In 2014, Two Door Cinema Club were due to headline Latitude festival, but suddenly pulled out two days before the big performance. “I had all sorts going on with my insides, stomach ulcers and nasty stuff I won’t go into,” says frontman Alex Trimble on a break from shooting the video for new single ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’. After that cancellation, the County Down trio disappeared, only re-emerging earlier this year with news of a new album and a handful of secret shows as Tudor Cinema Club. NME caught up with them on set to get the lowdown on their time away and what to expect from their return.
You had to take a pretty unplanned break when you cancelled your Latitude headline set three years ago. What have you been doing in that time?
Alex Trimble: “That was a wake up call that we’d just been hitting it way too hard on the road. So at that point we decided not to book anymore shows until we felt ready to do it. We took some time to ourselves, took some time apart, kind of got on with our lives. We learned to live our lives again, which you have to do when you’ve been on tour for five years solid. Once we came to actually making music it came together pretty quickly. From scratch to finishing the record, it was done within seven or eight months really. But after that time to clear our heads and live life a little bit differently, there was a lot of stuff to feed off floating around so there was definitely no shortage of inspiration when it came to making music.”
What sort of thing did you do when you were relearning how to live?
Kevin Baird: “I moved into a new house so I decorated that a bit.”
Sam Halliday: “Lots of DIY and learning how to cook and looking after yourself. Pretty much just enjoying doing normal stuff like hanging out with friends and being able to commit to playing football once a week, and all that sort of stuff that people just do without thinking.”
Alex: “I still made music. I didn’t necessarily write songs, but it was kind of an explorative phase. I take pictures as well and I paint. So that was a good outlet to have. It was the first time being able to create where it wasn’t specifically destined for the band. That in some ways by the end had become a bit of a restriction because anything that we came up with would be designated a release date. I moved house as well, but I didn’t really do it up. I built a studio in it.”
Did you use that studio while working on this album then?
Alex: “I’ve since moved out of that house, but yes. I now live in a smaller place and I’ve got a little bedroom studio that I’ve been using for demoing. But I also worked with Jacknife Lee on demos. I’d go out for week here and a week there. Also I used the space of LA to write in, which was really nice. I would write and demo and come back with a couple more songs.”
Was having that change of scenery and chance to get away something that reinvigorated you creatively?
Alex: “Absolutely. Jacknife’s place that he has up in Topanga is so conducive to creation really. You’re really high up so the air’s quite thing, but it’s so clear and so fresh and obviously there’s sunshine all day, everyday. Because it’s so clean and so clear and so fresh, it brings you that state of mind when you’re there. That grants a really unique kind of freedom.”
‘Are We Ready?’ is about consumerism. What are you saying in the song?
Sam: “It’s very much rebelling against all that. The lyrics play on that and hating how the world is going in terms of commercialism and how people are addicted to social media and living on their phones.
Kevin: “We just offer all critiques, no solutions. That’s our way of life.”
What are the other themes on this album then?
Alex: “A blanket topic that covers a lot of songs on the record is just me trying to understand the world today, which sounds kind of silly, but I’ve felt very out of place for the past few years. I don’t really understand the internet and I’m kind of at odds with my generation.”
And musically, what was influencing you when you were writing it?
Kevin: “I think the influences batted around were mostly Prince, Bowie, Miguel and Kanye West. All the greats. It’s not like we suddenly sound like them though.”