Interview: Two Door Cinema Club

Two Door Cinema Club talk touring, mother’s pride and dinner with Emily Mullen 

This year has been a mammoth one for Two Door Cinema Club, from circumventing the world on tour, to watching their new album Beacon rise to the number one album spot at home and abroad. If nothing else, it’s clear this threesome from Bangor, County Down have been very busy boys.

Catching up with them in the middle of their Pan-American tour, with a dodgy phone line and what seems like a never ending stream of police sirens blaring in the background may be part and parcel of perils of interviewing world-renowned musicians, yet Two Door Cinema Club shy away from any notions of grandeur: “We are trying to prove that we are cool. We’re just like everybody else!”

This was certainly clear during the patchy conversation. The boys’ humbleness is painfully evident throughout. For them success is making their mothers proud. They even find themselves hoping that their crew don’t think that they’re becoming divas because of their fame, something that can’t be said for every band today.

Indeed fame is something that has not had any overbearing effects upon the boys, perhaps due to their crew keeping them in check, although the band attribute this to not paying any attention to media hype: “We are sort of in our own little world on tour, people are like ‘uh, you’s are skighting around the place’ but no, we are just on our bus. We do a show and then we move on. We were in New York, doing promos the first week we were here, and we didn’t stick around to see our promo work in the physical form, you know see ourselves in magazines or watch the television shows or anything like that, we just do the stuff and move on.”

If keeping busy distracts a band from the allure of fame, then Two Door Cinema Club are set to stay grounded for a long time. The band’s touring schedule is gruelling to say the least; days off have become few and far between for the threesome. Yet, while it may be non-stop, the thrill of touring has yet to fade: “We still find it exciting,” explains Sam Halliday, the band’s guitarist. “The schedule is pretty crazy, we’re here for about six weeks, and we’ve done just over three now. So we are starting to get on each other’s nerves and things and there’s not too many days off, so yeah we are looking forward to our next day off, which is in Vancouver.”

This constant touring has given the band an unusual day to day routine, with simple tasks like sitting down at a table for dinner, or doing the washing, holding a certain reverence with them: “We’ve got to do things like that, go back to basics to sit down have a simple meal together as a band, to keep things normal.”

The effects of touring have impacted on a lot more than the band’s routines. Constantly on the road and in tight quarters with one another for weeks on end have played a roll in their music and relationships with each other. “The writing this time around was different, with the first record it was a case of we’d written songs over a few years and we picked the best ones and put them on a record and with this one we hadn’t really written a lot in the two years we’d been touring and we were in our own little touring world.

“We only had three songs and we had to lock ourselves away in a house together and write for a few months. So I think it was more not really the album revealed I think it was more about how we all appreciate how much you miss people and how travelling can be tough sometimes but at the end of the day, we get to this, so it balances it out. It was just a sort of learning experience on how to deal with each other. Like we spend every day together and then we came off tour and we decided to live together, write together every day while attempting to not kill each other!”

Despite the strain that touring exerts on both their relationships and their album production, the touring before Beacon certainly helped the band formulate ideas: “I think it was good that the tour went on for so long, because it gave us so much to write about and because we had starved ourselves of that creative process for so long, it just crystallised our ideas and helped us to understand what we wanted Beacon to be.”

Touring for Two Door Cinema Clubs seems to be a necessary element of the writing process, using the tumult and conflict that it creates as musical ammunition. Whereas most write of love and heartbreak, these guys draw on what they know, and what they have experienced over their months on the road.

There is something very poignant about their new album, with another dimension being added to their otherwise standardised indie-rock sound. They have worked hard for what they are now enjoying, and though the only difference success makes to them is a bigger bus and not having to have “McDonalds three times a day.” Let’s just hope that they continue to avert their eyes from magazine articles and turn the television off when they see themselves.

Two Door Cinema Club play the O2 Arena, Dublin on January 19th. Their latest album, Beacon, is out now.