Dance-punk, characterized by pulsating drum beats, rapid and infectious guitar progressions, melodic keyboard fills and pounding bass, is a genre that has yet to become prevalent in the United States.
Toronto-based Tokyo Police Club may be poised to bring dance-punk to the American mainstream music scene. The band has been nominated in the “Breaking Woodie” category at mtvU’s upcoming “Woodie Awards.”
The “Woodie Awards” have been catalysts for the successful music careers of many bands including Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers and Plain White Ts.
The award show will surely give Tokyo Police Club its needed exposure; however, it will inevitably be the band’s explosive mix of delightfully unrefined energy, looping guitar riffs and alluring vocal deliveries that will send the toes of American fans tapping.
“Operator!” cries David Monks, Tokyo Police Club vocalist and bassist. “Get me the president of the world! This is an emergency!” Monks’ resolute demand is seemingly conveyed through a blaring megaphone, backed solely by Greg Alsop’s rapid-fire drumming, on “Cheer it On,” the first track of the band’s 2006 release, “A Lesson In Crime.”
Monks wasn’t nearly as demanding in a recent exclusive interview with James Queally, Signal arts & entertainment editor, at the New York City mtvU studio. He expressed excitement with the band’s “Woodie” nomination but wasn’t sure if the awards would guarantee the band’s success.
“There is no standard way that a band gets popular,” Monks said. “It seems like a fluke chance in every situation.”
This may be true, but the numerous loyal Canadian and American fans that brought Tokyo Police Club to its present breakout status can’t be wrong. Drummer Greg Alsop said that he sees the “Woodies” as a tremendous opportunity for the band. Before the “Woodies,” “No one really knew about or gave attention to up-and-coming bands,” he said. Alsop added that the targeted age group of the “Woodies,” college students in their early 20s, is the “best time to be introduced to a new band.”
On Nov. 15, thousands of college students nationwide will receive their first exposure to the forcefully propelled rhythms of Tokyo Police Club. Many have already seen the band’s music video for “Cheer it On,” which features a strikingly low key performance in a frigid, desolate field.
“The idea of doing a less frantic video for a song that’s kind of fast appealed to us,” Alsop said.
Frantic and fast are both accurate descriptions of Tokyo Police Club’s sound. The songs are all potent and confined within two or three blistering minutes.
“The kind of music we play is strictly laid out,” Alsop said. Tokyo Police Club’s songs incessantly pulsate on the listener’s eardrums, as if fueled by an unending supply of amphetamines.
The fast-paced nature of Tokyo Police Club’s sound certainly must have carried over into the band’s production style in recording what would become both “A Lesson in Crime” and the band’s 2007 follow-up EP, “Smith.” According to Monks, the band completed recording in a mere three days.
Tokyo Police Club’s efforts have produced indisputable results. The band toured extensively with renowned indie rockers Cold War Kids. Recently, they played at Madison Square Garden with Bloc Party.
According to Graham Wright, keyboardist and vocalist, success at a young age has taken some getting used to.
“Sometimes you forget to stop and think about how weird it is,” Wright said. “If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be at the university right now wishing I was doing this.”