In 2002 four men from the UK decided to start a band from their new home in Tokyo, Japan and now, after 15 years, they have reformed.

The five-piece is made up of David on guitar and vocals, Phinn on guitar, electric mandolin and vocals), Jimmy on keys and vocals, Jay on bass and vocals, and Indi on drums.

Next week they will be playing at the Guns and Smoke in Barnet, the latest home town of lead singer David Hickey who we caught up with to find out about the band's history 

How was the band formed?

trees owe their entire existence to happenstance, really. We were five dislocated people, total strangers working in a foreign country, Japan. We were straight out of university or thereabouts, employed as teachers, living near each other in the suburbs of Tokyo. This was the early noughties. We bonded over a shared love of the Manchester band the Smiths, Japanese fast food and football and decided to form a band to alleviate boredom from our day jobs.

Tell me about your time together?

They were joyous, carefree times. The very early days of the band were invariably spent in somebody’s front room with drummer Indi literally bashing pots and pans, me with on acoustic, Phinn on mandolin, Jimmy on keyboards and Jay on bass, all of us singing, covering Beatles tunes and probably upsetting neighbours who were too polite to complain.

Then we got proper instruments, started writing our own songs, rehearsing in a studio, messing around on a four-track tape recorder and gigging two to three times a month. We played a lot of gigs in Shimokitazawa, which is like the Camden of Tokyo – a real mecca for alternative bands. And we recorded our debut album.

Why did you get back together?

Well, drummer Indi is getting married this summer. He popped the question six months ago: Would we get back together to play his wedding? There’ll be about 300 people there. I didn’t realise when he first asked us that it’s going to be dry wedding so everybody will be stone-cold sober. Tough gig.

Rehearsals for that are going well – admittedly these have so far been without bassist Jay, who lives in Seoul but he will – he promises – be there for the gigs. Also, we were getting on OK, so we thought let’s turn this into something more. The songwriting muscles have been reactivated, and so have the same old creative tensions within the band. Which is good.

Do you write your own songs, if so how?

Sometimes myself, Phinn or Jimmy will bring a fully-formed song to rehearsal. Or Indi might bring a drum loop that we then write around. Sometimes a melody will pop into my head and it’s a case of finding chords to fit and then deconstruct it – or work out how I can make it more interesting and not like something else we’ve already written, or somebody else has. Sometimes songs seem to write themselves but I try to disrupt that process to try to take it in a more interesting direction.

The best trees songs, I think, such as neu machine and 24 hours, are genuine band compositions written in the studio, together. They will have started with a riff or a chord sequence from somebody and then it’s a case of the different members of the band picking at it and pulling it in different directions in the studio into something that moves us and we think sounds like nothing else.

Any other anecdotes or info?

At the 2002 World Cup held in South Korea/Japan we were invited to play at some opulent FIFA-organised ambassador’s party on the outskirts of Tokyo. I think we got the call because Indi and Jimmy were involved in training the Japanese how to deal with English football hooligans. We were promised Sir Roger Moore was to appear. We were asked to write an England anthem – I remember the lyrics had a reference to Emile Heskey and the chorus shouted ‘C’mon England’ – Jimmy swears it’s the best football song since New Order’s World in Motion. But Sir Roger never turned up and in the end I think they rejected our effort for something by a brass band from Sheffield.

Guns and Smoke, 1B Church Passage, Barnet, EN5 4QS, Thursday, July 21, 9pm. Details: 020 8441 8111