AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Kevin Baird of Two Door Cinema Club (Bangor)

Irish trio Two Door Cinema Club have cemented themselves as favourites on the Australian scene ever since they made their first journey out to this side of the globe back in 2010. Since then, the band has gone on countless tours of Europe, the USA and Asia with their smash debut record Tourist History and now, with their sophomore album, Beacon. Before the head back to Australia next month for Field Day, both the Falls and Southbound festivals, as well as a few highly-anticipated headline shows, bass player Kevin Baird chats with me about what's been up in the Club since we last saw them.

Thanks so much for having a chat, Kev! I saw somewhere you guys just performed on Later With…Jools Holland, so I’m assuming you’re back in the UK?

Yes, we performed last night, so we’re here for today and tomorrow – we leave tomorrow night.

How has it been to be back from the States? It seems like the band has made quite a dent in that scene this year.

It’s nice to be back, you know? For a long time, we were kind of…not bored, but it was familiar to be in London and it was familiar to be touring through the UK and a lot of the European cities. America was exciting. We were there for a long time, you know, we were there for pretty much two months so I think we were really excited. You know, we’re Irish; it’s weird not to have a winter, so we were really excited to come back and put a big coat and scarf on!

Small luxuries! The rise of Two Door Cinema Club since what, 2010 has been insane – sell out headline tours, festivals, TV appearances in both the UK and the US now; that first show in Adelaide seems so small now in comparison to some of the stages you’ve played since! Has it all kind of blended into one big ball of shows?

In some ways it’s all a bit of a blur... It’s all very crazy; I remember when we first came to Australia, it was around August or the end of July 2010, I think we’d probably only starting touring for a year before that. We’d done festivals a year before the first record came out. It’s been crazy for the three years we were out.

It’s nuts to think about the sheer amount of touring you managed to fit in off the back of Tourist History alone.

I mean, it’s something that we were conscious of; we didn’t want to be one of those bands who was big in one place and nowhere else. We wanted to go everywhere… so we were very conscious of booking and going to Paris as often as we’d go to London. At first we counted out Sydney or Adelaide or Melbourne because they were so far away! [Laughs] You know, it’ll be nice though [to come back], it’ll be our third time in Australia.

Definitely; the hype surrounding Two Cinema Club has been mad since you guys were first announced to be returning at the end of the year. You guys are no strangers to us, yet it feels like so much longer in between visits though you were only out here for the Laneway Festival last year. How does it feel to know you’re going to be spending NY in an Australian summer?

It’s very exciting; I think all of us cannot wait to get back to Australia. Like you say, it feels like it was forever ago that we did Laneway! I don’t know what it is; people just seem to have the best time when we come to Australia because everyone is really nice to us and it’s very easy to have fun in Australia! [Laughs] It feels really intensive, like, we only have a week or two weeks before we’re gone again for another year, so we try to make the most of it. We’re all very excited.

I know you all like to party and if I’m right in remembering, each time you’ve been over this way, you’ve all done it up right after a show; will you have much time off for letting off steam?

Well, we don’t really have the same luxury as we did! When we played Laneway, we were playing in the middle of the day so we didn’t have things like sound checks. We could stay up all night and rock out with the festival and play in the day at like one o’clock! I think people are expecting much more of a better show this time with us headlining so you know, we’ll be playing in the middle of the night and we’ll be at sound checks and things. I definitely think there will be some time for a little bit of partying…all of that stuff never stopped us before!

That’s for sure. Tying it all back to your hectic schedule and where Beacon fell amongst it all; considering how much the band had been on the road, how did you all manage to sit down and decide, ‘Fuck it, we’re taking ourselves off the road to concentrate on writing for a new album’?

We were kind of at that point where we were going, ‘Seriously? That record came out nearly a year and a half ago, we really need to start writing’! It was really tough. We had this plan before we made the record, before we put the record out, what the campaign was going to be; we had a very positive scenario and then a negative scenario where nobody bought the record. But! People bought it, so that was good and we’re still touring! [Laughs] We almost stopped a couple of months after we came to Australia the first time because it wasn’t really happening for us in the UK and it definitely wasn’t happening in America; suddenly it kicked off in the UK and then it added another six months to the touring schedule and then halfway through that, the same thing happened in America, so that added like, another year to the touring schedule. Sometimes it’s really hard to see those things but we kind of decided in September 2011, on the last tour we were doing of the States, we were like, ‘Afterwards, we’re not doing anything else until we get the record’.

We were writing in October and then we agreed to do some shows in America in December and then we agreed to do a headline of the UK in February and then we went to South Africa in March… [Laughs] I mean, we never really stopped touring; I think it was good for us, we got that little break and we also didn’t ever fall away and out of anyone’s mind, you know? For all those people who follow us on Facebook or Twitter, we were saying that ‘we’re still playing’…it was like we never really went away.

The band's live shows are pretty full on. There seems to be more of a varied sound in mind with the material on Beacon – did this come from thinking of how you wanted to interpret the songs in a specific way, live?

I think it was more about playing songs live, less on Beacon than it was on the first album. I don’t know, I think it was almost like a rebellion from playing live; I think we toured so much and it was almost like taking that breath. We were like, ‘Oh okay…'. I think that’s why it’s a bit more laidback in places; for the first one, everything was frantic, whether it was the music or our schedule you know, for the past two years. I think that’s why we tried to relax a little bit and we couldn’t help but write some songs which were a bit slower.

For sure. Before the album was released, had you incorporated much of the new material into your live shows as a way of seeing which songs would resonate better with the crowds?

We played about three songs which made it on the record. I think they were the first three songs we’d written and we had no time off! We somehow managed to bash out three songs and it was a case of we’d have a week off after we’d been on tour for two months, and it was like, ‘What do I do?’ – we had all the gear, so we’d get a song. We’d be shipping home all our ideas for Christmas when we’d take time off to spend with family and friends and we’d come home for those six days that we’d have off and spend them all writing songs! But yes, it was the first three songs we wrote – “Handshake”, “Sleep Alone” and “Shadow”.

Well I mean, clearly, the new stuff’s been going down really well with crowds all over, whether at your own headline shows or festivals, so congrats on that! I feel deprived of my annual hit of Two Door Cinema Club, so I’m excited to see how it all goes once you all get back here.

Thank you! We’re all so excited too. It’s really strange for us because the record came out here and then we played it live, so we’re used to it live now. We forget that there are loads of places we haven’t been yet with this record so we don’t really know what it’s going to be like. It’s exciting!

I’m sure it’ll be as good as it’s been every other time the band’s been out here. That’s all I had for you Kev, thanks so much for the chat. Like I say, people are very excited to see the Two Door Cinema Club shows through December and January. I’ll catch you down in Lorne for the Falls Festival!

Fantastic!

Have a good one; I’ll see you at the end of the year!

Alright, that’s great! Thanks a lot.

Two Door Cinema Club will be appearing at the following festivals:

Falls Festival - Lorne AND Marion Bay - www.fallsfestival.com.au
Field Day 2013 - Sydney - www.fielddaynyd.com.au
Southbound Festival 2013 - Perth - www.southboundfestival.com.au

Two Door Cinema Club will also be headlining shows in QLD, NSW and VIC. Visit www.twodoorcinemaclub.com for more details.