“We don’t have any al­le­giance to any genre and in that re­spect, the al­bum is an hon­est one”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

their al­bum at the end of last month, the rave re­views have been flood­ing in, with many al­ready hail­ing their pe­cu­liar in­cur­sion into psy­che­delic pop as an early con­tender for al­bum of the year.

“At the mo­ment, we don’t re­ally have time to sit around and think about that sort of stuff,” says the no-non­sense, bearded Ma­clean. “We’re prac­tis­ing, try­ing to get bet­ter live and to meet the new ex­pec­ta­tions that peo­ple will have of our live show, now that the al­bum’s come out.

“We want to try to start to think about the next al­bum as well. This one’s been so long in the mak­ing, we’re ac­tu­ally re­ally keen to write some new stuff.”

Ma­clean has thrown him­self into ev­ery as­pect of Django Django since form­ing the band with Neff in 2008, from the art­work (he de­signed the al­bum cover) to pro­duc­tion. Although the pair, and Ed­in­burgh na­tive Grace, had known each other since col­lege, it wasn’t un­til they had moved to London and recorded some rough de­mos that the idea of a band was mooted. In fact, Django Django was recorded en­tirely in Ma­clean’s be­d­room.

“I started off with a four-track back in school, record­ing some friends who were in art col­lege; but it was al­ways about dance mu­sic for me, I was never about bands,” he ex­plains. “I was into acid house, hip-hop and jun­gle at the time, try­ing to make my own rhythms to dance­hall and ragga stuff.

“That was where my head was at un­til I met Vinny, and the two of us man­aged to some­how merge my love of weird dance mu­sic and his love of The Bea­tles and Beach Boys’ har­monies.

“Ev­ery­thing just seemed to click with him; had I not met him, I don’t think I’d have nec­es­sar­ily wanted to start a band. I didn’t have much ex­pe­ri­ence of a band. I didn’t know how to record a gui­tar, or drums, or what you were meant to do. I still don’t, re­ally, but I’m quite happy with that. I like to go with gut feel­ing and ex­per­i­ment in that way, rather than splash­ing out on ex­pen­sive mics and that sort of stuff.

“You can kind of get lost in that a bit. It’s like an artist set­ting them­selves up with a can­vas and paints and all that stuff, and then phoning some­body up and get­ting them to paint some­thing for you. All the fancy equip­ment might be nice, but you can get the same re­sults by do­ing it your­self. That’s some­thing we feel quite strongly about.

“I ac­tu­ally feel like more of a pro­ducer than a drum­mer, but I think it’s be­come an im­por­tant part of the sound now.”

The home­spun charm of the al­bum cer­tainly doesn’t de­tract from the songs, which swing ri­otously from the scuffed thud of the new sin­gle, De­fault, through to the glo­ri­ous, har­mony-in­fused elec­tronic pop of Wave­forms and the rat­tlesnake stalk of Love’s Dart. Django Django is an al­bum that’s ex­plod­ing with creativ­ity, di­ver­sity and imag­i­na­tion.

Both Ma­clean and Neff at­tribute its schiz­o­phrenic na­ture to their “bizarre” record col­lec­tions.

“We’ve got hard­core rave sit­ting next to Buddy Holly, The Cramps sit­ting next to The Bea­tles or jun­gle mu­sic,” chuck­les Ma­clean. “We don’t have any al­le­giance to any genre and in that re­spect, the al­bum is an hon­est one. I’m a big fan of Gior­gio Moroder’s pro­duc­tion be­cause you’ve got things that shouldn’t work to­gether in his songs – whether it’s Italo-disco synths along­side power pop, or what­ever.

“They’re kind of odd, and I think that’s some­thing worth pur­su­ing. The Bea­tles were odd, Prince is odd, The Beach Boys were odd, Joe Meek was bizarre. Why not?” It was those qual­i­ties that led French in­de­pen­dent la­bel Be­cause Mu­sic to sign the four­some and con­tinue their Gallic love af­fair.

“They have a sim­i­lar sort of phi­los­o­phy to a la­bel like XL Record­ings,” ex­plains Ma­clean. “They let the artist have full creative con­trol, and I think that’s the key to XL hav­ing done well over the past few years, ac­tu­ally. The record in­dus­try’s changed so much that it’s great to have a la­bel [like that]. It’s more of a part­ner­ship, re­ally.”

De­spite the ac­co­lades and sup­port, how­ever, Ma­clean is de­ter­mined that Django Django aren’t go­ing to sit back and revel in the eu­lo­gies.

“It’s hard to en­joy it. I think for a lot of peo­ple who spend a long time mak­ing an al­bum, when it comes out, you’re just like ‘Oh’,” he smiles.

“But the sum­mer fes­ti­vals are gonna be great, and we’re look­ing for­ward to be­ing a strong live band, ’cos that’s a dif­fer­ent beast. That’s one thing about the al­bum – there’s so much go­ing on that it’s a bit of a headache fig­ur­ing out how to make it work live. But it’s taken on a life of its own, and the rock­a­billy and dance stuff es­pe­cially have be­come more prom­i­nent.

“Ba­si­cally, I’m hap­pi­est when I’m in the stu­dio and mak­ing mu­sic, so that’s what I want to do now. Mu­si­cally, we’ve moved on al­ready from the al­bum and I have no idea where we’re gonna go next. And that’s re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

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