Two Door Cinema Club: “We don’t want people to kneel at the altar of our genius, we want to entertain them”

Aprilia Rine

Two Door Cinema Club: “We don’t want people to kneel at the altar of our genius, we want to entertain them”

Two Door Cinema Club have spoken to NME about returning to their roots on new standalone single ‘Happy Customers’, feeling like the album format is “outdated”, playing Reading & Leeds for the seventh time and their newly announced North American tour.

‘Happy Customers’ follows on from Two Door Cinema Club’s 2023 single ‘Sure Enough’ and sees the band “return to their roots”, according to bassist Kevin Baird.

“It feels like we’ve done the hyper-produced hi-fi stuff [on 2016’s ‘Gameshow’, 2019’s ‘False Alarm’ and 2022’s ‘Keep On Smiling’]. This was just about doing something more simple,” he explained.

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“The things that are exciting us at the moment are big riffs with high-tempo electronic elements. Apparently that’s cool again, the ol’ indie sleaze, but this happened quite naturally. It’s not like we’ve been binning tracks if they don’t sound like 2010 Two Door Cinema Club.”

He added: “’Happy Customers’ is still very different to what we would have been doing 17 years ago. The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and contrast the happy-go-lucky nature of the music, which is very much a part of the modern Two Door Cinema Club DNA.”

Guitarist Sam Halliday continued: “When you tour as much as we do, you’re always thinking about how the songs will sound live. Sometimes you just know a track will never make it into the live set, but I can definitely see us playing ‘Happy Customers’ live.”

However neither tracks are a taster of an upcoming album. “At the minute, we’re just seeing what happens,” explained Halliday. “We’ve just been sharing ideas between the three of us and then recording whatever feels the most exciting. That’s how we started the band, but within a few years, we were spending two months straight recording an album, after spending six months talking about it.

He added: “It’s very freeing being able to release singles like this. Your new songs are always your favourite, so it’s good to let people hear them as soon as possible.”

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Baird said how the band were “at a point in our career now where we don’t really have to do anything we don’t want to do”.

“It’s not that we’ve fallen out of love with making albums, but waiting for an entire record to be finished before sharing what you’ve been working on feels very dated,” he admitted. “We have lots of other songs that will probably form a larger body of work, we’re traditionalists in that sense, but there’s no pressure to get an album finished by a certain point in time.”

The band are hoping to release “a lot” more music this year, according to Halliday, and are currently “trading more ideas between us now than we have at any point over the past 10 years”.

“We’ve got a little treat coming down the pipeline for ‘Happy Customers’,” he added, “but we can’t talk about that just yet.”

Two Door Cinema Club spoke to NME one week into their headline tour of North America – while confirming another string of dates for July, September and October, in between a number of summer festival appearances.

“It doesn’t feel like we’ve been able to tour over here properly in recent years, so it’s about satisfying both us and our fans,” said Baird. “I’ll be honest though, we were surprised by the positive reaction when we announced the first leg.

“These are some of the biggest shows we’ve ever played in the US, but we’re pretty comfortable playing to thousands of fans. We all want Two Door to be as big as it can be, but that doesn’t mean we’re trying to write a record that’ll win a Grammy or put us in arenas. That’s never really been in our nature.”

The band believe one of the reasons why their music is connecting and still finding new audiences today is because of how joyous it is.

“We’ve always had moments where we touch on more serious topics, but for the most part, Two Door Cinema Club is about high-energy music that puts a smile on your face,” said Baird. “The genesis of the band was to create something that was intentionally playful and focused on the sunny side of things.

“I hope people come to our shows and forget about the harder or more difficult things that are going on in their lives,” he continued. “We want to make a space where people are free to jump around and have a dance, because that’s always felt like the most fun thing for us to do as well.”

So, what’s the vibe of a Two Door Cinema Club show in 2024?

“It’s non-stop. It’s relentless. It’s like a bullet train,” said Halliday before Baird continued: “We don’t want people to come and kneel at the altar of our genius, we want to entertain them. We’re five albums into our career now, so we can make a very thoughtful, considered setlist that makes people feel like they’ve had their heads blown clean off.“

As well as their huge US tour, Two Door Cinema Club will also be returning to Reading & Leeds Festivals for the seventh time this August, after first appearing in 2010. They’ll be playing before Blink-182 and Fred Again…, with the likes of Liam Gallagher, Lana Del Rey, Gerry Cinnamon and Catfish & The Bottlemen also headlining the bank holiday bash.

“Guitar bands haven’t always been the trendiest thing to put on the bill, but we’ve always felt welcome at Reading & Leeds,” said Baird. “It’s sad, but over the past few years it doesn’t feel like there have been many new guitar bands breaking through. Catfish are probably the most recent ones to do it, and even they’re not that new [with their debut album ‘The Balcony’ being released in 2016].”

“It does feel like that’s changing though,” Baird continued. “It’s nice that guitar riffs feel like a cool thing again.”

“I guess that makes us cool,” added Halliday. Speaking about why Two Door have always had a place at Reading & Leeds, he explained: “I think it’s because we’re a nice crossover between something that’s very accessible, and something a little more rock & roll. We’re a nice bridge into the world of guitar music.

“Plus, playing fast guitars to a bunch of teenagers always feels exciting.”

Pointing to Reading & Leeds’ history of “offering teenagers this rite of passage”, Baird said that Two Door “always felt like a current band” for the new audiences and “never felt like a nostalgic thing”.

“When we first formed, we were looking up to bands like Bloc Party and Foals but by the time we released [2010’s debut album] ‘Tourist History’, it didn’t really feel like we were part of a scene,” he continued.

“It gave us a bit of a chip on our shoulder and we felt like outsiders, but we just focused on doing our own thing. We also knew that we couldn’t recapture the magic of breakout songs like ‘Uncover Martin’ and ‘What You Know’, so we’ve always chased doing something new. I hope people don’t just see us as that band from 2010.”

The mood in camp Two Door right now is comfortable and confident as they focus on doing things that just feel exciting. “In terms of having something to prove, the answer is no,” said Baird.

“When we wrote ‘Tourist History’, we didn’t really know what we were supposed to be doing and no one was ever meant to hear it beyond our friends and whoever turned up at our gigs at Belfast pubs,” he ADDED. “Once you have some success though and a wider audience is listening, that’s when the pressure comes in.

“It feels like that pressure has gone again now though, and we can write songs with the same freedom we did back then.”

‘Happy Customers’ is out now via Lower Third. Two Door Cinema are on tour from now until October. Check out the dates below and find tickets here.

Two Door Cinema Club play:

MARCH
4 – Majestic Theatre, Detroit
5 – KEMBA Live, Columbus
7 – Riviera Theatre, Chicago
8 – First Avenue, Minneapolis

MAY
17 – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, San Diego,
18 – Just Like Heaven Festival, Pasadena
19 – Fox Theater, Oakland
21 – Crystal Ballroom, Portland
22 – Paramount Theatre, Seattle
24 – The Union, Salt Lake City
25 – The Mission Ballroom, Denver
27 – Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa
28 – Southside Ballroom, Dallas
29 – White Oak Music Hall, Houston
30 – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater, Austin

JULY
13 – Coca-Cola Roxy, Atlanta
16 – FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, Miami
17 – Daily’s Place, Jacksonville
19 – Rabbit Rabbit, Asheville
20 – Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh
23 – The Rooftop at Pier 17, New York
26 – Stone Pony Summer Stage, Asbury Park
27 – Pier Six Pavilion, Baltimore
28 – Leader Bank Pavilion, Boston
29 – Artpark Amphitheater, Lewiston
31 – Coca-Cola Coliseum, Toronto

AUGUST
15 – CHSQ, Belfast
16 – Galway Summer Sessions, Carnmore East
23 – Reading Festival, Reading
25 – Leeds Festival, Leeds

SEPTEMBER
13 – The Orpheum, Vancouver
14 – WAMU Theater, Seattle
15 – Hayden Homes Amphitheater, Bend
17 – The Masonic, San Francisco
21 – Gallagher Square at Petco Park, San Diego
24 – Arizona Financial Theatre, Phoenix
25 – The Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center, El Paso
26 – Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, Austin
28 – Starlight Theatre, Kansas City
29 – The Fillmore Minneapolis presented by Affinity Plus, Minneapolis
30 – The Sylvee, Madison

OCTOBER
2 – Everwise Amphitheater at White River State Park, Indianapolis
3 – Marathon Music Works, Nashville

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