Two Door Cinema Club’s Alex Trimble is worried about modern life. “A lot of the songs [on new album Gameshow] were written about my concerns and fears about the future of us as a species,” he explains. “That sounds very dark but it’s born out of fear. I’ve never necessarily felt like a part of my own generation – I’ve never got involved with social media, it frightens me. It’s just so all-consuming and controlling in a way.
“It seems to absorb the life out of life itself in a way, and digitise so many things that should just be left in the real world. It does allow for these almost fictional versions of ourselves to exist online.”
Two Door Cinema Club, Bad Decisions video; directors: Thunderlips; Production company: Good Egg
There is an obvious parallel to becoming famous here too, which Trimble acknowledges. Two Door Cinema Club rose to fame in 2009 and experienced an intense period of success and touring, which ultimately led to a burn out. “We were on the road and making records non-stop for five or six years so there was no time to process any of that information for so long,” he says. “So once we took this break all of that started to flood into my consciousness – I really had to reckon with a lot of stuff and that’s why this came out.
“I was dealing with it myself in my own way but then I was thinking, it’s not just me anymore, it’s not just someone who’s in my position, it’s everyone who deals with this: whether it’s a mistake online or just generating an unrealistic version of themselves,” he continues. “That, along with the commercialisation of almost everything in mainstream media … there just seems to be a corporate world that’s unescapable online as well, which is again, frightening.”
These concerns have fed directly into the band’s two most recent videos, for tracks Are We Ready? (Wreck), shown below and released in June, and new release Bad Decisions (above), which despite the potentially heavy subject matter are hugely entertaining to watch. Both are by directing collective Thunderlips, and portray a vision of our world which is heightened and cartoonish.
Two Door Cinema Club, Are We Ready? (Wreck) video; directors: Thunderlips; Production company: Good Egg
Trimble was excited to see his ideas reflected in the films. “It was a very collaborative thing which was amazing to be able to do, because I’ve seen so many bands and artists and these things get done for them or get done around them,” he says. “It’s very important to me that every aspect of what we are as a band – how we come across, what we put out – definitely comes from somewhere within the band. I’ve always had a great interest in visual arts as well as music and that definitely scratches another creative itch that I have. It feels like another outlet beyond music.”
While this interest in the visual side of the music has always been there, Trimble feels that it has become more coherent with this new album, in contrast to the band’s previous releases. “I was in a very different place, feeling like a very different person back then,” he says. “We had total control, even more so than we do now. We were on an independent label and we were kind of running ourselves, we were putting out our own music through this label and everything was done on a very personal level, whether that was with designers, or directors, whoever that might be.
“But at that time I wasn’t quite sure of where I was going and what I wanted to put out there necessarily. I had no strong convictions or a message to convey with the band. We took a lot of advice from different people and I knew what I liked aesthetically but it was hard pinpoint exactly what that was if someone asked me. We’d have to wait for something to come along and go ‘yeah, that’s the one’. Whereas now I feel a lot more in control and a lot more able to describe exactly what it is I want, rather than what it is I don’t want.”
Two Door Cinema Club has joined Warner Music for this new release, the band’s first experience of a major label. This has allowed bigger budgets for videos and access to the resources of a larger organisation, though has meant that the band has had to relinquish some of the autonomy that they previously had. “You’ve got these dedicated teams that are committed to seeing through your vision, which is amazing, but again at the same time it’s kind of daunting to hand over your vision to someone and trust them,” says Trimble. “I got so stressed at the beginning because I was trying to micromanage everything but definitely now that I’ve relaxed a bit and my faith is in these people, it is easier to step back.”
The new album cover was created in-house, by Warner Music art director and designer Mike Lythgoe, and was an extremely positive experience for Trimble. ““He’s an unbelievable artist,” he says. “He knows exactly where to go – and honestly, we got to the finished artwork concept over one beer. I had these ideas about reflections and light … from where we’d been to where we’d come from there was a lot of self-discovery and a lot of it was just about accepting we’re different people in the band … it had to be something that reflected that.
“There’s a definite core to this record, and a certain message and a continuity with the music and with the videos, and the artwork,” he continues. “Before the videos didn’t necessarily tie in with the songs, or the artwork tying in with the records, it was a bit more of a hodge podge.”
As well as enjoying being involved in the creation of the band’s visuals, Trimble has also begun photographing his experiences with TDCC too. While he’s exhibited his photographs in the past, at this stage he doesn’t know if his more recent images will come to wider viewing, but he has found that photography has helped him deal with some of the pressures put on him as part of his job.
“It allows me to escape crazy moments at certain times,” he says. “Once I put myself behind the camera, it puts me in the position of the observer and it’s almost like I’m not a part of that moment anymore, I’m just observing it – and sometimes I really need that.
“Because you can’t just walk away, there’s things to be done, but if I can feel like I’ve achieved that escape while still being in the room, it’s a great thing because I’m still around to do my job. It’s had so many benefits.”
Gameshow by Two Door Cinema Club is released on October 14. twodoorcinemaclub.com