Interview: Two Door Cinema Club
If you want to know just how much hard work goes into touring the festival circuit, look no further than Two Door Cinema Club. The Northern Irish trio have maintained a podium finish in every concert study we’ve ever published, and this time around proved no exception – pulling up into second place with over 40 festival appearances this year.
Although just pipped to the post in a cruel photo-finish by Kendrick Lamar (he was unfortunately a little busy calling out most of the population), we wanted to pay tribute to the long-time dedication that has seen Two Door Cinema Club flourish steadily into one of the UK’s biggest bands. Their festival schedule has taken them quite literally to the four corners of the globe, so in a ironic geographical twist, we grabbed lead guitarist Sam Halliday for a quick catch up in the exotic surroundings of Bethnal Green.
Do you have any idea of how many festivals you’ve played this year?
Sam Halliday: I dunno! Probably…30?
Not bad. We’ve actually got you down as playing 41!
Oh my goodness.
This puts you in our global top two! How does that make you feel?
Alright I guess!
Your primary competitor for top spot is Kendrick Lamar. Is he a worthy opponent?
Oh really? Yeah – well we’re big fans of the record. We’ve actually played a couple of festivals with him, so we can confirm that he has been doing festivals.
What could you definitely beat Kendrick at?
[long pause]. A swimming race maybe?
We’ll try and set it up. You also featured in our Hardest Working Bands of 2012. How important is hard work to Two Door Cinema Club?
Yeah, it’s up there. It’s definitely the most important thing about being in a band. For us, I think from the start we had to work that little bit harder, in terms of where we’re from. Being from the Belfast music scene, there’s not much in the way of an industry there. There’s bits and pieces – there’s a strong local scene – but to break into the proper UK music scene, you have to work that little bit harder than say, a band from London, or Manchester. Even just hiring a van can be a few hundred pounds – it’s a lot of money if you’re a small band. We just had to play so many shows in Belfast and save up, book the tour ourselves, and just go over and play lots of shows, in front of new people. We’ve always had that hard working, play lots of shows attitude. It’s definitely the best way to win over new fans.
Were there any moments when you felt like there was no way you could ever break into the UK, and were just going to give up?
I don’t think we ever felt like we were going to pack it in. We’ve been lucky that we’ve always had momentum, and we’ve always had fun doing what we do. Whenever we started touring, it was about the time that all our friends went off to university, so like the first year of touring for us was just staying in student halls, on people’s floors, which was kind of fun. You get to be part of that sort of scene. It was good for us, and then we were kind of lucky, we released a single, and then recorded the record – so we’ve always had that momentum to keep us going.
What are the downsides of touring so much?
I guess like just missing Ireland, certain relationships with people, missing my routine at home. But I mean, I like touring, and I like being on a bus with people. It’s the closest thing we have to a constant – being on a bus. I think festival season’s definitely toughest – so much flying and waiting around horrible horrible travel time schedules.
When was the last time you got ten hours sleep?
Last night I took some melatonin, and got ten hours. It was pretty awesome. We just got back from Chicago yesterday, so we’re all pretty jet lagged. We’re going to Japan tomorrow!
I guess you’ve played some other pretty amazing places this summer. What have been your best memories of this year’s festival circuit?
I think everybody would agree in saying the South American shows we did were pretty incredible. That was a really good time for us. We’re going to Japan tomorrow, which is always fun. I love being somewhere totally different.
What do you love/hate most about playing festival shows, as opposed to your normal ones?
I think festivals gives you a great chance to play to a bigger audience, or perhaps more importantly to an audience who only know a couple of songs, and wouldn’t go and see you in a venue otherwise – but for us it’s a really good opportunity to play to new fans. There’s a lot of press around festivals – it’s amazing the opportunities you get press wise to get the band out there. The worst thing’s got to be the pure logistics of it all. If all festivals were near an airport, we’d be fine! But there was one we did this summer where we’d come from Geneva back to Paris over night, for a flight to Oslo, and then drove six hours to this festival in Norway where people hiked during the day, and watched bands at night. We were told that in Oslo everyone showed up in shorts and t-shirts, and it turned out to be snow covered mountains. Then the next day we were back off to France – just a total logistical nightmare.
What’s the most ridiculous thing that’s happened to you guys on stage?
I fell off the drum riser! It’s normally just stuff that’s bad, going wrong. Nothing ever really funny…
If you could headline any festival in the future, what would it be?
Ooh. I guess Glastonbury’s the big one, isn’t it? You’ve got to be a pretty big band to do that. Glastonbury’s actually one of the festivals that we get to stick around at, it’s pretty cool that you get people coming from all over the world to go to it. It’s pretty iconic.
Footage of Two Door Cinema Club at Glastonbury this year
We don’t have an official trophy unfortunately – but what would you say the Hardest Working Festival Bands Trophy should look like if we did?
It would probably look like…somebody just sitting in a chair. Waiting.
We’ll see what we can do! Thanks for your time Sam.
To check out some of the band’s photos from their travels, head to their site. The band have just announced their biggest show to date at London’s 02 Arena, on December 13th, to coincide with a new three track EP. To check out some of the festivals Two Door Cinema Club have hit this summer, have a peek (or more like lengthy investigation) into their Songkick gigography.