For most, Hemel Hempstead isn’t the first place they’d think of filming a slick music video, but for alternative rock band Scholars it seemed the perfect way to honour their hometown – despite its infamous award.
Three out of the five members are Hemel born and bred, with bass player Chris Aylett’s parents still living in Boxmoor.
Former JFK pupil Chris – who has known bandmate and drummer Mike Frost since he was seven years old – said: “We love the town and think the title of Britain’s Ugliest Town was totally undeserved.
“As a touring band we’ve played in lots and lots of different places, and we’ve seen a lot worse than Hemel!”
Filming for their latest single Damage took place over the course of one day in early September, and features shots of lead singer Sam Nicholls outside the town’s railway station.
Chris, 30, said: “We consciously decided to make the train station the first shot because we wanted to give people an idea of where we come from, rather than setting it in some generic location.”
The group also includes Portsmouth-born brothers Cal and Ethan Owen, who both play guitar. Together with the Hemel Hempstead trio they have been compared to fellow alternative rockers Hundred Reasons, who first popped up in 1999.
Chris said: “I suppose we fit into the rock genre, but we do sit well with other bands. We all grew up listening to the skate punk of the nineties, but we do have elements of heavier stuff too. We’re big fans of The Smiths as well – how they put their songs together, and the lyrics.
“We do like to get in people’s faces and make a statement. Our music is a bit like a slap around the face, and personally I really enjoy that!”
Damage – certainly an in-your-face statement – is all about the sensationalism of the tabloid press, and is part of the group’s debut album Always Lead, Never Follow, which came out in April. It’s available to buy from all the usual digital outlets.