Django Django to unchain eclectic sound in Ann ArborWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Django Django will remember 2012. The band’s self-titled debut was an international smash named to several end-of-the-year best lists. Entertainment Weekly ranked the disc No. 7, and Rolling Stone put it at No. 26.
“It’s kind of weird that [the CD has] done so well and spread so far because we made it in a bedroom with very little money and very little in terms of equipment,” said drummer, producer and band leader David Maclean.
“[Django Django has] just snowballed and spread. People from different countries and different backgrounds and different age groups are getting it, which, if there ever was a goal, that would be it — that [our music] would be accessible and enjoyable for all kinds of different people.”
That mass appeal may be due to the smorgasbord of sound the Scottish quartet serves up: rock wrapped in electronic pulses, synth-driven dance grooves melted over trippy beats, sun-drenched vocal harmonies backed by surf guitar riffs.
“People throw words around like psychedelic; you know, it’s fine. I’m not one to get hung up on genres,” Maclean said. “So I’m happy to let people hear [our music] and make their own minds up.”
The affable drummer was sitting down for dinner in a London recording studio during the phone interview. Although he tapped away when answering questions, he does hand off some percussive duties.
Lead singer and guitarist Vincent Neff plays coconut halves on “Love’s Dart.”
“Years ago I made up a dance beat and it was based around a horse galloping. I’ve lost the track, so the coconuts were just us trying to re-create the little track of galloping horses,” Maclean said.
“When Vince plays the coconuts live on stage, it’s a real kind of ‘[Monty Python and the] Holy Grail’ moment; a lot of people pick up on it.”
Maclean, Neff, bassist Jimmy Dixon and synthesizer player Tommy Grace — all Monty Python fans — met at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and formed the band in London in 2009.
“[The group] was named after the ’60s Western ‘Django,’ which obviously [Quentin] Tarantino has resurrected,” Maclean said. “I always liked the fact that reggae guys in the ’60s and ’70s had this fascination with Western movies so they would name tracks after Clint Eastwood and ‘Django.’
“We knew we wanted to have that double name because we were thinking about bands like Liquid Liquid and Talk Talk, and we went through a lot of words and Django just stuck.
“But it was done on an evening when we were quite drunk probably, and we didn’t think much about it because we didn’t think we’d be a proper band or that we’d ever be interviewed in our lives.”
Coincidentally, Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” was also released in 2012.
“It was the year of the Django,” Maclean said and laughed.
Django Django will play at 8 p.m. June 18 at the University of Michigan’s Power Center. Tickets are $20 and $25.
The concert is part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival; see the lineup at a2sf.org.