Tokyo Police Club recently took on the ambitious project of covering 10 songs from the 2000s, from Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” to LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” – all in 10 days.
The “Covers Project” was the brainchild of their label, Toronto’s Mom and Pop Music. “‘All My Friends,’ by LCD Soundsystem, is one of my top 10 songs ever – which would definitely put it in the category of too revered to cover,” frontman David Monks told Rolling Stone backstage at the L.A. 101 Festival. “But what we found when we were working was that it was way better to just work on a good song and do a good job of it. You start in the morning and by seven o’clock if you’re not putting vocals on it you’re kind of fucked. So choosing things that were gonna be solid was pretty important.”
At one point they planned on doing Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Zero,” but it just didn’t fly. So Harlem Shakes’ “Strictly Game” won out. “It was fun doing a friend’s song,” said Monks. But the most controversial choice was Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.” “A lot of people were genuinely bummed out that we covered ‘Since You’ve Been Gone,’ and I feel like there might be a certain age where you’re not appreciating that song as just a great pop song and it’s still sort of like the enemy to you.”
But Monks’ favorite – Queens of the Stone Age’s “Little Sister” – came as a surprise; originally it was his least favorite track. “I was so hungover that day. After that day I was like, ‘Okay, no more drinking for the rest of the covers,” he said. “But I listen to that one now and I like it a lot.”
They have a few more shows coming, including Christmas dates in Brazil, but that’s not going to stop them from starting to work seriously on the follow-up to 2010’s Champ. “In a week we’ll start Monday to Friday practices and writing,” he said, which will come out “hopefully mid-2012. It depends on the recording process now, ’cause it took us so long to record the last one. It’d be nice to do a snappy recording, but spend a lot of time writing it.”
For the moment, they’re concentrating on the new material. But there could be more covers in the future. If they were to do another decade, what would be his choice? “I’d pick the Nineties, that’d be super awesome,” he said. “It’d probably be a little more shameless.”
• Reviewed: Tokyo Police Club, ‘Champ’