22nd January 2021
LGSM music sat down with UK art rock outfit Django Django over a zoom call this week, ahead of their release of upcoming album ‘Glowing In The Dark’ in February 2021. Live from their small studio in Tottenham, North London, David Maclean (Drums) and Vincent Neff (vocals and guitar) talk new directions, Charlotte Gainsbourg and the pain and joy of ‘Wonderful Christmastime’.
LGSM: Your last full length album ‘Marble Skies’ came out at the beginning of 2018, near on three years ago. This is a long time in the music industry, has the pandemic hindered the process of recording and releasing new music?
Vincent Neff: “I think it has affected us all differently, some people have worked really well, like David.
David Maclean: “The biggest thing is touring and festivals, missing out on them makes life so difficult for a band or any artist. Although the flip side of that is that we have got to spend lots more time in the studio.”
VN: “I heard through the grapevine that some festivals that were due to take place in May and June are planning on returning in September, which is good for everyone.”
LGSM: Have any positives come out of the pandemic? In your press release it was said that the album featured a running theme of escape, did lockdown play a role in inspiring this?
VN: “I think it’s always been there. We’re in the middle of an industrial estate in cold, grey Tottenham. When you’re in that kind of setting we naturally go to that kind of place.”
LGSM: The two lead singles ‘Spirals’ and ‘Glowing In The Dark’ indicate a clear new electronic and psychedelic direction for the band, who or what inspired this change?
DM: “Those two tracks really came out of our last tour and finding out what was missing from our live set. That’s how you approach it when you make music, you want songs that are crowd pleasers and this is especially true at festivals when you’re trying to win over crowds.”
LGSM: Do you ever have disagreements within the group over where to take your music?
VN: “It’s quite democratic. Over time we’ve realised if someone’s got a clear idea on where they want to take it and if it benefits the track we’re happy.”
LGSM: How about disagreements over music generally? Any bands or genres which one person likes and the others can’t stand?
DM: “I think I’m more into dance and techno than some of the others like Jim the bass player, and he’s more into experimental folk music than I listen to. And I guess that’s why our band is so weird and our songs are a bit of a mish mash.”
VN: “When it’s all put through all sorts of musicians it all marries together somehow and sounds like us in the end, even though it comes from different corners. It’s nice to have that chopping and changing, doing the same thing over and over- we’d get bored of it. It kind of works in the end.
LGSM: One of the highlights on the upcoming album is ‘Waking Up’ which features Charlotte Gainsbourg. What was it like to work with her?
VN: “We approached her quite a while before she confirmed, and the day after boxing day I took the Eurostar over to Paris from London and met her in the studio. We’ve admired her for a really long time, you know she’s French musical royalty. You go to the news stands and she’s on the covers of all the lifestyle and fashion magazines! There was no bombshell moments, we didn’t drop too many clangers…”
LGSM: If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
DM: “Tonnes of people. We’re all massive Beatles fans. Giorgio Moroder, Brian Wilson, all the oldies.”
LGSM: Is ‘Glowing In The Dark’ the most conceptual album you have made?
DM: “It’s maybe the most contained and rounded. Our second album ‘Born under Saturn’ was a bit all over the place, but with ‘Marble Skies’ and this we’ve tried to rein it in a bit more. I’d love to do some conceptual ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ thing at some point, but now we’re just focusing on reining our sound in.”
LGSM: What’s your favourite Christmas song?
DM: “That Paul McCartney one. It’s hard to like Christmas songs because they’re rammed down your throat.”
VN: “That one’s tainted for me. I got a Christmas job at a department store in my home town and it was on repeat every 20 minutes. That’s the music to do a mass shooting to.”
DM: “They’re all annoying.”
According to their press release, Glowing in the Dark ‘ has a running theme of escape: from despair, from constraints, from small town life, and even, in dreams, from the Earth’. One listen of the album grants you just this. From the folky simplicity of ‘The World Will Turn’ to the psychedelic chaos of ‘The Ark’, Glowing in the Dark will have you bopping around your kitchen one minute and lying on the floor staring at the ceiling in an existential crisis the next. It’s captivating, it’s otherworldly, and it’s a portal to, as promised, ‘escape’.
Django Django’s fourth full length album heralds an exciting new direction for the group. Thrilling, colourful and optimistic, Glowing in the Dark is the breath of fresh air we all need after 2020.
The catch? You’ve gotta wait till February to hear it.
By Scott Duke-Giles and Hannah Webber
Feature Image Credit: NME