A Mercury Music Prize nomination. A critically acclaimed album. Scene stealing festival dates. It’s been a pretty good year for David Maclean and his band, Django Django; it doesn’t even seem obligatory to reference The Beta Band every time we write about them (even though, we know, we just did). The Scottish art school quartet have taken 2012 by storm with their self titled debut, and even if it did feel like a long time coming, it was definitely, definitely, worth the wait.
So David, it’s been a pretty fine year, yes?
It’s not finished yet, I guess, but up ‘til now it’s been pretty incredible! We’ve not had time to bask in any of the success yet, because it’s just hard work all the time. But hard work means you’re doing something right.
And you didn’t win the Mercury, but did you at least get to have a Mercurial sized hangover?
Ha, we got quite drunk… it was a good night, yeah.
It must have seemed a bit of a world away from recording your album; it was a proper ‘bedroom record’ wasn’t it?
Yeah! All of it, we recorded it in a little bedroom in a flat in Dalston. It was fun, but it wasn’t easy. I don’t think we thought about it too much at all, we just decided we were going to make an album and got on with it. It didn’t seem unusual to us that it was recorded in a bedroom, it just seemed like, it was there, so that’s where we congregated and recorded.
I guess it felt like a long time in the making to some of us, since you first appeared on the scene back in 2009, right?
Yeah… we just didn’t think about it. I think the thing was, we weren’t a band, even though people thought we were when they first heard of us, we were just a few guys that happened to have a Myspace with a few songs on it, and I think people thought, “well, here’s a new band”. But in fact we were bluffing it a bit, because we only had a couple of songs and they hadn’t been mixed or mastered or anything. I think we hadn’t thought about whether we wanted to get a full band together, or what we wanted to do. But I think we were intending to just get a Myspace page running, and then we took it step by step, we got a couple more songs together… it happened quite naturally for us. But I think because people saw it from day one, literally, they saw every step of the way.
Do you think that the internet has changed how people perceive bands, and their gestation, a bit, then?
Whereas I guess before Myspace, bands sent demos to record labels, and you’d never ever know about them until a record label decided the public should know. They’d keep the demos private, and they’d be mixed, and all sorts of decisions would be made before you were unleashed on to the general public. So we did everything backwards, and we did it as we felt like doing it, but it meant that people saw the whole nuts and bolts of it. Which I think was good, in fact, I think it was a good thing, because we were never a product of a record label. We were just making music, we had zero budget to make it, and we were doing it off our own backs for our own enjoyment. And we didn’t feel any pressure to do it any other way.
If you’ve been enjoying making music, are you itching to get on with album number two, or do we have to wait another three years?
We’ve been thinking about it, it’s just deciding… looking in the diary and seeing when we can start making it. I guess I’m starting to think about ways of recording it, what direction it could go in, the very first things you need to think about. We’re all totally eager. Because as you say, some of these songs have been around for three years, so it’s time for us to have new music. And we desperately want to move on. But we understand that you’ve got to promote an album and see it through, we also needed to become a good live band. Which we’re still trying to do; so there’s other things we need to do. But personally, I feel most at home in a studio, so I can’t wait to get back in and start playing around, really.
And stepping back into the Producer’s chair?
Yeah, I guess our sensibility has come more from the way dance music’s made than pop or rock or anything like that. Growing up, listening to techno and hip hop or whatever, to me it was more likely or not made in a bedroom somewhere, so that was a natural path for us to go down, really. I don’t do the kind of production that happens in a snazzy studio that you spend a lot of money on. It’s just kind of making stuff up as you go along and playing around and seeing what’s possible. So the production process is as much part of the music making as playing the guitar; it all comes hand in hand. We don’t demo a song and go re-record it, it’s all done as a one-er. It’s a weird way of working, but it’s just the way that we like to do it, really.
Django Django’s self-titled album is 18 on DIY’s Albums Of 2012. Find out more about it here.