Kevin Baird on Two Door Cinema Club’s new LP Gameshow, current influences & more

On the eve of the release of their highly anticipated third record Gameshow, Kevin Baird of Two Door Cinema Club jumped onto Skype to chat to Aidan Hogg about playing Reading Festival, the band’s influences and how they took a different approach for their new album.

There’s been a shift in your sound between [2012 album] Beacon and the new album Gameshow; was the [2014 EP] Changing of the Seasons intentionally a bridge between these two releases? 

I wouldn’t say we approached it in that manner when we were writing Changing of the Seasons; it was, definitely in our heads, a bridge in the way we wanted to release that out there in the world while we took some time off, but I don’t know if musically, we really wanted it to be a bridge musically. It kinda just was where we were at, at the time, and the new record is kinda where we’re at at the moment. So… I guess it was a bridge.

But there wasn’t a big plan for it there at the time?

Oh no!

What’s your writing style generally like within the band? Do you write together or individual people bring in ideas?

It kinda changes from song to song, but this time was quite different to what we’ve done before, just because we were spending a lot of time apart, and in different parts of the world; we all kind of needed a bit of space and a bit of time off. A lot of songs were a lot more formed by the people and presented to each other over email, then we would take them, each of us, and work on bits on our own personal laptops, and then put them back together. This time we did a lot more in the studio than I think we’ve ever done before, which was cool. It was just quite a different experience than what we’d done the previous two times, but yeah it worked out! 

How did the recording process for this one go down? A big stint in one studio or split up across a longer period? 

Just one studio, we’ve been working with a producer called Jacknife Lee, who did the last record as well. Alex [Trimble, vocals] had actually written quite a few of the songs with Jacknife before we’d got there, and then we kinda went into the studio with him and spent only six weeks finishing the writing and recording. It’s great, he’s a really amazing producer and a good friend, so we really wanted to work with him again. 

You mentioned working again with producer Jacknife Lee on the new record, what does he bring to your sound? Or does he just capture whatever sound you guys are making?

I think it’s a bit of a mix of both, he doesn’t have a signature sound, you know, you don’t go to him for “the Jacknife Lee sound”, but I think, like you said, he’s really good at capturing what we’re after; he’s also really good at putting through new ideas and pushing you and challenging you to write and come up with interesting sounds. He’s definitely a bit of a wizard when it comes to creating these crazy sounds, so he definitely was at the forefront of that experimentation of the record. 

The first three singles from Gameshow have moved away from the synthetic drum machine sound into more roomy, live sound. Was this a change you felt you needed to make for these new songs?

I think the kind of rawness of the new record kinda just happened. Instrumentation-wise, writing it probably would’ve leaned more on those traditional drum machines we would’ve used before, but just when we were in the studio making it, we were aware that we didn’t have very much time, we only had around four to six weeks.

We were still trying to finish writing some of the songs, so we just kinda ended up having to make decisions and stick with them. I think we really enjoyed that lack of timed decisions, you just had to run with it. We really just kept it pretty raw and ran with whatever worked at the time. I think that’s why it sounds a bit more rough and ready. 

So compared to the last records, this one was a lot less deliberate in the production?

I would say that in the past we’ve had a lot more time to get a better idea of the specifics of what we wanted to do, song by song, when we got to the studio. Whether that was a lot more time with the pre-production, or just when we were writing the song, if we’d really established a firm idea of where we wanted to instrumentation to be or the style of the drums, or the guitars, or whatever. This time around, we were a lot more fluid with the process and a lot more just, easy going when we got there, and just allowed it to happen. 

What would you say was an influence on Gameshow, musically or otherwise? 

Especially vocally, Alex was listening to a lot of Prince. Prince was a big one in terms of style of singing. Another big influence, I guess, was just our experience of touring a lot; really enjoying that and some of the time not enjoying that, and then our experience of just needing to take a break from the band and each other.

I think that was probably the biggest influence on the record, it would be partly reflective and then partly where we’re at now, and where we’re trying to go. I think there were some issues and some things in the songs that needed to be addressed, and then we wanted to move forward into the nigh. 

What’s some new music that you’ve been listening to a lot recently?

Let me think; we all have pretty different musical tastes. I’ve been listening to a lot of Fatima Yamaha, I’ve been listening to a lot of Gallant… and Drake, always. 

You’ve been playing some insane festivals recently, how do you find playing something like Reading or Leeds compares to playing a headline show?

I think it always depends, Reading was a really really good show for us, and a good slot, and it’s a great festival. If you compare that to, you know, the best ever headline show we’re gonna play, it’s quite hard to decide which one’s better. But then, there’s a lot of other festivals we do where we don’t really enjoy. But Reading was different [to normal festivals] because we headlined that stage and we felt we could do a bit more what we wanted in terms of production.

Headline shows are all about us, so you’re in your own selfish, egotistical ways with something like that, but at the same time, festivals are awesome because you get to play infront of these huge crowds of people that maybe don’t like your band enough to buy a ticket to a headline show, so it’s nice for them. 

Depending on how many festivals we’ve done recently will probably make me change my decision on what you’re asking!

You’ve got a huge touring schedule ahead of you, do you guys generally write on the road?

It’s not something we’ve ever done really before, we kind of enjoy taking a break, stopping, then getting into the flow of something else when we’re writing. But I think this time around it’s something which we have talked about, which we would like to try to do. Whether or not we’ll be able to do it is another thing, but, definitely we’re going to try. We’re definitely talking about doing another record pretty soon after this one, we don’t want to take another break.

So getting into the next record as soon as possible is on the cards?

Yeah, that’s the plan! We’re just gonna see where we end up over the next year. Because when we’re off touring we’re having time off, we’re all in different cities these days and arranging time to meet up, everyone is like “Oh I’ve got my aunties… birthday party that day, and I’ve got my blah blah blah”, so we all like to have our time off and do what we want and do our own thing. Scheduling time is always feels like work, so we’re going to try and while we’re in the same room together, or on the tour bus or whatever, nail out at least a few ideas.

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Two Door Cinema Club’s new album Gameshow is out now through Warner Music Australia.

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