“The Dark Side”, replies synth player Dan Coop from Does It Offend You, Yeah? when asked which side of The Force he would choose. With songs like ‘Wrong Time Wrong Planet’ – from their latest album Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You – sounding exactly as the title imagery evokes (think futuristic glitch, alien glamour, and cyber audio sex), you can easily understand Dan’s comment, “I would love to do a gig on a Deathstar.” Angus Maiden takes Tone Deaf readers on a trip across the galaxy with Coop.
Not only is the music intensely dark at times but it is so extreme and mind-blowingly otherworldly in its fusion of electro and rock that it really could be from “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”
Yet when it comes to the crux of why they do what they do, it’s all about pleasing the fans. “The more crazy people go the more we know people are liking it. If a song’s not working, we know straight away because people start to slow down.” Dan ruminates, “There’s an actual point I can feel about two hours before we go on stage where my mind starts to think about things other than day-to-day stuff, and 30 minutes before the gig you can feel the adrenaline pumping. Then you walk out to a cheer or a boo or whatever and you’re there and it’s like ‘This isn’t work anymore – it’s just great fun.’”
There has been little booing, however, at the sold out shows in Europe, as electro-rock fans from all over are turning their gaze onto to Last.FMs 8th most popular band of 2010. Their sophomore effort and latest album was finished over a year ago, but held up from release by an almost unprecedented parting from major label contracts, something that has drawn both attention to and admiration for the 5-piece band from Reading, UK. As Dan says, the album (which has a “Fuck you, you’re wrong / Fuck you, we’re right” attitude, to quote from the outstanding track ‘Wrestler’ – an affirmation of siding with their fans and a statement about opposing the big guns) was “Whittled like a stick from the millions of tracks we had ’til we were 75–80 percent happy with it. You just have to keep on writing and writing every day, and recording and re-recording. Spending a month on a track and then deciding you don’t like it and scrapping it, and at other times writing and finishing a tune in one day. It’s a long process until you just say, ‘I can’t carry on with this anymore, because if I did, I’d go mad.’”
When Coop is asked if he was ever absolutely and perfectly happy with a tune, he replies “I don’t think any artist would be 100 percent happy with what they’ve done. I can’t remember who said it but there’s a great quote that goes, ‘A painting’s never finished – it just stops in an interesting place’. You could carry on making an album for years and years, but what’s the point if no one’s ever gonna hear it? You’ve got to reach a point where you say, ‘This is good enough in my head that I think other people will like it too.’”
Having abandoned all ties with the majors over the issue of creative control, DIOY Y? are loving being themselves and doing their own thing with smaller, friendlier indie labels. However, they keep a level head about the music industry and the idea of “pop music” that was the main point of contention with the big labels. “A lot of people confuse us when they read stuff and say, ‘This band just hates everything to do with major labels’, but it’s not like that, there’s a place for everyone in the music industry. You’ve just gotta do your own thing. Coldplay aren’t turning around to us and going, ‘Oh you’re just writing crappy dance tunes’ and we don’t go to them ‘You’re just writing mainstream stuff.’ We’ve got nothing against Coldplay, we’ve got nothing against a lot of those sort of bands, it’s just not right for us.”
Splendour in the Grass this year will see Does It Offend You, Yeah? sharing the festival stage with artists of many moods and styles, from Coldplay and Modest Mouse to Kanye West. The band have been to Australia before, and when asked about it Dan said, “We did a tour a couple of years ago. We’d written pretty much half an album, and some of the tracks we played out there just weren’t working live. That just gave it a knock a little – the tracks that the label really liked were the ones that weren’t translating live. So it’s like, ‘Well what do we do here, do we listen to the label, or do we listen to our fans in Australia?’ So we used Australia as a barometer; the new album is built out of songs that people really liked.”
That album that our country’s fans helped shape, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You, is out now through POD and sees the band set to head down under to not only play Splendour, but club shows of their own.
The energy levels that Does It Offend You Yeah? put into their live shows are summed up by Cook in one statement, “When you get on stage, everything changes.” And this hard-hitting, futuristic, electro-drool quintet is bound to change things a bit this winter for Australian fans.
DOES IT OFFEND YOU, YEAH? Australian Tour
With Purple Sneakers DJs
Tue 02 Aug. The Gov, Adelaide. SA
Tickets from: http://www.moshtix.com.au | http://www.venuetix.com.au | http://www.thegov.com.au
Wed 03 Aug. The Capitol Theatre, Perth. WA
Tickets from: http://www.moshtix.com.au
Thu 04 Aug. Metro Theatre, Sydney. NSW
Tickets from: http://www.metrotheatre.com.au
Fri 05 Aug . Prince Bandroom, Melbourne. VIC
Tickets from: http://www.princebandroom.com.au
Tickets On Sale Friday May 27
*Also appearing at Splendour In The Grass*