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By Andy Argyrakis
This Week's Picks:
Talking with The Ting Tings about fame, artistic rebirth and Berlin
Monday, April 2, 2012
Few bands in the last half decade have been able to craft as catchy but still artistically satisfying tunes as The Ting Tings, and even with four years between studio CDs, that trend continues on Sounds From Nowheresville (Columbia). The project marks the follow-up to the English duo's breakthrough debut We Started Nothing (responsible for the smash singles "That's Not My Name" and "Shut Up and Let Me Go"), though there's a newfound musical maturity gleaned from over two-and-a-half years of constant touring.
"After playing our instruments so much on the road, we got better at being musicians and we wanted to explore more," says multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jules De Martino, who along with vocalist/guitarist/bassist Katie White, churns out the pair's infectious sounds. "Sounds From Nowheresville is not just a pop record that was there for radio, but also made for us as musicians and artists. We had to find a reason to be a band again and a reason to start writing. We didn't want to talk about how many airplanes we'd been on or the beautiful cities we'd been to. Who wants to hear about that? So we had to ground ourselves and tried to find reasons to be artists again."
The group decided to set up shop in Berlin away from family and friends to dig deep into the music making trenches, though there were still several creative challenges. "I've always said from the beginning if we feel something isn't cutting the grade, there's only one way to deal with that: delete it permanently," he continues. "If it's strong, it will always survive in your head and come back in the right form later on. On the first record, we wrote four songs and scrapped three, then wrote five songs and scrapped two. We did the same thing with this record, though maybe a bit more severely. In Berlin we'd written eight or nine or ten tracks, but didn't have anything to say...So we erased it. We kept four we loved and moved everything down to Spain, where we were even more isolated. We really started to argue, got frustrated about the music industry and the commercialism of it, and what we may be becoming, and that's when we started to write really strong songs again."
Though it's impossible not to memorize "Sounds From Nowheresville" after just a few listens, it never comes at the expense of artistic integrity. In fact, the entire ten track collection shatters formula barriers all together, making what many would consider the ultimate playlist or mixtape that includes elements of electronica, indie rock, punk, dance and melodic pop.
"We can't carry our record collection on tour with us, so we listen to music more and more like everyone else- MP3s searches, iPods and laptops," adds De Martino. "So it kind of started to fuel the idea of making a record inspired by all of our favorite records. After putting all these combinations together, we made a record that makes sense to us, where we are today, how we listen to music and how we feel."
Tuesday at Metro: www.metrochicago.com.
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