- Photography by Mr Jermaine Francis
- Styling by Mr Tony Cook, Junior Fashion Editor, MR PORTER
- Words by Mr Tom M Ford, Features Writer, MR PORTER
There aren't many British bands that can rival our sales and shows globally," says lead singer Mr Alex Trimble, in the bowels of London's Brixton Academy. "It says something about the accessibility of our music," adds bassist Mr Kevin Baird. "We do well everywhere, so we go everywhere." With a tireless tour schedule - covering everywhere from Mexico City to Moscow - catching up with this platinum-selling pop outfit hours before a sell-out show seemed appropriate.
School friends from Northern Ireland, Two Door Cinema Club signed to Mr Gildas Loaëc's Kitsuné label in 2009. As an electronic-led group they were inspired by the energy of Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand, and played European club nights with acts including Justice and Soulwax.
Released in 2010 and mixed by Mr Philippe Zdar - who has worked with the likes of Phoenix and Chromeo - debut album Tourist History slowly seeped into the mainstream, with earworms such as "This is the Life" featuring on TV and films. The journey from electro-indie band to more commercial pop outfit has been a welcome one, despite the inevitable backlash. "The more people buying your music means the more people won't like it," says Mr Baird. "We just ignore that. The more it sells and the bigger the shows, the better for us. We don't care if we're not cool!"
With last September's follow-up LP Beacon hitting No.2 in the UK and No.4 in Australia, the band are sticking to the uplifting electro-pop that made them popular. And with chart-friendly singles such as latest "Next Year", a warm welcome is guaranteed wherever they place their mic stands.
What are your songs about?
Mr Trimble: The songs are about anything that is relevant in our lives. On the first record there was a lot of naivety and excitement. We were young and we were about to embark on god knows what. The second record focuses on the reality of relationships with family and friends. It's a great life but you have to make a lot of sacrifices.
Have you consciously made accessible music?
Mr Trimble: It wasn't calculated. We had a good relationship with fans from an early point when we were doing clubs in Paris and Minneapolis. One thing we always loved was playing music that made people dance, so we let ourselves be carried into dance/pop music. Before, we were trying too hard to be different. Now we do really well in places such as America, Australia, Japan, Asia, Europe and Russia.
Do you enjoy being more mainstream?
Mr Baird: For one person, mainstream means lack of credibility, but for another it means success. And it's the same with the word "pop". We don't really think about it.
Mr Trimble: I think mainstream is positive, but also dangerous. You're under pressure to follow it up with a hit record. Our job is just to make music. We've built up interest from the world as a whole. It's our way of adapting to the music industry. We're not millionaires, but it helps us continue, and it feels amazing to spread the word.
Based on this year's BBC Sound Poll - which you were on in 2010 - is guitar music having a resurgence?
Mr Trimble: People are picking up on bands that are back to basics - music as it should be, perhaps. Giving bands such as Peace and Savages attention is great. Kids growing up now won't have grown up on some of the guitar music we might have - the likes of The Strokes and Nirvana are before their time - so it's good to expose them to that. It's good to have a band you feel a connection with.
How does your reception differ in various countries?
Mr Trimble: We've slipped into a more mainstream market in the UK as we're on the likes of Radio 1. But in Australia, we're only on alternative stations like Triple J. We're perceived as an underground band there and in the US. It's nice that we can be a successful pop band and go somewhere else and be a respected indie band.
How have you maintained consistent attention?
Mr Sam Halliday (guitarist): I think sometimes people know the music, but don't make the connection. That's down to having tracks play on TV and Radio 1. Our fan base is a bit younger, so they use the internet more. The first record didn't achieve mainstream success until a year after it was released. I think because people weren't told to like it they just shared it.
"Sleep Alone" Music Video
What do you guys get up to on tour?
Mr Baird: We always liked a drink, but not so much any more. Touring the first album, everything's new and exciting, but it gradually feels as if you're on the brink of destruction. It's like a whirlwind. As you get older being hung over all the time is an issue. You either calm down or you die.
How was working with French producer Mr Philippe Zdar?
Mr Trimble: We knew of Philippe through French connections in Kitsuné and through Phoenix. He's a genius - it's amazing to watch him work. He sits at his desk chain-smoking and doesn't talk. He's so precise.
Mr Baird: We didn't understand each other a lot of the time - France and Belfast don't necessarily mix - so it was interesting to let him get it from the music
What's your relationship with Kitsuné founder Mr Gildas Loaëc?
Mr Halliday: We knew about his output and he's a really passionate, funny guy, who was into the music. We never had an intention of signing a deal, just a single and doing the club nights, but it went that way.
His brand fuses style and music - do you care about that?
Mr Halliday: We weren't bothered at the beginning as we didn't have any money, but we're into it now. Kitsuné gives us some lovely clothes and it hooks us up with stylists. Luckily we love its clothes, so it works.
Two Door Cinema Club play Alexandra Palace in London on 27 April. See more tour dates here