Tell me about Tropical.
David: Tropical is in some ways about escaping, in other ways just being
James: It’s lusting over some kind of paradise…
Bobby: …that doesn’t actually exist.
What was it like recording your first video?
Dave: We basically had a ridiculously small budget but we managed to get a massive studio and a fake beach.
Bob: People worked really hard on it, I don’t know how we paid for it. We had our friend’s Ferrari.
Dave: We did an outside shoot in Peckham as well. They filmed us down the high street, miming along to a little ghetto blaster. Most people couldn’t actually hear anything. Someone went, “What are you doing?” and, “Play some fucking music.”
Did you get involved with arts collectives around Peckham?
Dave: We played a really big !WOWOW! event, we’ve been involved with them in various ways over the years. We used to rehearse in one of the basements of one of the squats.
Bob: The squats are actually much better than some of the places that you pay for in London.What are the Joe Strummer campfires like?
Dave: When it started raining, suddenly a massive tarpaulin would come out of the Strummerville van. It’s outside now, actually. Our van broke down so they gave us theirs, that’s how good they are. They’re a music charity that does what they say: help bands.
Matt: Not in a weird community workshop type of way.
Dave: They talk about the artistic inspirational things Strummer said. To be independent from those who aren’t passionate or in love with what they’re doing. The campfire is a way to inspire conversation.
Does London get depressing in winter for you?
Dave: It can be in the summer, as well, when it’s sweltering. If you get on a double-decker bus from down here, the amount of palm trees you will see on shop fronts, you will be amazed.
Matt: There’s a beach on the Thames and you get tropical food everywhere. So in a way you can fool yourself into thinking your somewhere else.
Bob: Especially our music. It’s like later Joe Strummer had Congo rhythms going over his stuff, quite Spanish and Latin with the energy of it.
Dave: The rhythms we use mix in exotic percussion like steel drums. At night, when the doors are shut at a gig and everyone is sweating, it might as well be summer.
How did you get involved with the Joe Strummer Foundation?
Dave: They heard a couple of our songs. They asked us, “What do you guys want to do? Do you want to release a single?” We said, “Yes.”