Hot on the heels of their third album Gameshow, Northern Ireland indie pop trio Two Door Cinema Club have just returned from a tour of Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
“We’ve been going to Japan for seven or eight years now and we’ve definitely seen a change,” says bass player Kevin Baird of the reaction their music evokes. “I don’t know whether we’re getting more familiar with the culture of the fans are getting more familiar with us. It started quite reserved, everyone danced or bobbed along during the songs and at the end it was quite respectful, ten seconds of clapping and then dead silence.
“That sort of thing still happens a bit but now they go crazy during the songs, they’re jumping on each other’s shoulders until the song ends and then they respectfully clap for ten or 15 seconds and then silence. It’s a strange scenario but it’s awesome, we love it.”
Gameshow, which like its predecessor Beacon debuted in the UK top 5, was said to have been influenced by the type of polished pop that David Bowie and Prince produced in the 1980s. “Those are artists that have definitely been important to us, Prince and Bowie, just from growing up and framing our musical tastes, our definition in our minds of what a good pop song is,” Baird concurs. “We never really discuss too about what we are trying to achieve when we start doing it – maybe that’s a bad thing – but we kind of just get started. We’d taken a couple of years off the road and we were very used to this high tempo, high energy rock, big riffs and things like that but we’ve always been about making people dance. We wanted to experiment with doing that a different way – whether it was more groove based or a bit funkier. We just thought we’d try something different.”
Baird has said in interviews that he thought the band suffered an ‘identity crisis’ after touring their first two albums, Tourist History and Beacon, for six years solid. Going their separate ways for two years seems to have helped repair relations between Baird, singer Alex Trimble and lead guitarist Sam Halliday. “Sometimes it’s hard to express how much we loved it at the same as it definitely took its toll,” Baird says.
“The other thing that we thought was important was the time in our lives that we were doing this. We left school together, we grew up together, so we spent every moment together since we were 14 writing music or recording or practising or playing shows, suddenly you’re this touring band on the road, and I think that’s a pretty important time in a young person’s life – learning to be an adult and learning what your morals are, the basics of what you’re interested in, and we did that quite a lot under the microscope.
“There’s a pressure on bands to be as uniform, they look and feel like a little gang, and I think we never really felt comfortable with that and in our younger days because we weren’t comfortable with it we had to try harder to be comfortable with it and try to be more like each other and I think that’s something we’ve accepted these days, that we are different, and that’s a good thing.”
He feels their more relaxed attitude with each other is reflected in their most recent songs. “I think that’s something that has characterised the music that we write – that the three of us are very different people and the three of us are all involved in doing different things. I think that makes the sound sometimes hard to pin down, there’s elements of everyone going on. I think that relaxed attitude of respect creates not only good songs but just a nice environment to live and work in.”
Over the past decade Two Door Cinema Club’s songs have been used everywhere from TV shows and films to video games. Baird says the most surprising place he’s heard one of his songs was in a remote island in the South Pacific. “I was in Polynesia on my honeymoon and there was a bar playing one of our songs. No matter where I go I can’t escape it,” he chuckles.
Baird says the band are “raring to go” for their UK tour, adding: “Anyone who’s ever been to any of our shows before will know we spend a lot of time working out the production, making sure it’s not just sounding good, it looks good. We like to keep things pretty crisp and clean rather than rough and ready.”
We like to keep things pretty crisp and clean rather than rough and ready.Kevin Baird
Two Door Cinema Club play at O2 Academy Leeds on January 30. http://twodoorcinemaclub.com/