The Catalyst

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB

The Catalyst Presents

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB

Pacific Air

Wed, December 5, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Catalyst

Santa Cruz, CA

$24 in advance/ $29 at the door

Off Sale

This event is 16 and over

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
In this day and age, a record that defies you to spot what music its makers have been listening to is a rare beast – especially one that makes you dance and sing as well. The fact they're still so young – and, by definition, inexperienced - makes it even more extraordinary. Northern Ireland's Two Door Cinema Club are a music-mad trio and their debut album – so fresh off the presses that they haven't decided on an album title yet - fizzes with invention and sparkling tunes. It's undeniably pop, and it draws on electronica/electro, rock and Afro-beats without ever recalling hopeful dilettantes, but the sum is greater than any 'indie electro pop' parts. The album also re-defines short, sharp and sweet - 10 songs, 32 minutes and no wastage whatsoever – as classic debut albums should be. And they're signed to fab French independent Kitsuné – 'nuff said.

Their story begins with three 15-year olds at school in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Vocalist/ guitarist Alex Trimble and bassist Kevin Baird studied music together; guitarist Sam Halliday was a mate of Alex's. They initially bonded over a love of Scots rockers Biffy Clyro, and formed an emo-styled rock band with a drummer, but he left and the remaining three realised, says Kev, "We were playing music that we weren't enjoying, so we said 'let's write some songs, without any pretense of what they'll sound like'. That's why we find it so hard now if people now ask us what genre we are."

Experimenting included using a laptop to generate beats. "It was born of necessity at first because we didn't know any other drummers," says Alex. "We weren't sure it would work but it did." They have now enlisted a drummer to beef up their live shows. Their name was a happy accident. A few days after they'd all visited The Tudor Cinema, which specialised in '50s/'60s B movies, Sam suggested Two Door Cinema Club, which the others thought was really cool. "We asked him how he came up with the name," Kev recalls, "and it turned out he thought 'Tudor' was pronounced two-door'!"

By this point, the boys' tastes had gravitated toward alt.pop, such as Death Cab For Cutie, Architecture In Helsinki, Bloc Party and Modest Mouse, whose collectively leaner, rhythmic and melodic approach spilled over into their own music. Gigs were quickly secured on the back of two songs (neither of which they play anymore) posted to myspace, followed by a deal with Kitsuné, the release of their debut single Something Good Can Work in March '09, and immediate support from radio (especially Radio 1's Steve Lamacq).

The album simply multiplies the single's surfeit of ideas and sounds. Take the opening Cigarettes In The Theatre, which instantly nails the band's light-footed, but hard-driving, energy. It begins with an ambient rumble, then adds a niggling guitar (or it could be a synth) line, which develops a siren-like insistence over a nervy beat pattern before a telling pause and a newer, deliciously – almost deliriously - danceable song kicks in. The icing is Alex's vocal melody, with its almost dreamy brand of urgency, and his bare-boned narrative of meeting his last girlfriend ("We'll pass the burning light / we'll just keep talking on / tell me your favourite things"). And then there's the exhilarating trumpet coda. Brilliant.

It's followed by Come Back Home, a sequel of sorts; witness an introductory bed of woozy synths that build to a launching pad for a digi-funk backdrop that bounces, swings AND rocks behind Alex's confession that the aforementioned relationship is over ("Another Saturday, another careless move tells the world that you're thinking of what to do / a window opens up and someone calls your name/ but I can tell you don't know how to play this game / I know this isn't it"). "I I like things to correlate musically but also lyrically," says Alex. The album, he explains, has two general themes – 'love' songs ("but not in a typical sense; I'm adamant about avoiding clichés") and songs that chart, "our progression over this past 18 months. Where we've come from to where we are now with this album."

Undercover Martyn is one of the 'band' songs, based on a fictional secret, "who's got this big job to do but he's too scared. It's what we were trying to do, to build up courage to do this full time rather than go to university." The seeds of doubt are expressed in What You Know, I Can Talk and You're So Stubborn, which are loosely linked by the theme of arguments and justifying what you believe in. The trio were faced with choosing between the security of university/potential career and the uncertainty and thrill of the band; we all know which won out, but Something Good Will Work is a self-explanatory lyric by Alex to the other two, likewise Do You Want It All?, "a song of hope, to keep us going, with the thought that if we try hard enough, then we're gonna do well."

Do You Want It All also shows the subtler side of TDCC despite the high bpm and the escalating switch into an exhilarating sprint, led by Sam's dizzy, brilliantly simple guitar. "He's a massively versatile guitar player," Alex says of TDCC's more interview-shy member. "He has a great ear for what sounds good, and incorporates a lot of different styles, which provides a nice variation throughout songs."

The only constant between songs is the length of them – namely, short. The songs average out at a pop-perfect 3 mins 20 secs each. Says Kev, "We've never seen the point of adding something on to make the song longer. Or to cram in lots of songs. We just wanted a really impressive first album, where every song could be someone's favourite."

From the Afro-pop lilt of Something Good Can Work (imagine Vampire Weekend with an acute pop sensibility) to the smooth/jittery combo of Eat That Up It's Good For You [about the rise of women emulating men's worst boozing-and-cruising habits: "that's me venting my anger, in a happy pop song," Alex grins), there are TDCC favourites all over the shop. If they can make such a mature album this early on, think of what they can do next time and the next album after that. Eat it up, it's good for you...
Pacific Air
Pacific Air
There's nothing typical about Pacific Air. Even while growing up in Southern California, brothers Ryan and Taylor Lawhon didn't learn about music via the usual staples, but rather through their mother's unconventional taste in music.

"For most people, classic rock is nostalgic since that's what their parents listened to," exclaims Ryan. "For us, it's Enya, Deep Forrest, Laurie Andersen, and Ray Lynch because that's what our mom played in the house. New Age was our primary music knowledge as kids, and it definitely left an imprint."

Yet, the brothers were influenced by more than just their New Age musical roots. Despite the fact that they are decedents of a rural Alaskan family, Ryan and Taylor were born and grew up in Southern California and have never experienced a winter. The wintertime vibe must be in their blood, however, as their music at times possesses moody and ambient elements while still managing to maintain the warmth of their environment. The two nearly identical brothers drew inspiration from their virtually nomadic lifestyle, moving annually from one town to the next around the West Coast, and finding permanence in their collaborative capabilities. By the age of 15, they were in bands together, and not much has changed since in terms of their process.

"It's a lot like any sibling bond," Ryan comments. "We don't always agree, but we're surprisingly in tune with what we want to do. Taylor writes many of the rhythms and underlying chord progressions, and I'll write many of the melodies and lyrics as well as filling in on the production side. We're a great team."

In March 2012, they uploaded three original songs to a Bandcamp page under their initial moniker KO KO, the name of a boat they considered buying in the Newport Harbor. They had tracked the music on a laptop in the bedroom of their home, utilizing everything from guitars and bass to keyboards, synths, and organ. The setup wasn't fancy or extravagant, but it captured their spirit organically.
Within merely 24 hours of uploading the tracks, a Vice blog contacted the musicians. After two days, their music hit number one on The Hype Machine. A flurry of acclaim began to mount with features by tastemakers including MTV Hive, Disco Naivete, My Old Kentucky Blog, Neon Gold, and many more. The next week, Ryan and Taylor found themselves in New York for the first time to showcase for major labels. Embracing the drastic shift in weather had an incredible payoff for the duo, as their trip culminated with securing a deal with Republic Records.

Sonically influenced by their environment, but emotionally and lyrically exploring profound themes of death and self-exploration, the brothers found a style that is uniquely their own. In many ways, the first single "Float" provides an apropos introduction to Pacific Air's shimmering dream pop. Sun-soaked melodies cascade with bright beats, finger snaps, faint guitar, and laidback whistling as Ryan asks, "If we both get old, will you let me float away?"
The singer reveals, "I was literally floating between different things, and there was a real uncertainty about the future. The lyrics were born out of depression from that, but the music has a summer vibe. It's an interesting juxtaposition. I feel like the song is a youthful perspective on transition."

However, that's only one facet of their forthcoming debut four-song EP for Universal Republic produced by Chris Zane [Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons, The Walkmen]. A majestic organ swells through "So Strange" as synths careen in tandem alongside Ryan's elegant hook.

About the track, he goes on, "It's one of my favorite songs lyrically. 'So Strange' is almost like a sequel to 'Float'. The song talks about what happens after you've decided where you're going in life and your direction. It examines the insecurities implicit in that."

To some degree, Pacific Air's identity remains encapsulated in their name itself. Ryan exclaims, "It's a good description of our music and who we are. We've always lived somewhere near an ocean. It's where we've been most of our lives, and it's fairly representative of most of our songs, but I don't know if I would consider it surfing music. "

The music's otherworldly, sonic perspective really works well anywhere though. There's a universality in the brothers' bond that ultimately makes Pacific Air inviting, infectious, and intoxicating.
Venue Information:
The Catalyst
1011 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
http://www.catalystclub.com/