“We had to take a step back and realise there are more importants things in life” - hmv.com talks to Two Door Cinema Club
By the time they wrapped up touring in support of their second album Beacon at the end of 2013 Two Door Cinema Club were sick of the sight of each other and all acknowledged that they needed a long break. That said, none of the Northern Irish trio probably envisioned it would be a full year apart and almost two years to make their third studio album.
Now they're well-rested and back with new album Gameshow (which you can preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page), an LP which owes more to David Bowie, Daft Punk and Prince than it does to the indie pop of the band’s early career.
We spoke to guitarist Sam Halliday about their mini hiatus, working with legendary producer Jacknife Lee and why they imagine a touring future that’s a bit more restrained...
You’re coming back after a year long-break and four years after your last album Beacon, was the time off all planned?
“It wasn’t really planned, it would have been nicer if it was planned, it wasn’t a year off, it was a year of not really knowing what was going to happen, not knowing when we were coming back or if we were coming back. We’d burnt ourselves out at the end of the last campaign and we’d made ourselves mentally and physically ill, we wound up cancelling shows, we had to take a step back and realise there are more important things in life than momentum.”
When did you reunite for the first time?
“Spring time last year. At that point Alex was living in Portland and we hadn’t seen each other for a long time, I’m in London and Kevin is between London and LA. We didn’t go straight into making music, we needed to get to know each other again. By the end of the last tour we were all head down trying to get through everything so we needed to get reacquainted. It was nice to have more stuff to talk about too.”
You’ve come back with quite a different sound, were you all united in the idea that you wanted to do something different?
“It wasn’t as conscious as that. We’d all had a lot of distance from the band and we weren’t trying to make a Two Door Cinema Club album, we’d been away from it for so long. I feel like there’s a lost album in terms of our musical progression, if things had been going well and we’d gone back into the studio in 2014 we might well have made an album that bridged the gap between Beacon and this one, we’ve skipped ahead.”
You worked on the album with Jacknife Lee, what did he give you as a producer?
“It was important to work with someone we trusted. The band was in quite a fragile state and he brings a calm approach, he’s a lot of fun and creates a great environment for us.”
He’s worked with lots of big names, R.E.M, Snow Patrol and more, were you able to pick his brains much?
“Not really. He starts again with every artist, he hasn’t got a set process, he caters to you and I think we take that on board, not sticking to formulas, we didn’t want to do the same thing with this record and he helped with that. This record has a lot more rocking the boat.”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
“This record is a lot more outward looking, Alex’s words do feel very different this time.”
Where did the title come from? Was it with you the whole time you were recording?
“We never find titles easy and it came quite late. We could all relate to Gameshow and how being in a band can feel like being on a Gameshow. People want a lot more from you now, whether that’s answering stupid questions in interviews or dressing a certain way, it’s like being in a Gameshow to further your career.”
After burning out last time will you take touring a bit easier this time?
“Definitely. It’s tough, we want to get back to loads of places and it’s tough to get the schedule right. We’ve just done a two-week tour and then we’ve got a couple of weeks off and then we’re back on tour for three weeks. I think before we’d have just jumped on the bus for five weeks and by the end we’d be ready to be rid of each other. We need to work on how we look after ourselves and each other, not go as crazy on the booze, eat better, being a bit more grown-up.”
Finally you must be looking forward to those big UK shows next year?
“It’s a shame it’s so far away, but we’re trying to fit everywhere in. We were a bit afraid that no one would come after being away, people move on quickly nowadays and we worried everyone had moved on. We’ve been very humbled by how well the tour has sold and we can’t wait to see everybody.”