Vincent O’Boyle talks to New Young Pony Club guitarist Andy Spence about their new album The Optimist, stealing band names and the perils of glow sticks
New Young Pony Club has had an enviable career so far. Their debut album was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2007 – the same year they got to tour with CSS, one of the most dazzlingly fun live bands around. Although the Mercury nomination of Fantastic Playroom was questionable, the album is good enough to deflect detractors who dismiss them as part of the “new rave scene”.
NYPC have a penchant for catchy synth pop in the new wave vein and have quite a few pop gems in their stable as a result. However, bands can’t be new and young forever and they certainly can’t afford to repeat themselves, so otwo enquires about the direction of The Optimist, their sophomore album? “The slightly darker side of new wave, some of those darker Cure albums like Seventeen Seconds, Pornography and Faith,” replies Andy. “The sound that they were using in the production of those records is fantastic.”
The NYPC name is actually a play on Pony Club, a Dublin-based indie band. Andy is ultimately aware of the passing of time and possibly regrets his cheeky band name, just as an old person sometimes regrets a tattoo. “To be honest I harbour a secret dream to return to that name and ditch the New Young because we’re not very new and we’re certainly not getting any younger, I’d love to be back to just ‘Pony Club’.” One published secret dream deserves another: otwo hopes that the proposed name snatch is unsuccessful, so that NYPC will tour ashamedly in thirty years’ time under the same name.
If NYPC are actually still around in thirty years’ there is definitely one thing they’ll want to leave in the past: glow sticks. The guitarist speaks warily of them, like a war veteran: “The stuff inside them is like acid, it’s grim grim stuff. Someone got some in their eye once and had to be taken to A&E.” Spence should be thankful he’s not a member of Nickelback: anyone who hasn’t seen the infamous video of them being hit with rocks probably should.
While you’re online, check out NYPC’s new material: otwo can see why the band are so optimistic about it. Andy ponders who the optimist of the band is before concluding that “When the music is working, that’s when we’re optimistic. The Optimist is just the music.”
New Young Pony club play the Button Factory on the 29th May. New Album The Optimist is out now