Two Door Cinema Club Interview, Talks ‘Changing of the Seasons’, Performing live, Collab with Madeon and Pineapples [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

two door cienma club

A few days before Halloween, we headed up to the Ogden Theater to sit down with one of the hottest bands in music, Two Door Cinema Club. Armed with a sheet of questions, our iPhone and a huge toothy grin, we sat down with bassist Kevin Baird and covered as much as we could in twenty minutes. Check out what he had to say about Halloween in the States, Guinness and working with Madeon.

TMN: Hey guys, welcome back to Colorado! Your guys’ first visit here was at the Bluebird, on Halloween night. I believe you guys said on stage that this was your first Halloween in America, correct? Now that you’re back here in the states again for Halloween, do you have costumes planned?

I think it would have been. Yes, that was a bit of an experience. We do not quite do Halloween the same way in Ireland so much, but it was fun.

We are in the process of working out [costumes] because we are playing in San Diego on Halloween night, so I think we are going to have to dress up. We are trying to brainstorm ideas, even though we have no idea what we are going to be. Should be a good surprise.

Photgraphy by Jen "videoqueen" TMN: Speaking of that show, you guys were on your first headlining tour and played for a pretty small crowd. What was it like to return to Denver to a sold out show here at the Ogden?

It’s great! Denver, especially. It’s not exactly the same as New York or Los Angeles, where you have this big influence of European music. Other places can carry through – if you do a big show in London you can probably do a sizable show in New York, but maybe not in Denver or Texas. Thinking that is when you start to feel like you are actually doing something real, and it’s not just based on hipsters in the biggest cities. I think to come back, after not having much radio or whatever, and do Ogden, is great because it’s the only parameter that we have that more people are finding us and coming to the shows, buying the tickets.

Music sales and streams is all a bit warped because it’s really hard to analyze what’s really going on from that. Shows are the only real parameter that you have for it.

TMN: Alright, let’s talk about the early days. Alex, you and Sam met in Grammar school and then after a few other projects you guys created Two Door Cinema Club. What was the very first song you guys wrote together?

We wrote three songs in like a week. One of them is “Undercover Martin,” which we still play today, and the other two got phased out quite quickly as they weren’t very good. I think one was called “Secret Circus,” and it was very rubbish.

TMN: The chemistry between the three of you is undeniable, it shows in your music and live performances. We want to know what you think is the one thing that makes you guys get along so well, and what advice you can give for upcoming bands of three or more members.

After suddenly being thrust on tour, and people buying our records and wanting to come see us play, it kind of spiraled out of control from that point. It got to the point where we were doing two records with no break in between, and any downtime we had we were supposed to be writing. We were all living in the same house together, so we pretty much spent every day together for about 4 years, which is really unhealthy. More recently we have found to have space as much as you can. You will always spend 99% of the time with people, but I think communication is very important. It is so easy to assume someone thinks something a certain way due to your warped view from their reaction and comments they have made, and that turns into problems and suspicion and things like that. It is important to talk about things and not be such man about it…not be afraid say you think a certain way.


TMN: It’s kind of funny, because the early days weren’t that long ago. In four short years you guys have gone from Kitsune compilations to one of the most iconic bands out there. You have to have a few moments that have made you step back and say “Holy shit! I can’t believe that just happened!” Name one of them for us.

It’s tough because at each point in the kind of cycle there was always that “moment”, and then the next time there was that “moment” again, so we are still are having these “moments”. In 2010, our first record had been out for about six months or so, we weren’t really doing very much. It wasn’t going very well and we were kind of talking about wrapping things up…just going to write another record straight away.

Especially in the UK, and even more so in the US, people weren’t talking about us and we were playing very weak shows. The radio wasn’t playing any of our music, magazines weren’t really writing about and blogs weren’t talking about it. We kind of decided that maybe we were going to stop, but then it got to a point where we got a show that in one week we sold out the venue in London.
We kept upping the size of the room because we couldn’t believe people actually wanting to come see it. In the same week we got our first ever play on Radio 1 and had magazine features in NME. But, this is the kind of thing that most bands had before they ever played a gig. Whereas, at that time, we ended up selling out two nights, which came out to about 2,500 – 3,000 people without anyone telling someone else to like it. I think at that moment we all just thought, “fuck this is crazy”, and it kind of went from there. That was the first week of September 2010.

TMN: The most recent release, “Changing of the Seasons EP” just came out not too long ago. The title track of it being your tune with the youngster Madeon. What was it like working with him?

It was cool. We wrote the song and we were re-recording our second record in L.A. and he was in town with mutual publishing companies. We have been big fans, and we ended up going for lunch one day. At this point we hadn’t even finished writing “Changing of the Seasons”. We just said if we had something we would like to do something together, and he also liked what we were doing. To be honest, we didn’t have the time and energy to go back in the studio and finish it ourselves. We had come from a real grueling two months, straight off the road, straight into recording and then going back touring again. So, it was like we were all a bit exhausted at that point. We kind of wrote the song and sent it to him, and he came back with some polished off production. It really snowballed from there. We felt very quickly that it should have be released as it’s own right. It originally was written to be a b-side, and we quickly realized that was silly.

TMN: Talk to us about the lyrics. Were they born out of a personal experience?

I can’t really talk about it, Alex wrote the lyrics.

TMN: I kind of figured as much, but I didn’t know if he had shared with you guys.

Yeah, I mean, obviously he tells us about some things that we talk together. Over the years we have kind of learned that its not always a good idea to have people know everything.

It’s kind of nice sometimes to have a bit of mystery. I think even Alex wouldn’t talk to much about meanings anymore. We like the idea of maybe people having it wrong and then hearing these stories of what people think it is about.

TMN: It also helps let people interpret it as they want, and not have an association of what they think it is.

Theres a lot of people that think some beautiful songs are just so lovely, and then finding out that the lyrics are actually about their dogs or something [laughs]. It’s nice to have a bit of mystery.

changingTMN: Crystal has a very different feel by comparison. It’s a much slower and dramatic track, with vocals that remind me a little bit of Imogen Heap. Talk to us about what your approach was going into making this track.

After we had done that, (Changing of The Seasons) we were on the road touring Beacon and we suddenly realized we wanted to do this EP, but we didn’t have enough songs to do it. We didn’t have time to go off the road and write because it was over the summer during all the festival season. At the time, Alex had moved to the states and he was in the transition of that, and Sam and I were kind of living in London still so we decided as an experiment – a fun exercise that we would write songs for this EP not being together. It was just for fun to see and take some of the pressure off, as we didn’t care too much about those tracks. We just thought “Fuck it, let’s just experiment for a change”. Alex wrote Crystal, so I can’t talk too much about that, and Sam and I wrote the other track Golden Veins. We just kind of wrote it and it’s not in any way a real pointer for anything to come in any way. It was just a piece of music and a bit of fun at the time

TMN: Alright, you guys have played at some really great venues and festivals, including Coachella last Spring. Do you have any that stand out above the rest?

Festival? Glastonbury is hard to beat in terms of just sheer size, music and atmosphere. There are a lot of shit festivals out there, and we have had the unfortunate experience in playing at. Coachella is always a stand out as well because it is not really like any other festival. People are not like in Europe, with big coats and water boots, covered in mud, taking drugs and going crazy. Whereas Coachella is a bit more polished; everyone is like “what am I gonna wear today?” It’s a bit odd, but it’s fun, from our experience. Everything is really taken care of, and at the same time people can get messed up and have a good time.

TMN: Speaking of your live shows, you guys are one of the most polished bands I’ve ever seen live, keeping in mind that I do this for a living. Was being an amazing live show something that you guys started from the very beginning, or did you start to stress it more as you gained popularity?

When we started the band that was our number one priority. We played in a band together before. This is when we were 15 or 16 and pretending we were old enough to go to bars. We’d sneak into the back door to play a gig, almost getting kicked out.

The natural thing to do is you write these songs and say “this is great,” and now I really want to play these [live] now. Then, all being well, people are going to like it, and people will be going to see you more and more, which really cuts into writing time. Since it really snowballed from there, being asked to play and headlining at a club in Belfast with only having 20 minutes of material, we all decided that for Two Door Cinema Club we would wait until we had 45 of solid material. Stuff that we thought was killer, and we know how to play live perfectly and practice until you don’t get it wrong, ever. That was just the ethos from the very beginning. We would practice every day. Also, at the time we were in the final years of school and there were big exams. All of us knew at that point knew weren’t going to go to a University. We just wanted to be in a band, so all we did was just practice and write songs constantly. I guess it has gotten to that point where we never practice, we just play shows all the time. It’s good and fun, and it’s just natural to be up there and play.


TMN: You guys are in the middle of a pretty big tour, covering a lot of major US cities. In your travels over here to the states, have you guys developed any favorite cities or spots to play in?

Definitely, it is funny and weird for us because it’s been a bit bad. A lot of decisions of favorite venues is based on the actual gig – how crazy the crowd goes, how nice the room is, or whatever, and it can be ruined from the silliest trivial thing that has nothing to do with the venue or crowd. It just happens and it instantly makes it forgettable, which is really sad. We spend a lot of time in the venue during the day, so the gig could be absolutely amazing tonight here, but I wont think I love Denver because down here is a bit grim, you know? [laughs] So, the best place to play in the world, definitely in the US is this venue in Oakland, California called Fox Theater. The area is terrible, absolutely awful. Oakland is not a nice place, but everyone in the venue is so nice to you. There’s good food, nice dressing rooms, good gigs, good people…so it sticks out in our minds.

two-door-cinema-london-arenaTMN: We know that tour bus life can get kind of stressful. What do you guys do to keep the mood light when traveling from city to city? Is there a band prankster out of the bunch?

We have all become different people. I think when you are starting out in a band, and it’s just the three of you in a van, you become the same person because it’s just the three traveling around. Now that we have so many people involved, we kind of just let everyone do whatever they want. See, you gotta have certain set of rules. Like rule number 1 is – do what you want, but will also stay involved. What I like to do is spend as little time in the buss as possible, where other people much rather just chill out there. I much rather go do something. Some people are better at other things than others. One member of the band is particularly messy and just leaves his shit everywhere [laugh]. There is usually 12 [in the bus], it’s the size of a small house, so you obviously have to clean up after yourself. You know, your mom’s not there anymore, which some people forget. So, some people make toast and butter some bread, then they eat the toast and leave everything dirty and knives with butter everywhere [laughs] I just like to get drunk, come to the bus and fall asleep, then come back to the venue. Just spend as little as time as possible in the bus.

TMN: One thing we’re always curious about is whether you guys have current artists that you’re listening to that influence the music you write. Is there anyone in particular on that list we should know about?

Definitely. I think it’s something that gets to the point where we don’t even talk about it anymore. I feel like when we started the band it was always like, “I really like this song. I really think we should do something like this and that.” I guess that’s how you are in the beginnings as songwriters. However, we have conversations about what we like, but we don’t sit down and say “I really like this element here I think we should do something like that”. We have tried that, and it was really bad. There is definitely some influence of the new music that we love, and we are a lot more open minded about what we listen to.

TMN: Alright, well we’re going to move into some random questions to get to know you a little better. You can answer individually, or come up with a group answer.

TMN: What is the one thing you miss from Ireland when you’re touring is…

Good cup of tea. It’s something I really really really wish America was great at. I hardly ever drink water at home, just sit there and drink tea all day. That and I just bought a real vintage bar for my house, so I miss that at the moment

Also Guinness I really miss Guinness!

TMN: we have it here, is it not the same?

No. It’s not the same, even in London it’s not the same. Its only good in Ireland.

pineapplerecipesWhat was your first job before you guys became professional musicians?

I used to work in a summer school for kids with cerebral palsy. It was an easy job, they were very good kids. Sam and I used to work together. I’ve also had terrible jobs, I used to also work at a sports shop but I only lasted two days. Also Sam and I used to work at a temp agency who just sent us to really shit jobs no one wanted to do, like hand out flyers to people whose water was getting shut of and stuff. That was a real shitty job. [laughs]

TMN: Name three things that are always in your fridge, no matter what.

Milk, Tea, and I always seem to buy pineapple…like these little tubs of pineapple. I like them, but I’m not massively into it. You know, I never plan that I’m going to buy pineapple, I just go there and get it because i might want that later, and then I never eat it. So yea, milk, pineapple and bacon!

TMN: What’s your post show beverage of choice?

Just like a good refreshing pint. In America, its crazy because you have so many amazing craft beers that it’s incredible! Better than in the UK for that, but they are so much harder to find. They have to be really popular for you to go into a bar and not just get a Miller or Bud, shit beer basically.

TMN: You need to drink in Denver tonight!

Yes! Colorado has so many craft beers and breweries. I had Left Hand Milk Stout and was really into that.

TMN: If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?

I’d like to die from eating…something really decadent but really tasty. I don’t know, KFC, or something like that.

TMN: Alright, last one. If your music were an animal, what would it be?

Meer cat!