Django Django

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Django Django


“Not really,” says Neff when asked if the band had a vision of what exactly they wanted the album to be beforehand. “I moved down to London about seven years ago. About a year and a half later, I heard Dave was moving down. I’d kind of lost touch with him. We’d kind of planned to do something together in Edinburgh, but we never really got around to it. We were just too busy in the pub. It’s very easy to fall into the pub culture in Scotland. We met up and we talked about what we were into. I had a bunch of songs and he’d grown tired of doing that straight dance stuff. I’d grown tired of just having these songs sit there. We just said, ‘Well, let’s give this a crack.’”

Reached on the phone from his London home, digging into a plate of vegetarian spaghetti Bolognese at the behest of his vegetarian girlfriend, Neff can certainly be proud of the result of those four years. Django Django is a remarkably self-assured debut which defies standard classification. It would be easy to call it “quirk-pop,” but that wouldn’t do justice to the record’s density of sonic textures.

Yet four years is a long time to stay committed to one project. Neff admits that while there were challenges in creating Django Django, taking their time ended up being the best option.

“It was around February 2010 when Dave and I went full tilt on the album. So up until that point it was still very sporadic in terms of the way we recorded. We’d work on one song over a few weeks, do a bit of gigging, so we weren’t very focused. We were also trying to get the live thing going and we also built our own studio a few times over; we kept getting moved from place to place. We were in construction while we were constructing the album,” he chuckles.

While Neff cracks wise throughout our interview, it wouldn’t be fair to lump Django Django into the indie-slacker genre. Neff and drummer MacLean still adhere to the mentality they adopted at art school in Edinburgh: take what you can get and work well with it.

“Going to art school you learn quite early on that no one’s going to give you a bunch of money to make a nice, luxurious product,” says Neff.

“You’ve got to make do with what you’ve got. And art students don’t have a lot of money. We tried to achieve what we could with the means that we had. We never really thought about making demos and working with a certain producer. We just thought, ‘Here’s the songs, let’s just do them as well as we can.’ That was very much about coming from an art institution, learning to adapt and create with what you’ve got. In terms of the songs themselves, there are layers of complexity to them. What might start as something simple would require something added to it. What may appear as something very superficial at first, we were convinced there was something underneath it. Dave came from a more Fine Arts background and in terms of how he works and how he arranges things, it’s very spatial. He colour coats things; a lot of people have told me the album is very colourful. A lot of texture and colour. That’s the strength of it, I think.”

Django Django may indeed be a strong record, but for the four-piece, the hard work begins now. After a wash of critical praise from major media outlets, they’re set to bring the record on the road. Any pressure that the band is feeling to live up to the hype has taken a back seat to simply being excited about the opportunity to share the fruit of their labour with their fans.

“It’s obviously different from November, when we went on a relatively quiet tour. And this one, finishing the LP, and then a ton of the shows are already sold out. We find ourselves in a very different position from where we were a few months ago. We’ve done our work in terms of playing lots of small gigs over the years. We’ve dissected the gigs and now I think we’re coming into our own. We starting to get it; we’re starting to really enjoy it.”

“Yet they’re still very small clubs,” continues Neff. “Sold out, sure, but still only 150, 200 people. It hasn’t really freaked us out much. We’re enjoying it and we’re happy to have people know our songs and perhaps react when we play certain songs. It makes us more excited.”