Musicians are prone to say some pretty weird stuff from time to time, after all they spend half their day answering the same dumb questions over and over again from the media. But we think you can all agree that when band tried to play the ‘underground’ card despite the fact their debut album went number 1 and has been certified Platinum, we’re all a little bit prone to collectively roll our eyes.
Enter stage right British band The Ting Tings who are gearing up for the February release of their sophomore album, Sounds from Nowheresville, by hitting the publicity trail and talking up their credibility.
If you believe the stories, and many don’t, the band apparently wasted £100,000 on a music video for hit “That’s Not My Name” before scrapping it completely because they “looked vacant”, deleted their demos so the label couldn’t use them as bonus tracks, and even fought for a piece of fan art depicting them as rotting corpses to be the cover for their second record.
According to the groups publicist they also ‘leaked’ the music video for their new single ‘Hang It Up’ on to Youtube months before their label was ready to do so. But are they really sticking it to the man, or is it all part of a coordinated publicity plan to make them feel edgy?
Speaking to The Guardian in the UK over the weekend the duo describe the incident that lead them to delete their entire second album and start again from scratch. Picture “the two of us in Berlin, in the basement of an old jazz club we’ve hired. We’ve been there for nine months making the album,” says guitarist Jules De Martino.
“All these compliments from the label about how wonderful the record is. About how big this or that track is going to be on the radio. And at that point it was a real simple decision… Delete it. Get rid of it so it doesn’t exist. Erase the tracks.”
“Loads of them had flown over from the UK. We played them 10, 11 tracks. But they just came too early,” says vocalist Katie White. “Because we were living in Berlin, we’d got into dance music, and techno, and we did a few dance-type songs. And they [the label guys] were literally going: ‘Waa! Dance is huge on the radio at the minute! This is gonna fit right in!'”
“We’d never had anyone tell us how big this or that track was going to be,” says De Martino, “because when we were making the first album we were here in Salford, drunk and partying. All of a sudden everyone’s there with notepads going: this is fucking huge! And we’re like, what do you mean huge? We haven’t talked about that.”
“And now we’re having a massive panic attack about this record we’re half way through. There was a moment,” says White, “when we were like, right, after 10 seconds we’re gonna delete these songs. Proper delete them.”
“Two weeks went by,” he says. “Everything quiet. They’re letting us get on with our work, thinking [rubbing his hands together] it won’t be long now, we’ll soon get our hands on this record. Finally we get a call: how’s it going? We’re like: it’s not ready. They’re like: just send over those demos you played. And we’re like: we haven’t got them any more.
“I remember,” he says, “the silence on the phone.”
“The success,” says White, “was a bit shit when you actually got it.” “We always said we’d know when to stop touring,” adds De Martino, “but the truth is you never know. Not until you’re so exhausted you’re calling your manager a fucking bastard and accusing him of trying to kill you.”
“We can only ever write anything when we’re down. Who wants to hear an album from an artist that’s happy? Because the content line tends to be: I’m sitting on a beach, how’s life for you? And right now a lot of people’s answer is likely to be: well not very good actually, we won’t buy your record.”
“It would have been so easy,” says White, “to quickly bash out any old shit off the back of the first album. Get it on the radio, have a cheap nasty hit. And we didn’t want to do that. If we’re gonna wreck it,” speaking of their career, “we’d rather wreck it ourselves.”
“We would rather write songs that nobody’s going to hear than write dance tracks that would fit on the radio after David Guetta I’d rather puke on my own feet than that”.
The Ting Tings sophomore album is due for release on February 27th, unless of course there are some hits on it and they decide to delete it again. After all we all know a successful artist must be a sell-out. Or something like that.