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Detroit Social Club Interview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Floatation Suite   
19 08 2010
ImageHaving supported established bands such as Razorlight, Oasis and Primal Scream over the past few years, North East rockers Detroit Social Club are now quite a big deal themselves. On the back of their debut album Existence, the band have played some of the best festivals in the country this summer including Glastonbury, T In The Park and V, and Detroit Social Club are heading home to support The Futureheads at Split Festival 2010. Floatation Suite caught up with lead Dave Burn to find out what's going on with the band and what we can look forward to at Split Festival this year.

FS: So, how's it going? You've had a busy summer of festivals!

David Burn (DB):
Yes indeed we have had a really busy summer! It's been non-stop, festival after festival after festival, doing all the big ones like Glastonbury, T in the Park and Isle of Wight, where we played the main stage, which was amazing, and we've managed to do a bit of travelling as well. We've done Amsterdam, Ibiza Rocks and just come back from Japan and Germany. So yeah, it's been amazing and it's half of what being in a band's all about I suppose.

FS:
Now you've seen backstage of how all the festivals work, which ones do you think is the best organised?

DB:
I would have to say Glastonbury and Isle of Wight as everything was just bang on and I think it's because they've been running for so long. We turned up at Glastonbury and everything [we needed] was there, it was spot on. Japan as well, we asked for a '59 reissue [guitar] and they turned up with the original '59. They were almost too organised and too helpful because we didn't have the same loop of flex so we were f**cked for the gig but it's because they were too good! But Isle of Wight was bang on but that's because if you play the main stage they have to be. There was a couple of ropey ones which weren't as well organised as I thought they were going to be, but we won't go in to that!

FS: We heard you had a high speed blow-out in Japan?

DB:
Well I was sound asleep but there was literally this little one lane bridge and [the driver] was hurtling over it at about 80kph and one of the tyres blew out and just scraped on the floor as we careered towards the edge. The bus stopped two inches from the barrier of the bridge! Dale [Knight] said it was the worst feeling he ever had in his life and he actually thought he was going to die. I woke up and the door was open on the side of the bus and I was like, "Ha'way man, the airconditioning, shut the door!" and just went back to sleep. When I woke up later the lads said, "Aye, we just let you go back to sleep but we nearly died". Dodgy like.

FS: What was the maddest thing you saw out in Japan?

DB:
We saw about five different women pushing two dogs around in a pram with baby outfits on, which is just mental, and people were getting photos of them. But we didn't get to see that much, it was that hot. In Tokyo there's this place called Abbey Road which is a Japanese Beatles tribute bar, so we ended up there. It was quite a chilled weekend for us and we didn't see much or get up to much. On the Sunday, the one day we had off, I went back to the hotel because it was that hot and you literally couldn't do anything.

But it is a mental old place, just how excited everyone is about everything. We had this thing where they do album signings, like they do over here but it's a proper [massive] thing over there, and we were heading over to this tent where we were doing it and we were saying, "This is going to be a proper Spinal Tap moment, there's going to be nobody there" but there were 150 people standing in this que waiting for us and wanting photos and stuff. So it is proper, proper mental and you can see why all the British bands love going over there.

FS: You'll probably have some random Japanese girls turning up at your gigs from now on...

DB:
[Laughs] Yeah, it was pretty intense, just crazy and how motivated and ethusiastic and excited they are about everything, which is good, it's a refreshing change. It's almost too respectful a place, as a whole, it's got loads of respect for everything. I took my top off in Tokyo and the intrepreter ran straight up and said, "You must put your top back on!" Not because of my tattoos or anything but it's just disrespectful to have your top off.

FS: How's the new album being received? What's been the craic from people when you've played live?

DB:
I think from the album, Northern Man, which is our next single seems to be the one that people are talking about the most. That's quite good but there's also Sunshine People and Black and White, which came out before the album, Rivers [and Rainbows] and Prophecy. But it's been a mixed bag which is kind of what you want, you don't want everyone just [liking] one song. But aye, Northern Man and Chemistry are the two that kind of decided what we were going to do for the next singles.

FS: When you are writing songs now do you think subconsciously if something's been received so well, do I need to write the next Northern Man even before it's come out and stay ahead of the game?

DB:
Well now I've got about four or five songs written in adavance which I personally think are better than anything on the first album. I've gone the opposite way if anything because for the next album we're going in a totally different direction. I've deliberately tried not to write songs that are going to be big singles or anything like that. The stuff I'm listening to at the minute is not as commercial as maybe the stuff I was listening to when I was writing songs for this album. So it's kind of the opposite, which is weird. I want to make a musical album next and I'm not into writing song-songs, like on the first album. I don't know why that is but you've just got to go with your heart when you are writing.

FS: The rest of the band now seem to be trying to explore themselves by playing different instruments. What's the thinking behind that?

DB:
Well for the new album Welshy [David Welsh] won't be playing with us, so one of the reasons was that we all sat down and said we want to make a musical album and want to push ourselves. The first album, we never pushed ourselves at all and it was all a bit too easy and I think that comes out, and it's not as good as it could have been. For us, we're our biggest own critics, and we've seen parts where we think, "that could have been a lot better". What we are as a live band, how Bondy [Johnny Bond] is on guitar for example or how good Greeny [David Green] is on drums, I don't think you get that same sense of that on the album.

It's still a good album and we worked hard on it but you don't get that same sense of, "f**king hell that's amazing" or "his guitar work is amazing" or "his voice is amazing" or any of that. So we kind of sat down and said for the next album, let's go and do that, let that be the objective: that were aren't bothered about how many we sell or radio, we just want people to listen to it and go, "f**king hell who's that drummer, who's that guitarist?" To do that, it takes a lot of thinking. We can't just have a song and play a bit of rhythm behind it or play a little bit of lead or a riff, it needs a lot more than that. It takes a lot of time and a lot of consciousness to to do that. You have to push yourself and part of that is getting on different instruments. Greeny is now learning how to program drums properly and all of that you know? It's kind of about us just pushing ourselves and using the band as a vehicle to really test ourselves. I know some songs on the album have got a bit lazy and some of them could have had better choruses or a better line and I'm looking at that now and you've got to use the lessons that you've learnt the first time going into your second one.

It's great because we've all got in and are writing on tunes that I've wrote and we're knocking ideas all about to get it more than just about me this time. I think everyone's enjoying it a lot more, and of course things with Welshy, we haven't fallen out, we're still good mates, and he's kind of realised that he's happier settling down with his lass with the pressure off and getting a job. We didn't want to do that, we're stepping it up and spending even more time on this and not getting any sleep and really, really pushing ourselves. Welshy admitted that he wasn't up for doing that really, you've got to decide what you want to do, and luckily the rest of the band are really putting the graft in now.

FS: In terms of the Split Festival, are you looking forward to playing Sunderland? With Newcastle being nearby, you don't get that many opportunites to play here.

DB:
The last one we played was at the turn of the year, so it was quite a while ago. The first time in Sunderland was about 10 people there and the last one was just about sold out. We're looking foward to getting back over to Sunderland, and as people know I'm a Sunderland fan through interviews in A Love Supreme, so we've got quite a fanbase there. It's nice that we can got to them rather than always expecting them to come through Newcastle. It's nothing to do with us but it always seems our booking agent picks Newcastle rather than Sunderland, so it's good that it's changing round a bit.

The reason why we were so eager to get involved is that it's long overdue for Sunderland to have something like this. Obviously Newcastle has the Evolution festival and gig going on every night, so it's nice that the other side of the water is getting some attention.

FS: You've got a tour coming up in October, are you going to be writing after that or touring again?

DB:
We're definitely writing. The last gig we are doing is the V Festival between now and the tour so we've got six weeks of writing. I'm really looking forward to getting in the studio as that's a part of it I really enjoy, the writing. So we're going to get back in the studio and do as much writing as possible for six weeks and having fun with it again. We're touring in October and really going to see where Northern Man takes us, as it's a proper single with a proper video and we're going to push it on radio but you don't know which way it's going to go. It could carry on the same trajectory, or it could explode, or it could give us that bit of a kick start, so really it all depends on that to be honest. Once you get to the point we are, with the album out, you're more reactive rather than proactive. The plan has been put into place, the tipping point if you like, and you can't do much else than what we've already done. It's really just fasten seatbelts and see where it goes. It would be great doing another tour in January or February but of the whole country because we're only doing seven dates on the October tour. But its just cross your fingers and see what happens.

FS: Cheers for your time, Dave. All the best for your tour.
DB:
No problem, cheers.
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