Two Door Cinema Club
St. Lucia, Bad Veins
1402 Clinton St.
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
Two Door Cinema Club
Beacon (noun): A fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.
Two Door Cinema Club couldn’t have picked a more apt name for their second album.
Their 11-song opus sees them leapfrog their former peers, at the same time shining a light on both their supernatural songwriting talent and dazzling growth as a band.
Released just over two years after their award-winning, platinum-selling debut Tourist History, Beacon finds the trio brimming with the kind of confidence only performing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans, on every continent, can bring.
Recorded in five months with Garett ‘Jacknife’ Lee (Weezer, REM, U2) at his studio in Topanga, California, it’s a bold statement of a record. Even more remarkable than its contents is the fact Two Door found the time to make it at all.
“We’ve been touring constantly for two years,” explains the band’s frontman Alex Trimble. “And obviously we wanted to play to everyone that wanted to see us, but the time came when we had to say ‘Enough’ and get to grips with a new record.”
There was an abundance of ideas floating around while the band were travelling but, wise to the pitfalls of writing an album while on the road, the three-piece didn’t rush anything. No one wants to hear clichéd lyrics about hotel rooms and endless coach journeys across the States, meaning the map for what would become Beacon consisted of nothing more than some hastily scribbled notes, Alex’s diary and a bank of melodies he’d hummed into his phone.
“There was a lot of fleshing out to do, but we were amazed how easily things came together,” continues Trimble.
“In Garett, we found our guy, the producer we want to make all our records with. The four of us were completely on the same wavelength. Getting nearer the end of the recording session things were tougher. We wanted the album to have originality and diversity, excitement and consistency.
“We also wanted to push ourselves and feel like we were moving forward, that’s imperative.”
While not writing about their time on tour, movement is one of Beacon’s recurring themes, nowhere more prominent than on opener Next Year and the momentous title track that bookends the record.
Next Year was always destined to open the album; a song about returning somewhere you’ve been before, whether physically or emotionally. Beacon, meanwhile, perhaps the most complex piece Two Door have ever recorded, is one of Alex’s proudest achievements.
“It took a long time to write, and even longer to sound how we wanted. It’s very linear, not a standard verse-verse-chorus song, and at the same time as resolving the album musically, lyrically it leaves things open for album three too.
“You have to think about where you’re going next, and I think we’ve opened up a world of possibilities. There’s definitely more to come.
“That’s something that’s always been prominent in our band. We don’t feel like we’ve made it, no matter what happens, I don’t think we ever will. We’re constantly striving to do better, to work harder, to play to more people.
“That’s the way I always want it to be.”
Alex drew yet another line in the sand when he appeared in the opening ceremony of London 2012, watched by a worldwide audience of billions.
“It was a huge step up for the band,” he says. “It was obviously a great honour and experience, but the timing was impeccable. It was an amazing opportunity we’re hugely grateful for, and it’s made us think about all the other things there are to do.”
And whatever TDCC do achieve, talent, hard work and the mobilisation of an ever-growing fanbase will be responsible rather than industry hype and bottomless marketing budgets.
“Our fans…” he says, referring to the self-styled Basement People, “to say they’re dedicated is an understatement.
“Other people’s faith in what we do is incredible, and it gives us enormous freedom to try new things.
“We concentrate on rewarding that, and continue to do so. We have to carry on pushing the boundaries of what Two Door Cinema Club means.”
Even in the urban wilds of Brooklyn, there may be no one else like Jean-Philip Grobler, otherwise known as St. Lucia.
Originally from Johannesberg, South Africa, Jean grew up performing with the Drakensberg Boys Choir School. When the choir wasn't traveling—St. Lucia toured Japan, Australia, Europe, the US and more—they stayed in an enclave tucked in the South African mountains, learning everything from Bach and minimalist opera to African War Songs and Celine Dion.
A young musician could hardly find better training, but as a young teenager, he started to feel that he'd had his fill of classical music, and it felt like an epiphany when he discovered the music of Radiohead. "In South Africa, we used to be quite limited in what we were exposed to in terms of experimental music, and so hearing OK Computer for the first time was like experiencing a completely new Universe. I think it was also my own little form of rebellion against the rigidity of choir life', he laughs. Eventually, he left the creative "small pond" of South Africa for England, where he spent three years studying music in Liverpool.
St. Lucia's journey thus far ended—as many do—in New York City, where he started working on the tracks that would turn into his debut EP, to be released in the spring. The St. Lucia EP will mark the first full-length release on Neon Gold Records, the formerly singles-only label that first released Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding and The Naked & Famous.
The atmospheric quality of St. Lucia's electronic pop is powerful, with the musician's global travels and history of exotic hideaways effortlessly passed onto the audience through his dreamy, shimmering synths, and multi-layered arrangements. The listener is transfixed and transported into some collective memory of childhood summer.
St. Lucia was born out of a moment in early 2010 when Jean-Philip looked to the past for inspiration. Growing frustrated with a rock project that was starting to feel forced, he delved back into the music that had first inspired him: early Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel and other songs from his youth. 'I became obsessed with a certain wave of nostalgic pop music, mainly from the 80's, that to me represents some of the best pop music ever made. The music from that era has this unabashed, completely over-the-top quality to it, and that seemed fresh to me.' He also rediscovered African music. 'Growing up in South Africa, African music was always there, and so it was easy to ignore. But after being away from home for a few years, I began to discover just how amazing it actually is.'
Setting up shop in a small Williamsburg studio, Jean began to record and experiment, and eventually these new influences began to surface in his music. After a year of hibernation, Jean began to open the lid on his new project."I'd show some stuff to my friends and I could see that they didn't quite get it," he says. He soon began to getin contact with people, with the idea of setting up a live band. Teaming up with his friend Nick and girlfriend Patricia—now St. Lucia's drummer and keyboard players respectively—, the three of them "decided to play the demo's for people in a context where we wouldn't say anything about it. We'd just play it."
It was then that the music got the attention of the Knocks, and St. Lucia was soon signed to HeavyRoc Music. His first single, "The Old House is Gone," was released in spring 2011, fueling online intrigue. After two explosive shows at CMJ, the hype escalated to match. Neon Gold described St. Lucia as a "well-traveled mysterioso... physically incapable of producing anything less than extraordinary." Bloggers posted St. Lucia's second single, "All Eyes On You," accompanied by proclamations: "This is an anthem," or, "Beware, your hand will get tired from having to push replay over and over."
"All Eyes On You," like the rest of the St. Lucia EP, distills the best qualities of eighties pop—drawing out melodic bravado and euphoric energy and discarding any trace of the saccharine or heavy—and adds arresting, fresh elements of contrast. The EP is luminous and hazy, a tropical electronic dream. It has a notable, singular effect on the audience. "In a way that's been my ambition, to give people a feeling similar to what the music from my youth gives me." says St. Lucia.
He certainly delivers. "All Eyes On You" conjures up unlikely juxtapositions: an ecstatic nostalgia, a melancholy radiance, a mix of personal immediacy and the wanton urge to get lost in a crowd.
As an artist, St. Lucia has played into this element of anonymity. He has remained mysterious until this point, allowing a few facts about his unusual background to guide the response to his music. He's starting to lift the veil: "As an artist, you always have lingering doubts. Are people going to get this? Are they going to think it's cheesy?"
Ultimately, he sets these concerns aside. "What's of real value to me is just sitting in the studio, working," he says. "Or that moment when I'm walking along the street and hear something in my head, and let that idea work itself into an arrangement and then see that come to fruition.'
"Of course, it makes you feel good when your stuff starts taking off," he adds. "It's nice that people are writing about it, and that bigger things are coming in terms of remixes and record companies. But really, all I ever want to be doing is making music."
Bad Veins are a rarity in today's musical landscape: An act who didn't set out to become critical darlings or the next "buzz" band, but managed to achieve both after only playing a handful of shows. However, despite the fact that Bad Veins' music has been instantly embraced since their inception in late 2006, the duo of Benjamin Davis and Sebastien Schultz decided not to rush out their disc. The result is Bad Veins, an album that's unique but familiar, and not only lives up to the hype but surpasses it. Looking back, it's hard to believe it all started out a little over two years ago in a non-descript attic in Cincinnati, Ohio.
$25 ADV/$28 DOS
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