The Ting Tings
I have been spending time with The Ting Tings…
who have been telling me about their new (fourth) album, The Black Light, and its themes. Katie White and Jules de Martino discuss how the record differs from their previous work and how Spain and L.A. played a part in the recording process.
The guys talk about plans going forward and reveal albums that mean a lot to them; whether there is a rising act we need to get behind and whether they have any goals to tick off before the end of this year – they end the interview by selecting some awesome music.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Jules de Martino: Busy. Putting out our own records is no joke!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Katie White: I’m Katie White…
Jules: I’m Jules de Martino; we are The Ting Tings
The Black Light is your new album. What are the main themes/stories that inspired the record?
Jules: We felt that years of living and touring built up a large trailer-full of baggage (as with all our lives) that gave us anxiety and concern. Most of that emotion made its way onto the record, musically and lyrically. It’s very much about shining a light on those bits we brush under the carpet of forget to address.
Do you each have a favourite song from the album?
What was it like recording The Black Light in Spain and L.A.? Why did you choose those destinations?!
Katie: We always pack down; ship off to a new place to make new music. It’s just part of our fabric. We decided, very early on, that we would never make two records sound alike and, by shutting shop and starting again, we feel like a new band each time.
Jules: On The Black Light, we ended up in Southern Spain in a valley like lost souls suffering from extreme nerves and exhaustion in bliss mountain air and pure silence. Kinda freaked us out as we thawed. It almost chose us but, as the writing and jamming became something honest and worthy, we repacked and set for L.A. to cement the record. We had passed through L.A. many times - especially through the arts district - and vowed to make a record there; so it made sense that once the songs were penned to head there to get this record down.
Many people are familiar with your sound and biggest hits. How do you think your style has changed since the start?
Jules: Immensely. So many reasons for the evolution. As artists, we always want to discover and explore. Life’s short and we need to cram in as much as we can while we’re here.
Katie: We’re an Indie band that crossed over to the ‘other side’ but our hearts remain in the creation of music and art that means something to the creator.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Katie: In a way, we’ve already achieved some of our goals: to complete album-four with material we adore is huge. When we’re this happy about our efforts, we start thinking about touring and performing it live.
Jules: I’d like to master drone flying…
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Katie: Erm. We’re starting to think about places we haven’t seen or performed. It’s an interesting list: Tasmania, Mongolia; India, Iceland; Greenland, the North Pole…
Jules: Wanna go back to Ibiza and party. We spent time there on album-three and didn’t get to do everything we set out to do - so, I’m going back to unfinished biz.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Jules: There’s so many...
I have to check my journal as each time an event surpasses the one before it becomes my fave. Sitting on the street tarmac in Las Vegas after a very heavy night when our T.M. (tour manager). He forgot to get us to the airport on time, which meant missing the next show and getting more messed up in Las Vegas…pretty memorable. If I'm not mistaken, we wheeled our T.M. back to his room that night in a wheelchair as he couldn’t stand up; ex-military dude at 6ft 5.
Katie: Jakarta blew my mind when the promoter crammed 15k peeps into a 5k venue falling apart at the seams. The audience had to watch a military film before we went on stage. (There were) military personal everywhere and we thought we were in for a dud but the 15k sung every single lyric of the entire set. It took a while for me to compute. Things aren’t always what they seem.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Katie: That’s tough. We Started Nothing will always be special as it was the first.
Jules: Yeah. I though; I still feel like I never got to finish the production on it…I’m feeling The Black Light big. It just feels like it’s really about where we are now - and the process of getting to this independent point in our lives means a lot. It’s the most honest record we have made.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Jules: David Byrne. I would need to be playing drums on Once in a Lifetime - with tequila backstage.
Katie: If The Smiths reformed; I’d like to warm up then watch them from side of stage munching a salad and drinking white wine, of which Morrissey would approve. I love The Smiths…
Jules: I once confused J. (Johnny) Marr for J. (John) Squire. Marr showed up at our studio in Salford (Manchester) and I was hungover. Making small talk; I told him I loved his new band, The Seahorses. I think the single was You Can Talk to Me…which, of course, was Squires’ band. D’oh. No chance of a side of stage if The Smiths reform, then?
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Jules: Do not do it unless you feel it is honest and you want to support it fully. Take no advice; stay true. The industry is in chaos and only artists creating their individual moments will save it.
Katie: Go slowly, surely; have a vision and stay in lane.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Katie: Not yet, but working on it.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sleaford Mods
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Jules: The Sleaford Mods.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Katie: Not at the moment. We are fully-independent releasing our own records. No time to turn off. Never been one to turn off but the time will come and I’ll fall into a big cream cake (or summin’).
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Jules: Sleaford Mods’ Jobseeker
Katie: The Smiths’ There Is a Light That Never Goes Out and Cardi B - Bodak Yellow
J. & K.
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