Django Django - INTERVIEW
Aktualisiert: Feb 19
Die britische Band Django Django hat letzten Freitag ihr viertes Album “Glowing in the Dark” veröffentlicht. Ich habe mit dem Bassisten Jimmy Dixon darüber geredet wie es für die Band war in Zeiten von Corona ein Album aufzunehmen und was er heute machen würde, wenn es mit der Musik nicht geklappt hätte. Enjoy!
Hello Jim! How are you and how did you deal with the ongoing situation, the pandemic has caused over the last year?
Jim: Hey, I‘m good! The past year was pretty chaotic and kind of nerve racking for everyone. We had the album ready to go when the first lockdown came, so when the situation got worse and worse, we had to rethink a lot, like our release and tour dates. But we’re lucky, that we didn’t lost our jobs due to the situation. But it‘s really strange, usually when we bring an album out, we would go on tour for the next year and a half, but obviously that’s not happening. We definitely had to be more creative about how we put our record out and working out a way to play live.
And besides Covid, there‘s a lot going on in the world recently, how did that affect the songwriting for „Glowing in the Dark“?
Jim: I think massively! I mean, we‘re all really politically engaged and I think what’s been happening over the past three to four years, politically, with climate change and with national populism spreading through Europe, through America and the UK, can’t help but influence your record and your creative output.
It certainly affected what we were writing about. For me, doing anything creative is about making something from scratch, where there was nothing there before and building your own little world, that you can kind of have control over. And I think this record was even more escapist, it was more about us, trying to find a bit of breathing space, away from what was going on in the news. We were just trying to be positive and tried to make a record, that felt positive, although it was always going to be influenced what by was going on in the world. We wanted to try to keep a hold of the light at the end of the tunnel.
You already mentioned it: The record tells a story about breaking out and escaping. When was the last time you felt like you need to escape from something?
Jim: Well, like everyday (laughs). I guess the past year you really started to appreciate tiny little things, like being able to go to the cinema, or being able to have half an hour to yourself. I‘m just longing for simple things, being able to get in the car and go for a drive somewhere, or see family. But I guess it’s the same for everyone.
You guys are in a really lucky situation, for you can make a living out of the music, even in the current situation. But, what do you think you would do for a living, if „Django Django“ hadn’t worked out?
Jim: I have no idea, I went to lower school, which probably doesn’t put you in the best stats for a career. I just worked in cafés, clubs and pubs, I have absolutely no idea what I would’ve done. I‘m sure I would’ve figured something out, I’ve got family now, you know, as soon as you have a family, you realize that you can’t just have a part time job, or work in a pub or in a club. But right now I have actually no idea where I would be (laughs).
Glowing in the Dark is the first album you recorded, after the Band didn’t live in the same place anymore. How did that affect the recording process?
Jim: It affected it quite a lot, I live in Margate, which is about two hours away from London, Tom lives up on Scotland. We would meet up for four days every couple weeks and just be in the studio together for four days. Knowing that we had a limited amount of time together definitely influenced how we recorded. With previous records we always had a lot of time to just sit, work things out on tracks and spent a lot of time going into details. We didn’t have that luxury on this record, but I don’t think it’s a negative thing, it’s been a positive thing in terms of breathing a bit of fun into the record. For me there’s songs on the record, that don‘t feel a hundred percent polished, they feel a little rougher around the edges. But that’s a positive thing. One thing that we spoke about before we started making the record, was that we wanted to bring a lot more of a live element into the recording of the album. We figured out how to play a song, which we never really do, we worked out how to physically play a song, before we recorded it, I think that really helped. We had days were we would go into the studio and try to write a song a day, a lot of those songs made it onto the record. There‘s something quite liberating and something really nice about not getting bucked down in an idea, and just allowing it to exist as a sketch. That was probably the biggest shift on the recording of this record.
You already mentioned, that you had a one song a day policy in the studio, was this a strict rule or more likely a guideline?
Jim: It was just a guideline really, I think we just wanted to breathe a bit of life into how we work. We’ve tried to approach every record in a different way. It felt like we had a bit more confidence to be able to say, that it doesn’t matter if a song doesn’t necessarily feels a hundred percent finished. We had more confidence to say to ourselves “Let’s just try running with it”. I don’t think it was a strict rule or anything, but it just seemed to be working and it was nice seeing things come together quite quickly. It was nice to come up with an idea and then move on from it and leave it as it is, without overthinking it.
Especially the tracks “Spirals” and “Glowing in the Dark” sound rather different, than your past records. What inspired that change?
Jim: We literally wrote “Spirals” to sit in between two songs in our live set, it was the first time we’ve done that really. We kind of had a starting point, where we knew the type of thing that we needed and it almost worked back from there. We played it live a few times at the end of the last tour and that was a nice place to start. We already had that song when we started writing our fourth record, so it felt like a good opening track to the record. “Glowing in the Dark” is a track David once started in the studio by himself. He got that synth line and Vincent just started building vocals over it, so I think with this record it felt like David was more hands o n with the recording, because we were moving so quickly, that there was more opportunity for him to get involved in the writing side. Having him writing definitely changed things up a bit.
And do you feel like it’s hard to agree on things, like a change of sound, as a band of four?
Jim: I don’t think so, we can be pretty brutal with each of ours ideas sometimes. As much as that is difficult to swallow sometimes, it definitely is a healthy thing. You should learn not to be precious over ideas, because of that we’re a lot more individually and flexible when it comes to a song not sounding like you expected it to sound or a record taking a different route. There’s always songs on every record, that one or a couple of us don’t particularly like or would prefer not to be on the record. I think when you work collaboratively with people, that’s just part of the process. You accept that “Django Django” is a representation of four different ideas, coming together, I think that is the beauty of being in a band.
Speaking of songs you personally like or dislike on the new album, what is your personal favorite song on the new record?
Jim: There’s a few, “Got Me Worried” is one, that’s really nice. It literally came together in a couple of hours and it very little changed from the demo to the final version we put on the record. That was the first time we let a track exist as it is and that felt like a really nice turning point. But I also like “Hold Fast”, I really end up liking songs that I wasn’t actually that involved with (laughs). When you’re removed from it, you can appreciate it, there’s a bit of mystique around it, about how that song evolved (laughs).
Tommy once mentioned The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Monkees as your musical inspiration. Did these bands also influence “Glowing in the Dark” in some way?
Jim: I guess so, I mean, we’ve never sat down and put influences into our head before starting a record. But of course, we listen to so much music, that all these things end up influencing us. Bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Monkees are all bands, that we have a shared love of. Dave listens to a lot of dance music, Tommy listens to a lot of synth records and I listen to a lot of 60s/70s folk music, but we definitely share appreciation for the bands that you mentioned.
Do you plan on doing online promo for the upcoming album? Like livestreams and stuff like that?
Jim: It’s difficult to say, we had a couple of social distance shows planned for the album launch, but with this new lockdown, those are being delayed. I think in the moment we’re just concentrating on getting some acoustic versions of tracks out there, whilst the record is released. Once the record is out, we’ll probably turn our attention a bit more on how we can start playing songs live and whether we stream shows or whether we make little music videos. It’s important, if we do something like that, it has to feel like the right thing for us to do. It has to be a creative venture, rather than it’s just being us on stage and being filmed. We need to put some more thought into it, but we’re definitely desperate to start playing live again.
And what are your further plans for 2021? Do you already work on new music?
Jim: Yeah, we’ve probably got 20 tracks that need finishing, it depends on when we all can get back together again. We’ll try to get new music out before we will play live again. But we’ll just see what happen (laughs).
That was my last question actually, thank you so much for the interview Jim! Have a great day!
Jim: Thank you! You too!