INTERVIEW: DJANGO DJANGO
DJANGO DJANGO SURPRISED THEMSELVES AND EVERYONE ELSE WHEN THEIR HOME RECORDED, SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM BECAME A MERCURY-NOMINATED HIT IN 2012. NOW THREE YEARS ON, THE LONDON VIA SCOTTISH QUARTET ARE ROCKETING BACK INTO ORBIT WITH THEIR SECOND ALBUM, BORN UNDER SATURN. SIXTYNINE DEGREES’ MARIE WOOD CAUGHT UP WITH THEM.
Written for the first time by all four members of the band and recorded in a proper studio, Born Under Saturn is an album tha t has Django Django taking the lo-fi electro stomp of their debut and propelling it into a bigger, more exciting stratosphere.
We sat down on a bright summer’s morning to talk to super friendly bassist, Jim Dickson about how the album is a rebirth for the band, who they’d love to see headline this summer’s festivals and what it’s like to play near a live volcano.
You released your second album, Born Under Saturn, in May. What’s it been like for you since the album came out?
It’s been great playing festivals and doing these shows again; you kind of forget what it’s like to play live. I’m looking forward to the summer, it’ll be great.
Your self-titled debut album was a surprise hit and Mercury nominated. Did you feel pressure when you went into the studio?
I don’t think as a band we felt that much pressure when we were making the record. We blocked any expectations out and put ourselves under pressure to write as good an album as we could.
How did you feel before it was released?
You spend a year with an album and you think it’s good and then two weeks before it comes out you think, ‘is it absolute total shite?!’ It’s the not knowing and you just have to trust yourself .
This album was recorded in Angelic Studio, Bambury whereas your debut was recorded in a bedroom studio. How do you think being in a real studio helped you? Was there anything you missed about home recording?
When you go into these huge studios we thought there’s a trick to recording, but we realised going up to Angelic that the process is the same it’s just that the mikes are better. We took a lot of recording back to our own studio in London and almost went back to the same process that we went through on the first album.
A lot of the lyrics on the record reference rebirth and starting again. How are you different now as a band compared to when you released your debut?
This album feels more confident and self-assured. It wasn’t really until we sat down with the lyrics towards the end of the album that we started seeing common threads of starting again or rebirth creeping in and it made sense. At the start we had ideas kicking around, but we cleared them out and started again as we were really keen to write new music after touring the last album for two years.
You wrote ‘Beginning to Fade’ while contemplating writer’s block. How did it help writing the song? What’s it about?
A lot of the time we start off with a theme or a story from a film or a book and try to base lyrics around a particular narrative. ‘Beginning To Fade’ I demoed at home and I was trying to think of a theme to base the song around and I was getting distracted by the girl who was living above me at the time; she’s a Buddhist and she was doing these chants and it was really distracting. I was just going mad, so I ended up writing about the things that were stopping me from writing lyrics.
Last summer you collaborated with awardwinning sound artist Haroon Mirza at Stromboli Arts Festival at the foot of the island’s volcano. How did that collaboration come about? What was it like?
The whole point of being in a band is collaborating and sharing ideas, so whenever we get a chance to do that we always do it. Haroon was curating a festival in Stromboli and he just invited us over. It was a pretty amazing place, we were by Mediterranean sea on this island with this impending volcano erupting all the time.
“THE WHOLE REASON WE MAKE MUSIC IS SO THAT PEOPLE FEEL HAPPY”
Earlier this year a Smaart car advert featured a song that sounded almost identical to ‘Default’.What was your reaction at the time? Would you allow your music to be synced on ads?
It’s gutting, it’s infuriating and it’s totally horrible. It’s something that’s happened to us a lot and is happening to a lot of other bands. You have advertising agencies that can try and get songs for a lot of money and potentially get turned down or they can pay someone else to rip if off for a couple of thousand pounds. It’s horrible as you work so hard to realise ideas and then an advert will come along and just take them.
If they’d approached you and asked to use the track, would you have let them?
Probably not. We turn down 90% of the stuff we get sent through. ..it’s a bit of a turn-off seeing a band you’ve discovered plastered over every advert on TV.
You’re playing Latitude, End Of the Road and Reading Festival this summer. Who would be your dream festival headliner to see?
We played in this place called Calvi and we saw The Whitest Boy Alive play and they were totally amazing and one of the best bands I’ve seen live. They’ve got this amazing balance between it sounding like a bandand sounding like a rave.
You’re back on the road in the UK in December. What do you want people to get out of seeing you live?
The whole reason we make music is so that people feel happy when they go away from it. You can write about the state of British politics or the state of your town or the state of your country, but everybody knows the state that it’s in. You can either write about that or transcend it. For an hour when people come tosee us live they can go away with a smile and forget about the things that keep them down.
Born Under Saturn – out now