Back to the Future: The Modern Strangers

INDIE got a little old didn’t it? Around 2014 it reached a peak and went for a nap. It became a sleepy world of overused ukulele chords and Diana Vickers vocals. However, it seems to be waking up again. If Indie music is waking up then The Modern Strangers are the alarm clock. Melodic, lively, and funky, they make the music of rainy barbeques and the legendary British house party. They make music for a nation that refuses to sleep and is immune to the command of ‘last orders’.

The Modern Strangers create busy music. It’s like rush hour London, fast, on the move, driven, and full of direction. They say it’s a sign of great intelligence to have the ability to put together music that has lots of different parts. These guys have definitely succeeded in their musical chemistry. Despite the busyness, nothing feels or sounds spare. Every curious piece of percussion, every fuzzy guitar part, every harmony has a distinctive place in the song. ‘Coco Hello’ is a bold and promiscuous single, which flirts with its listener, tickling them with unexpected additions and spontaneous surprise. Below is my interview with lead singer Max Davenport who explains their comings, goings and soon to be happenings.

Where did the inspiration for ‘Coco Hello’ come from? I really like the guitar tones and the variation of sounds, could you tell me a bit about that sound and how you have developed it? What kind of bands do you guys like to listen to?

“Thank you! It all started around the main guitar riff, once we had that nailed the rest of the song pretty much wrote itself. We wanted to keep it upbeat and fun, but also make the sound of it quite tough and heavy. We listen and take inspiration from bands like Justice, BeeGees, The Strokes.”

The vocal control is really something as well; I thought particularly in a video at Sofar, when did you start singing? Have you had lessons? Do you guys take artistic control in other forms such as the album work/logo design? I really like your logo!

“Thank you again! We’ve never really had lessons and never really considered ourselves singers as such. We normally write the music first and the vocals are added on at the end! For example, our song ‘Margarita’ was going to be an instrumental track. It was only when my brother suggested it should have lyrics that we decided to add them! Yeah we have complete control over all things branding and made the logo ourselves.”

What is the best way to listen to music in your opinion?

“I always loved CDs. Being able to go into a shop and buy the album was great. However, the world of streaming is something I really like too. It’s completely changed the music industry and I’m starting to think for the better! It’s a lot easier for thousands more people to hear your music now thanks to Spotify playlists etc.

“When is your next big release? And what do listeners have to look forward to? “We have just released ‘She’s So Cold’ the first single from our debut EP. The second single will be coming out next month and the EP will follow in May!”

If you were to sum up your music in one word what would that word be? And in another, what does music mean to Britain?

“The one word would be… Party. We make feel-good music we hope people will want to play before they go out, at their party and/or when they get back from their parties!”

So where are you on the Tea scale? And what is, in your eyes, the best bag of tea? “For me it’s got to be number 3… Yorkshire Tea all the way.”

The Modern Strangers are getting noticed by every paper, magazine and festival for their unique songs that remind us of the greats of the 70s; all the while giving them a dangerous kick of the present and future. They’re using experimental synth techniques that create incredibly immersive sounds. Their newest single ‘She’s So Cold’ begins with the first lyric coming through what sounds like a vocoder and builds into a very powerful first verse. It combines gorgeous lead vocals and experimental percussion; expert use of synthesisers with a recognisable groove. They could be called, modernised old friends, but that wouldn’t sound quite as cool now would it?

Below are all the links you need to get their music. Remember their EP will be available this coming May and will make an edgy and avant-garde addition to your playlist collection. Watch, play, listen enjoy.

Sofar gig:

New single ‘She’s So Cold’:

‘Coco Hello’:




Photo Credit: Stewart Capper

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