“Where we are now, the status of independence is perfect for us. We’re proving what we can do on our own. We think that when you’re starting off, the best thing is to prove you can do it yourselves”
There is push and pull to all of this, of course, as Halliday fleshes out. “It’s been very difficult, mentally, to come around to – making the transition from no one being really aware of you to having your photo taken with a fan. For them, it makes their night. For us, it’s tricky to understand why someone would want it. It’s not that you’re rude, or want to be, but it’s definitely a struggle. We’re getting better at it now, obviously . . .”.
“To us, it still seems an odd concept, but saying it’s a pain in the arse is ungrateful,” reflects Trimble. “It’s a few seconds of your time that can double or triple someone’s pleasant memories of you, and if you take that 10 seconds or so, there’s going to be an extra bond, and that works in everyone’s favour.”
And so the 2DCC mantra continues: work it, baby. “You assess it on what you yourself would do,” asserts Halliday. “I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily want a photo with me! But we forget that for some people it’s very important. It’s difficult to understand what you are, or might be, to others. In your head, you’re just you. In their head, you’re possibly something of an idol. Or something like that.”
Conflicts, challenges, compromises, changes in creative tack and some stuff you’d be better off not to analyse too deeply: they’re all in the line of duty when it comes to raising the profile from zero to hero. What Trimble seems over zealous to confirm, however (of the three 2DCC blokes he seems the most tuned in to overt commercial possibilities – although this could be a post-Olympics hangover), is the benefit to the band’s momentum in being signed to low-key indie labels in Europe (Paris-based Kitsune) and America (New York’s Glassnote).
That said, there’s an unspoken irony to the fact that we’re chatting in the Dublin offices of Universal Records, which with 2DCC have aligned themselves for the distribution of Beacon.
Being in bed with independent labels has benefitted the band, says Trimble, in more ways than he could possibly ever explain. “It might sound a bit twee,” he says (and it most certainly does), “but we’re friends with everyone at each label. They’re passionate about the band, and they want to make it work for us. They know we know how to do it, how to make it work. And so they just let us do what we do by facilitating us rather than taking control.”
As a result, 2DCC decide when and where they tour, which songs from the albums should be singles, overseeing the artwork, and so on. Yet as every commercially successful band knows, there can come a point in your career where major labels can be more beneficial. Depending on your stance, here’s where it gets either interesting or clichéd.
“We’ve always had an attitude of saying never say never,” says Trimble, “but where we are now, the status of independence is perfect for us. We’re proving what we can do on our own. We think that when you’re starting off, the best thing is to prove you can do it yourselves.”
And so they firmly, unquestionably have. The snap-happy Tourist History, however, seems quite a remove from the rather more reflective, shiny surfaces of Beacon (which, as if to consolidate its focus, is produced by Jacknife Lee, the Dublin man who has worked his charm on the likes of Snow Patrol, U2, REM and SP/REM splinter act, Tired Pony).
In other words, it’s definitely a progression, but to what end remains to be seen. “You can’t really talk up the merits of one over the other,” advises Kevin Baird warily. “The way we like to explain it is that Tourist History summed up who and what we were when we made it in our teens. Beacon sums up where we are in our early 20s.”