It’s been more than three years since Django Django released their self-titled debut.
Not much has happened in that time, if the band, who met at university, are to be believed.
At a recent gig in Leeds, frontman Vincent Neff told the crowd that bassist Jimmy Dixon had got a cat, and that they’d rescued keyboard player Tommy Grace from the retirement home once again.
While it’s pleasing to hear the band’s running joke about Grace being ancient (in reality, they’re all pretty much the same age), Neff was ignoring one musical large matter.
They’re to return with their second album, Born Under Saturn, on May 4, and begin a UK tour the day after. The album’s named after a book that drummer Dave Maclean found in a shop in Stratford, says Dixon.
“To be born under Saturn means you’re supposed to have an artistic temperament, but I think Dave just liked the words, really, and that it was a pretty esoteric book when he started reading it.”
The foursome had been on the lookout for an album title, having already come up with the artwork; a striking image of what looks like the world’s juiciest orange, painted black and white on the outside but cut in half to reveal the perfect, vivid centre.
“We wanted something as bold as the music,” says Dixon.
They’ve been playing a handful of the new songs live for a few months now, Reflections and Pause Repeat getting the most positive reaction.
That’s pleasing, says Dixon, but really, they’re just relieved to have some new songs to play.
“By the time we finished touring the first album, I think we were so used to playing the songs, we were doing so without thinking about it,” he says. “We were getting a bit sloppy.”
Having made the first album themselves in their tiny studio, which also doubles as Maclean’s bedroom, they were adamant they wanted to do something a little grander this time round.
So after writing in their old workspace, they moved on to Angelic in Banbury, Oxfordshire, a studio in a converted barn. Among the main benefits of the residential studio is that it takes a band away from everyday life and its distractions, and plants them in a work-only environment. There are, however, disadvantages to that. “We started to go a bit mad,” says Dixon. “And we realised we were spending quite a lot of time messing around with all the different instruments we had there.”
Fortunately, they managed to focus long enough to make a pretty special album.
Rather than change direction, they’ve actually just taken what made them interesting in the first place; their blend of the exotic rhythms, close harmony singing, electronic beats and sci-fi lyrics, and ramped them up to create a distilled version of their own sound. New track Pause Repeat is a case in point, and easily the most danceable song on the album. “That’s been getting a great reaction when we’ve played live,” says Dixon. “We played in Paris recently, and I don’t know how they knew it but they were shouting for that song and singing along.”
Django Django play at Leeds Festival on August 28. For details visit www.leedsfestival.com