“Usu­ally for bands like us, where we’re from, we don’t get that lucky break. But we just kept go­ing . . .” Two Door Cinema Club talk strate­gies for mega-suc­cess with Tony Clay­ton-lea

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Weekly Guide To Entertainment -

An­i­mal Col­lec­tive are keep­ing it sim­ple, they tell Jim Car­roll, p6

IT’S HAP­PENED BE­FORE and it will, no doubt, hap­pen again: take a bunch of teenagers from a small­town gram­mar school, put mu­si­cal in­stru­ments into their hands, dress them in the la-di-da clothes of the day and wait un­til they sell more than one mil­lion copies of their de­but al­bum.

“You oc­ca­sion­ally get the feel­ing that some­one has messed up in ad­min,” says Two Door Cinema Club’s bassist Kevin Baird on the band’s – and there is no other way to de­scribe it – strato­spheric suc­cess over the past two years, “and that some­one hasn’t checked our back­stage passes. The way we look at it is that we re­ally shouldn’t be here. When we started crawl­ing up the lad­der in pro­file, es­pe­cially at fes­ti­vals, we felt that some­one was go­ing to come along and tell us to leave the premises.”

Back in 2008/2009, a year and bit af­ter they formed in Ban­gor, Co Down, they re­call liv­ing on a diet of su­per­mar­ket value meals and bot­tles of wa­ter that they’d, er, ap­pro­pri­ated from the venues they played to dou­ble-digit amounts of peo­ple. Now? Well, now they head­line fes­ti­vals in Europe and be­yond, and sell out 3,000-ca­pac­ity shows. Now, they travel in tour buses that have wine racks full of Chardon­nay-this, Chateau-that and Cham­pagne-what­ever. Now, they loan out their lead singer to global events such as the Olympics open­ing cer­e­mony. Now they are so suc­cess­ful that their sec­ond al­bum ( Bea­con) leaks on­line a full month be­fore its of­fi­cial re­lease. Oh, yes, things have in­deed changed.

What should have hap­pened to 2DCC, of course, is what oc­curs to 90 per cent of sim­i­lar sta­tus bands. “In the­ory, ob­vi­ously, what should have taken place,” says gui­tarist Sam Hal­l­i­day, “was that we should have stopped tour­ing a year be­fore we did – which was a year be­fore it all started to get crazy. What should have hap­pened is that we shouldn’t have been as lucky, if that’s the right word. Main­stream ra­dio didn’t play our songs, main­stream mag­a­zines didn’t cover us, but we just kept go­ing, and usu­ally for bands like us, where we’re from, we don’t get that lucky break. But we kept go­ing, peo­ple got on board, we toured for an­other year, and that’s when it started to kick in.”

Even for an in­de­pen­dently-minded band such as 2DCC, the per­ceived nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion – sign­ing a record deal, record­ing an al­bum, re­leas­ing the al­bum, tour­ing the al­bum, go­ing back into the stu­dio and record­ing the sec­ond al­bum, all the while play­ing com­pact venues – didn’t win them any quick re­ward. In short, they slogged away for a while. It wasn’t work­ing. They slogged away for a bit more. It still wasn’t work­ing. And then they set their sights on Amer­ica.

“It was about cre­at­ing our own de­sign,” re­veals Alex Trim­ble, the band’s lead singer and one of the is-that-re­ally-who-I-think-it-is sur­prise per­form­ers at the afore­men­tioned Olympics, “and not fol­low­ing that typ­i­cal for­mula, which is un­doubt­edly the rea­son why it worked. There is a for­mula for bands and ma­jor acts on big la­bels – what hap­pens is strate­gised. For in­de­pen­dent bands, even, there is a set for­mula that most will fol­low. For us, though, we thought why should we do that. Clearly, the so-called strate­gies didn’t do us a lot of favours, so we de­cided to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

Some­thing dif­fer­ent def­i­nitely worked. Per­haps the mix­ture of youth, am­bi­tion and free­dom from cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as­sisted their pas­sage to continue tour­ing and play­ing shows vir­tu­ally non-stop, and see­ing such ef­fort set into mo­men­tum the swing from play­ing in small bars to 50 peo­ple to venues where they now play to thou­sands.

“We were get­ting mes­sages from all around the world on Twit­ter, email, Face­book,” says Trim­ble, “and we thought that if the de­mand was there, then we should give the fans what they want. When we started, we were in the game pri­mar­ily for our­selves, but in or­der to keep it for our­selves, we knew we had to give a lot to other peo­ple, be­cause these are the peo­ple who al­low us to do what we want to do.”

Is that a big sac­ri­fice? Not at all, ex­plains a self­less Trim­ble, an at­ti­tude that once again re­flects their mil­lion-sell­ing, in­genue sta­tus. “You can put it in ways that makes it sound like a sac­ri­fice, but the feel­ing you get go­ing to these places and see­ing peo­ple’s re­ac­tions – know­ing that you’re giv­ing other peo­ple a good time – makes us happy in a to­tally dif­fer­ent way.”

They cher­ish their songs, is the im­plicit ad­mis­sion; they cre­ate them in a closed room with no one else around, with no one else in mind, and that is the only part that needs to be for them. “Yes, we’re artists, cre­ative types; that’s what we love to do and that’s why we’re in this,” elab­o­rates Trim­ble, “but we’re also en­ter­tain­ers, and we’re there to give fans an ex­pe­ri­ence, an emo­tional up­lift – joy, if you like. And that also makes us very happy.”


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