Two Door Cinema Club: Illiteracy Gets You Everywhere

Bassist Kevin Baird takes us on a short tour.

Illiteracy rarely gets you far but sometimes one little misreading can become the words on everybody’s lips. Alex Trimble, Kevin Baird and Sam Halliday create catchy melodic electro-pop under the name Two Door Cinema Club, all thanks to guitarist Halliday. It all started back in their hometown of Bangor, Co Down; while searching for an appropriate moniker he was inspired by the local cinema The Tudor Cinema Club and in a case of mistaken pronunciation, the hooky, synth-laden Two Door Cinema Club was born. Barely a day over three, this Irish baby has come a long way, currently sitting comfortably on the BBC Sound of 2010 list. Armed with three guitars, a jaunty keyboard and a laptop which doubles as a drum kit, this rhythmic trio seem to be coping just fine without a drummer. Teaming up with French producer extraordinaire Phillip Zdar (also one half of Cassius) they’ve finally readied debut album, ‘Tourist History’, for our listening pleasure. Bassist Kevin Baird takes us on a short tour through the ‘two doors’ that opened our eyes to three Irish lads who forewent futures in Maths, History and Geography in a move that introduced the world to their sound.

Am I right in saying Myspace was a key playing in getting the band known?
Back in Northern Ireland we stuck some of our song up on Myspace and we weren’t massively protective about people downloading our music, which I think a lot of people liked. We just figured that people were more likely to listen to our songs if they were able to download them and listen to them on their iPods. From that we started getting gigs in Belfast and [across] Northern Ireland.

What was your first gig like?
Our first gig was a complete shambles. We still use a laptop for a lot of our drums and we just assumed the song guy would know how to hook it all up but he didn’t. So we were a bit naive in that sense.

How did you guys get involved with the Kitsune brands?
We’d talked to a lot of labels but we hadn’t found anyone that we really loved. Kitsune were actually one of the last labels to approach us; a French promoter checked us out on Myspace and then spoke to the guys at Kitsune and then from there we set up a meeting in London.

Are you based in London now?
We are constantly on tour but when were not we’re mostly in London.

You gave up uni once the band took off. What were you going to be if you hadn’t become a musician?
I was going to study History. Sam was going to do Maths and Geography and Alex was going to do Sound Production.

Sound production seems to be the most relevant of the four subjects. You guys started playing music together when you were 15 years old. Is that not what you saw yourself doing, anyway?
Back home it’s kinda unheard of to skip university unless you’re going on a gap year plus we wanted to keep our parents happy. But when the band got its kick start we all gave up our spots at uni. We looked up to a lot of bands in the Belfast music scene and were practising in Sam’s garage and kinda knew what we wanted from an early stage.

What does Two Door Cinema Club mean?
There’s this little cinema close to where we lived called the Tudor Cinema Club and when we were trying to think of band names Sam came up with the idea of calling it Two Door Cinema simply because he couldn’t pronounce Tudor properly. (Laughs). He literally thought it was pronounced Two Door.

So as a direct result of his illiteracy your name was born.
Exactly.

You covered Phoenix’s song Lasso. How did that eventuate?
In Europe we go through the same label that Phoenix are one so they gave us the option of doing a remix or cover and we decided to do a cover. I think we’re the only song on that extra Wolfgang Amadeus CD that’s a cover. It was a complete honour to do.

How long did you have to do it?
We were in the middle of recording our album and had no time but we knew we couldn’t turn it down. We spent a whole Saturday recording it and then the next day mixing it.

You were also on BBC’s Sound of 2010 longlist did that have a real impact on the expansion of your fanbase?
We have a London show on 18 March which is our first gig in London after the album and a week after the BBC list came out that particular show sold out.

Being signed to a Parisian label have you guys managed to pick up any French?
At the minute it’s just shit pigeon French. We’ve picked up a few swear words I guess; the stuff you don’t learn at school.

We heard the other day that he [Phillipe Zdar] said for the first day or so he had no idea what we were saying because of our strong accents. He seriously couldn’t understand anything we said. I’d be like ‘Hey Phillipe, how’s it goin?’and he’d be like ‘what’? And i was like ‘are you good’? And he’d be like ‘what’? It would go on like that for a while. (Laughs) But he’s an amazing guy.

Perhaps the ‘thumbs up’ ‘thumbs down’ method may be more appropriate.
Yeah we might have to adopt that next time. (Laughs)