Django Unchained

Django-Django_02_0515Heralding up from t’South are four piece Django Django; we figured we should catch the man in charge of the bass, Jimmy Dixon, while they’re about to have a natter about odds and ends. Including a rather bizarre moment featuring Ron Jeremy, a bar and some porn anecdotes – no, that ain’t the set up for a joke you wouldn’t tell your mum.

How’s it going?

‘It’s all good, I’m only really just up – I’ve been trying to sweat out a cold for the last couple of days…’

What’s going on for you guys right now?

‘We’re just back from doing a couple of warm up shows, but other than that we’re in-between different bits of stuff. We’ve got some bits of music videos done and we need to shoot the rest before the album comes out, we’ve got a whole lot of stuff to do before the album drops later this month so it’s crazy right now.’

You’re heading out on tour soon, how’re you feeling?

‘Right now it’s a little early to tell, we’re learning how to play the songs from our album live so we don’t get them wrong or get lost. We’re doing it the wrong way round, we’re learning how to make our songs work live before the album is even out, it usually happens that the songs have changed so much from studio to the stage that they’re nowhere near the same! But it’s good, it means we can elaborate and the time we have from now until the tour means we can get it right, we didn’t get that time with the first record. We used to have a drink before going on stage but decided going on half-cut wasn’t the best way to do things, nowadays we have a ‘stage outfit’ that we get changed into about half an hour before to get in the zone, helps us get into the mind-set. I usually just have a cuppa to make sure my voice isn’t all croaky, then we bully Tommy… But that’s standard’

Your new album is just about to drop, what can we expect from it?

‘It feels like we’re following on from the first, which I guess is a good thing. We didn’t wanna do something totally different from the first album but there was a lot production and songwriting-wise on it that we weren’t totally happy with so we’ve revisited it and improved the stuff we didn’t like. We went up to Angelic Studios in Oxford, which is kind of a live-in studio so we took songwriting out of the bedroom and took it there which had good results. I was listening to a lot of different bits by different artists to get an idea of the song structures. This album is definitely more confident and sure of itself, we were worried it wasn’t gonna sound like an album of ours but friends and family have agreed that it does – phew. We just hope people recognise it as a Django record like they did. It’s a bigger album with a stronger sound. There’s plenty of time for us to get experimental.’

What’s your favourite kind of gig to perform? Big venues, festivals or intimates?

‘We recently played a few 400 capacity shows, one of which was in Leeds, which I love. It’s weird to be playing a gig if you’re not sweating, that’s why I like the smaller venues, it’s hot and sweaty and raw, I like to be able to see people and see the lights in their eyes – big gigs can get disconnected. Having said that, we played Shepherd’s Bush in London which has around 2000 capacity and that somehow felt intimate, we also played Glastonbury which was so inspiring, a real beautiful moment.’

How does the writing process occur in the band?

‘We sort of do a bit of everything, the first album was largely Dave and Vinny doing the writing, but this one is a real 4-way effort. It took a few months of us working individually, gathering ideas and creating demos; a lot of studio-work was me, Tommy and Vinny developing ideas and concepts and just fleshing them out, then Dave would come in the afternoon to take apart what we’d done – it helped to have a fresh pair of ears in to tell us what was crap and what was working. Having the four of us working together and the system being as it is means there’s no room for ego, we don’t become too precious over our ideas and there’s no shoe-horning things in just because someone thought it up. It’s built up trust between us.’

What, in your opinion, is the greatest moment the band has had?

‘We went on Jay Leno in L.A at the end of our US tour, which in itself was awesome, but we were in a bar afterwards watching ourselves on the show on TV and Ron Jeremy (crazy ass 80’s pornstar) came up and started chatting to us and telling us all these crazy porn anecdotes and I remember thinking; ‘this is fucking weird’ – it was a real defining moment. He took a real shine to Tommy and I just overheard him saying; ‘…okay, so there’re 3 girls, one guy and then I came in’ and I couldn’t help wonder if I was dreaming; it was so surreal, a proper out of body experience.’

What was the first record you ever bought?

‘I remember being about 9 and seeing an advert on TV for a compilation CD called Blues Brothers and Soul Sisters – or something like that, it was a collection of old 60’s Motown and Blues tracks, so I trundled into Leeds town centre and I don’t think it was out so I settled for the Blues Brothers Soundtrack, which isn’t what I wanted and I was mega disappointed but I played it so much that I grew to love it.’

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be and why?

‘Oh god, I don’t know… I went to art school so I like to think I’d be an artist, but probably not. I’d be working in a bar or café.’

If you could play a gig with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

‘Growing up I was obsessed with The Stone Roses so if I could go back in time to perform with them in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Failing that, I’d like to tour with Chas & Dave, that’d be a crazy two weeks’

What’s your favourite song of yours and why?

‘I think at the minute it’s a song from the new album called ‘High Moon’, I really enjoyed the process of writing it and it developed and changed loads since, we needed to work out what it was and where it was going. I dunno whether we’ll do it live, it might not work, maybe it’ll become one of those songs that we play once and in 30 years’ time people will say; ‘I was there when…’

See the boys rock up Plug on the 14th of May, and check out their new album Born under Saturn out on the 4th.

By Ellie Greenfield

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