Chunnel of Love: Is Tropical’s Franco-British Exploration
Published June 13, 2011
IS TROPICAL. PHOTO COURTESY OF CLEMENT DAUVENT
They come in three, they wear face veils, and they like Cheryl Cole. Is Tropical, East London’s latest import, is currently getting France bouncing off the café walls—and their pervy pop sounds recently got them signed with Kitsuné, to boot. After touring with Klaxons and playing with LCD Soundsystem, they’re releasing their first album, Native To, and embarking on a European tour this week. Interview met the band after their sold-out gig in Paris’ Point Ephémère, for music festival Jalouse Rocks Paris.
ALICE PFEIFFER: Where does the name of your band come from?
IS TROPICAL: It’s all about escapism; we wanted to escape the harsh winter in London, writing songs about faraway lands. The “Is” part was there because of our friend always saying “is right,” “is shit,” “is crap,” etc.
PFEIFFER: Are you tropical?
IS TROPICAL: Far from… too dirty.
PFEIFFER: Why do you cover your faces onstage?
IS TROPICAL: To add mystery to the show. It’s like a ritual now, like a footballer putting on his boots or a swimmer his goggles. We always loved the romance behind masks, whether bandits, religious, party… all good.
PFEIFFER: Who is your biggest hero?
IS TROPICAL: Julian Casablancas is a big one. Tom Waits, Adam Curits, Louis Theroux, Jimmy Robertson to name a few. There are lots.
PFEIFFER: Why do you think you are so popular with the French?
IS TROPICAL: I guess the French label helps. We tend to get more press in France and tour lots here, which is good because we love touring France—you get treated well. We seem to do okay in Italy, also, which is also a plus because of the food and weather. We want to grow like a weed throughout Europe and beyond.
PFEIFFER: Do you feel very British? Where is the Britishness in your daily life?
IS TROPICAL: I guess we’re not the most patriotic Englishmen in the world—none of us own a Union Jack. We love a good fry-up, Lovejoy, Cheryl Cole and K Cider, but not as much as traveling and meeting people from different cultures.
IS TROPICAL’S DEBUT ALBUM, NATIVE TO, IS OUT TODAY IN EUROPE AND TOMORROW IN THE US. THE BAND WILL TOUR EUROPE THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THEIR MYSPACE.