Tourists No More - A Chat with Two Door Cinema Club's Sam Halliday

Just looking at Two Door Cinema Club‘s tour schedule is mind-boggling.  The threesome from Northern Ireland have been touring pretty much non-stop leading up to the release of their sophomore record, Beacon, and the dates following the release seem to be never-ending.  About two-thirds of their way into their fall tour of North America, the Co Down boys played two shows in Vancouver and hours before their second night in town, I sat down with guitarist, Sam Halliday, to chat all things Beacon and TDCC.

We’re sitting in a dressing room in the historic Vogue Theatre, where he and his bandmates, Alex Trimble and Kevin Baird, will be playing to a sold-out crowd later in the evening.  The room is a little on the bleak side with its walls painted a muted gray and without many adornments other than some incandescent bulbs, mirrors, and an empty clothing rack.  Cold vibes reverberate around the room but the vibes from Sam are anything but.  Dressed smartly in a blazer, white button-down and trousers, he’s pleasant and articulate, hardly showing any signs of tour exhaustion.

“Last night was fun, yeah,” he tells me of their previous night’s show at the Commodore Ballroom.  “It was a nineteen-plus last night so we weren’t expecting it to be super crazy but people were dancing and shouting.  You wouldn’t really have known it was adults.”

The band’s first album, Tourist History, was wildly successful and allowed the band to tour the world for quite some time.  But after touring the world for the better part of two years, it was time to turn their ideas into what would eventually become their second album, Beacon.

“We’d never travelled so much before we did Tourist History so there’s obviously so much more to write about and include, and we obviously just been influenced by so many different cultures and so much more music than we had before,” says Sam.  “Just the past few years , we’ve been introduced to so many more bands, so that obviously helps with writing music.”

With new additions to their musical influences (they’re newfound fans of Talking Heads), the boys holed themselves up in a house in Glasgow for a few months late last year and wrote the bulk ofBeacon there.  “It was nice being up in Glasgow to write because we were out of the eyes of London and away from the industry, in that sense.  You know, there wasn’t people from the label management sorta listening in to what we were doing.  We were left up to our own devices which was more like how we did the first record,” explains Sam.

And you would think that given the success of their first album, they would be feeling all sorts of pressure to produce an equally-successful album but that wasn’t really the case for Two Door Cinema Club.  Tourist History became a platform for the band to be able to explore new sounds and rhythms, and the time spent touring provided new insights of life as a band.

“It’s been nice to play with different rhythms this time around,” Sam tells me.  “The first record, it was a case of, you know, ‘four-to-the-floor’ generic sort of indie dance rhythms.  But now we have the confidence to try something different, even slow songs down.  The first time around, it was just very fast – just trying to get people’s attention.  They’re all very single-oriented songs.  So, it was nice to have this confidence this time around to not need to get people interested with just a fast drum beat.”

As for the recording process of the album, the band tested the waters with producer Jacknife Lee to see if he would be a good fit.  Lo and behold, he was and the boys would eventually make their way over to Los Angeles for a couple of months to lay down the tracks for the next record.

The resulting songs on Beacon still have the quintessential Two Door Cinema Club vibes that everyone has fallen in love with, but there’s definitely an increased maturity in the songwriting and production of the songs, thanks to Jacknife Lee’s guidance.  With hits like “Sleep Alone” and “Sun,” the band can consider the sophomore slump conquered.

Two Door Cinema Club just wrapped up the North American leg of their tour but they’ve got heaps of dates in the upcoming months.  Check out the band’s website for dates so you don’t miss out!

Originally published on October 29, 2012 on Photos taken by David Thai.