to speak?
My girl, she might come out and meet me for a little bit, but I’ve been touring since I was 18. I’ve never done any real traveling on my own. I just want to explore. I want to see a different side to things. I don’t want to be a guy in a band anymore. I just want to jet off and not do that for a month and see what happens.
Are you hopeful we’ll hear another album from you before three more years have passed?
I want to do another record soon. I just want to write lots of songs. I’m feeling very creative at the moment. I’m pretty excited about the next album, so why not get on and do it?