All the credit for the pics goes to Asia Werbel.
Dougie Poynter first burst onto the scene back in 2004 as one quarter of beloved pop band McFly when he was just a young teen. In their career, spanning over fourteen years, the band has amassed 19 top 10 singles, 5 albums and have just completed their 14th tour in September, after postponing it due to Harry Judd slipping a disc.
1883 caught up with McFly’s charming bass guitarist, after making him swing from a few metal poles, to talk the recent tour, being a musical influence, warming up in LA and what the actual hell is a Mary Berry!
Hey, thanks for swinging around on those metal poles for us.
[Laughs] No problem!
At least you don’t have to go to the gym today. That’s arm day done!
Working out I usually suck at it but that was the one thing I’m actually good at.
So, today’s shoot was fine for you then!
Yeah, if it was anything to do with legs, I would’ve sucked.
Leg day is awful though.
Leg is horrible! But I’m constantly doing leg day though, because these things just will not get any bigger.
I’m an ectomorph.
It one of the figures, there’s like ectomorph and endomorph. I’m definitely ectomorph, I just burn it all off.
That’s convenient at Christmas time, you can just pig out and its fine.
Yeah but not for a dude though, but I guess so [laughs].
So, you’ve finished touring…
Yeah finished touring about three months ago, is it three? I think it’s three months ago now.
And you’ve just released your live album called anthology off the back of that, so how was touring as just McFly instead of as a super group?
Touring was cool, it was really cool. It’s always good fun to hang with the guys it was going form a really big production that was McBusted which was like every single song had some kind of big production element to it. To go back to literally like zero production. In fact, I think we didn’t even have a truck on this tour we just had like a trailer with just amplifiers in it. We didn’t take our own PA we just used the house PA.
Did it feel weird to return to four after 18 months as being a pretty big group?
No actually because McBusted was 18 months McFly has been 13, 14 years. So, it didn’t really feel weird at all.
How did it feel revisiting some of your older songs, some of which you have never played live before?
The most stressful thing was playing 66 songs in total over three nights, I mean that’s a lot to remember.
Were there any songs where you forgot the chords and the lyrics?
Oh, yeah there was some songs I hadn’t played since I was 16. The only thing that was going through my head the entire time was don’t fuck up! Don’t fuck up! Don’t fuck up!
I mean that’s a pretty solid motto! How did you think your music has evolved and changed with you?
Sorry, my hands smell odd, probably swinging from the poles. But yeah everything seems to be a reaction to the previous. In every single way from the way we play it to the types of songs that they are. Everything is a reaction to the last one right up until our last album that we released six years ago.
Do you think they represent the stages of your life you were at when you made them or not?
I think you can definitely tell like what was going through our heads. I mean they’re all about girls [laughs].
Since this tour was about looking back over what you’ve done, what would you say to your younger self?
Mmhhh. I don’t know there’s a lot but is it really a good idea to go back in time and change things? I don’t know.
Umm, whatever it is don’t do it. If you think it’s a bad idea it probably is.
So, you’ll be recording new music in the new year?
I think we’re gonna start writing. I’m not sure.
Is that something you do together or do you guys go off and create individually and bring it back?
Sometimes, it all depends on what the other guys have been writing. Me, personally I’ve been in Los Angeles for a while writing by myself and other people. So, we’re got a few ideas floating around but we’ll see, I don’t know.
Do you find if you do work as a group that you’re inclined to mess around as a group of lads or are you pretty focused?
No. no it’s fine! It depends, I mean there is a bit of messing around. It’s not like it’s a chore we do all enjoy it so it’s not like we are like ‘ahh let’s do something else’. Everyone is enjoying doing it so it works. It works, creatively it works.
You said you’ve been doing some writing so do you have an idea of where the sound is going for this album?
I have no idea. I have no idea what is going on! It’s a bit early yet.
How does it feel to be at a stage in your career that you as a band are influencing artists breaking into the scene or those that already have?
Oh, you think?
Yeah, off the top of my head bands like the Vamps, One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer all have elements of McFly and have all said on record that you were a big influence!
Oh, thanks, that’s really kind of you. That’s really cool.
I don’t think were ever really think or have sat back and given ourselves the credit, like you know hence me being so surprised. Yeah, I don’t know. Like I know how I definitely look at some of the most important bands in my life. So, if in any other way a band looks at us the same, well that’s like the ultimate goal.
Let’s talk about some of the people who influenced you, who are they and how have they influenced the music you’ve made?
It was the whole, I grew up listening to the whole southern California punk thing. From the mainstream stuff to the more underground stuff. That who shaped who is was. When you’re that age it’s just, music is so important. And those guys were all singing about things that I really related to.
Is it that kind of things that a song just says all the things you feel but don’t know how to vocalise?
So, is that what got you into music?
Yeah, it was like…how do I say it? English music at the time wasn’t really doing much for me, I didn’t really relate to it, or maybe I did relate to it but that was the problem? It wasn’t anything that was outside the box. And then I discovered that whole punk scene and kind of fell in love with it. They were all skateboarding and singing out about food and girls. You know all from a kind of teenager’s perspective and I just fell in love with it and that was the whole reason I picked up the bass guitar and started bands at school. Eventually I ended up playing bass for McFly.
Why the bass guitar out of all the instruments?
Everybody needed a bass player. My first instrument was actually a guitar but then everyone at school was missing a bass player so I got a bass and like could join everyone’s bands.
Word on the street is you can play the organ, is this true?
This is very true!
How did you get to play an organ?
At the Royal Albert Hall, so McFly was having their 10th anniversary there and they the famous organ there and we like cheekily said can we play it? And they were like is that during the show? And they said okay and they gave us the key out this ancient box and they opened it all up for us. I literally learnt to play the organ in sound check.
Oh, so you literally learnt then! You didn’t know before!?
Yeah. I mean the keys are similar to a piano. So, after sound check I’d go rehearse what I was doing with my fingers but then there’s like pulling stops and the pedals and all that. It’s like driving a tractor, on an ice rink, down a narrow alley. That instrument is like 10,000 bigger than me. It’s so loud so one wrong move and it sounds awful. I did mess it up on one of the nights.
Is it one of those times you can style it out or did everyone notice?
Yeah, I think everyone noticed that it sounded terrible. I didn’t know how to reset it! I can’t remember exactly but you have to pull these things, pressed down this and the pedal, hold that and pull that one.
So, you said you’d been in LA recently…
That’s where I spend the majority of my time.
Where do you prefer then, LA or London?
It depends what time of the year it is.
Okay when is the best time for LA?
So right now, Los Angeles. Because I have terrible circulation and I’m always cold. Right now, I’m freezing! But if I put on too many layers I just feel uncomfortable. Its literally just more of a comfort thing wherever its warm I’m more comfortable.
So, when can we spot you around London like some rare creature?
Usually in the summer, when it’s warm I’m usually here a lot.
So, where’s your favourite place in London?
My favourite place in London?
Yeah where’s your natural habitat?
My natural habitat is Richmond; I love Richmond area. It’s the coolest place. I go from one spot to another I don’t think I’d ever say I’d settle in one place because I love both. They are both complete polar opposites. LA is totally brand new, it’s like what 100 years old if that, so vast, so big. Half the plants aren’t native there, it’s a savannah landscape it’s got beaches mixed with this major city and it’s hot all the time. Then come back home and go to Richmond and I live by a river where Henry VIII used to go up and down, and by a park that Henry VIII used to go hunting in, and there’s all these old buildings that are to do with him and what he used to get up to. Oh, and everyone talks the same as me.
Do you get that a lot in America with your British accent?
No, no I actually get [puts on American accent] ‘ohh you’re Australian. Cool!’. Then I’m like no, I’m from London [laughs] [American accent] ‘really you sound Aussie’. I think it’s because everyone thinks we either talk like the Queen or a Cockney. Oh, actually you know what it is if I have a really Essex accent that day it’s the ‘mate’ that’s why they think I’m Aussie.
So, you’ve been doing some acting classes in LA as well as recording music how has that been?
I attend a school in LA and here [in London]. It’s exploring myself. I think it’s very important in life to continuously throw yourself out of your comfort zone and never get into a routine. The moment that you do I think you literally like neurologically get stuck and you’re not as creative. I think it’s been scientifically proven that if you chuck yourself in a different environment and there is no routine and everything is out of the norm you’re a lot more creative. You get more done, create more and live more.
I rarely say no to any opportunity. Even if it’s some guy who wants to write a song and I’ve never heard of them, maybe a friend of a friend and we’re polar opposites I’ll still give it a go because hey, you never know. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but it might be fun.
You’ve finished shooting a few films what can you tell me about them?
Yeah, I’ve just finished a British film and then next year I do two more British films but I’m not allowed to tell you about them. Literally by one day I’m not allowed to talk about them!! I’m meeting the director tomorrow so had this been a day later I could tell you everything!
I can tell you that it’s a really, really, really exciting part and I’m really, really happy about it. It’s really cool I don’t know how much I can talk about it yet until I meet with the director. I’ve seen artwork for it and it’s fucking awesome!
Oh, how top secret! Since you seem to be alight at keeping secrets will you throw you hat in the ring for Bond?
No, I’m too short to be Bond [laughs].
Do you not think Bond could be anyone though? We’ve had a blonde Bond that wasn’t that tall!
Do you think?
Okay if you’re not going to be Bond who would you like to be Bond?
Mmhh. Who would be interesting to be Bond? Have they done it already? That female bond?
Should they just cut the series where it is and do a spin off, one of his love children just takes over as the protagonist?
[Laughs] yeah like son of Bond [laughs]. Or Daughter. I don’t know maybe Idris [Elba]. He’s got those eyes.
So, if not Bond are there any other franchises that you have your eye on? Game of Thrones maybe?
I don’t know I’m as ‘bout as big as a hobbit. So maybe I could be a hobbit and they wouldn’t need any CGI [laughs]. I think as long as it’s challenging and outside the box I’ve got my eye on it, even if they haven’t got funding yet I think there are a few that look awesome.
Is acting something you see for the future?
I think acting but not necessarily a film, if a film comes along or whatever great. But right now, I love studying and learning continuously doing different things.
You recently attend the Fashion awards, strong sartorial choice with the bowtie!
Oh, you like that?! It was actually my second choice because my other one broke just as I was getting ready. My car arrived and I just lost the bit of the thing so I had to put that one on.
So, what draws you to fashion?
I just really like the creative aspect of fashion. What the big designers are doing and where they are taking it. It’s like all the photography and music ties in and that’s kind of an expression of what’s going on. I really like it when a designer hits it on the head with soundtrack of the show and then you can really see a small pocket of France or New York or somewhere that he’s got as his inspiration.
I love the connection between music and fashion. Even when I was growing up it was the whole pop punk thing; you know skate clothes. Those two things tied together, in the 90s Nirvana brought the whole flannels and ripped jeans things in and it took over. That was the look.
I think it’s the look at the moment as well!
Yeah exactly it’s come back around.
Do you have a favourite designer or collection that you want in your wardrobe?
I don’t know, there’s a lot! I’m not sure I could pull all of it off! I’ve always loved Hedi Slimane because I’ve always loved his photography as well.
So, the really sharp tailored look he brought in the Saint Laurent style.
Yeah I love all of that or um Alessandro Michele what he’s done for Gucci is so cool. His name is confusing though because you just want to pronounce it wrong and call him Alessandro Michael! But yeah, he’s doing great things, he just came in a turned it all around not even that long ago.
Where is the future for you, is there something you really want to pursue or is it going to be whatever the hell makes you happy?
Um yeah pretty much. I don’t know. I know for like the first couple months of the year we know what I’m doing and I really can’t wait for January to begin to make a start on those two projects. Then I guess go back to the States for a while and continue to warm up and do a bit of learning and whatever really makes me happy at the time.
Okay let’s just finish with a few fun, stupid questions, what’s your perfect pizza?
You know, I think it is actually kind of boring but I’m really effected by like films from my childhood, that even if it doesn’t taste that great but that idea in your head so like the Ninja Turtles and Home Alone cheese pizza. The cheese on the pizza that’s the key.
Your iPod is broken, it’s stuck on one song for the rest of your life, what song is it?
Jeez, one song for the rest of my life…
Okay a month until you get a new one!
Okay a month, what I think is like the sweet spot of pop punk, rock production is Blink 182 ‘Feeling This’, I don’t know what it is about it but it’s got everything: great guitar sounds; two bass guitars going on at the same time; beach boy style harmonies going on. I could listen to that song over and over and pick out different things every time.
You have to bake something for Mary Berry what would you bake?
What’s a Mary Berry?
You don’t know what Mary Berry is? Okay she’s like this old lady who is a judge on the Great British Bake Off. She’s like the Queen of the show, she wears like tweed jackets, perfectly bouffant hair and loves a cheeky tipple.
From what you’ve told me about her I could make like a really super average sponge cake and put a bit of brandy I the middle of it with a glass, just surrounded by Jägerbombs and she’d be happy right?
So, a Victoria sponge with an assortment of alcoholic beverages.
I didn’t say it is Victoria it’s literally just a sponge, yeah it’s the easiest thing that I can find in the cake book but then I surround the things with alcohol because you said she likes alcohol. She won’t care what it actually tastes like because she’ll be hammered.
Using only McFly songs create a sentence or describe yourself or a band mate. I’m really testing your knowledge on your discography here.
[Laughs] it’s a great question but I’m finding it very hard to do!
I’ll be okay, because obviously….err.
Literally I can’t fucking do it [laughs]. Can I use other lyrics?
Yes, go for it!
I’ll be okay, because obviously…there’s…oh bollocks, I can’t do it! I literally can’t do it, I’ve got our entire discography going on because it’s fresh in my head, it’s too much. There’s like lines going everywhere!
Okay I’m just going to say random lines and see if they work…
I’ll be okay, because obviously, there’s a stone in my shoe…umm the people marching to the drums, she’s got a lip ring, dancing on the kitchen tiles, I ran to get my bike but it wasn’t there, my parents sold it at the summer fair…Has that made any sense, any of that?
Not at all but it was wonderful anyway!
Good because fuck know what that was!
Hopefully this one is easier, what’s your album of the year?
I think the 1975 album is really great.
Brunch or Sunday Roast?
It’s brunch, I just love breakfast.
I get it breakfast food anytime of the day is where it’s at.
Yeah, there’s just something about it. I found a good brunch place the other day you can literally stay until dinner so then everyone is happy.