Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Almost A Video Interview
Shit happens. Sometimes. And if you know Murphy’s law, you know that if there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong. Well, what happened, you might ask? Here’s the story:
Orlando Higginbottom aka Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (or short: TEED) was in town and I was asked to do an interview with him. Pretty exciting! I love his music and was really looking forward to doing this interview. I did some additional research beyond the things I already knew about him, compiled lots of buswah-like intelligent questions, prepared a little gift for him (yes, we like to give presents to our guests!) and packed all my video and photo gear and went to the venue. Business as usual so far …
Outside the venue the sun is shining but it’s still very cold. In the club it’s dark but a little warmer at least. Club staff and stage hands are preparing the equipment for tonight’s show while Orlando and I are having our little conversation in a seating area of the venue. Camera and sound are checked and rolling and I’m ready to talk with him about his career and his upcoming album.
Orlando, who deejayed the night before until 6 o’ clock in the morning is extremely tired and warns me that the interview might turn kinda weird. How the heck did he know? Although the weirdness of the interview hasn’t anything to do with Orlando’s fatigue, it seems as if he had paranormal capabilities – but let’s go on with the interview …
Asked for his first musical steps, Orlando tells me that, when he was a little boy, he actually only listened to three CDs over and over again, which all where classical ones. His musical education, which for the most part was influenced by his father, who is a music professor at the Uiniversity of Oxford, was also a very classical training, mainly on the piano. When he turned 13 his interest in electronic music like techno, jungle and drum ‘n’ bass was rising and he bought his first turntable which turned out as a starting point for the things he’s doing until today.
Even though TEED was one of the most acclaimed artists in the last couple of months, Orlando says that there was actually no plan for becoming a professional musician at all. He always made and still makes music just for the music itself without any specific goals expectations. He didn’t even think that he’d be the guy on stage one day who would sing to the songs he wrote in the studio. It struck him as funny at first and it took quite a while for him to feel comfortable with it, but now he really enjoys performing on stage and people are loving him for it.
Asked if he considers himself being a pop star, Orlando answers that labels like these aren’t important to him. Although he definitely admits that his music is pop music, he still doesn’t know if he is or wants to be seen as a pop star.
To my personal surprise Orlando never played in a band but he has a very good explanation for it because nowadays, he states, it’s much easier to create music on a computer and immediately start writing songs than to do it the old-school and long some way of finding like-minded friends to start a band with. Furthermore he says, that he always liked and still likes to be in control of the whole creative process which was another reason why he never teamed up with other musicians.
Indeed he admits that it’s not easy for him sometimes to be a 100% responsible for all the decision he has to make, but fortunately he has a couple of good friends and his management who he can ask for advice in such cases. On the other hand feels very comfortable having control over all creative decisions and in this respect he thinks, it’s sometimes much more convenient and easier to not being forced to debate with someone else – an evident state of mind, even more when Orlando starts talking about his work process in the studio which is constantly changing as he says.
Sometimes he just searches for a specific mood and plays around a bit with his keyboards, sequenzers and computers. Sometimes he already wrote a drum loop and tries a keyboard melody afterwards to find out what emerges from this kind of atmosphere. Many parts of his songs are born of chance and trial and error. The biggest challenge for him is to keep and form the things which are already present in his mind and to bring them up to the surface in the shape of a melody or another part of a song.
After a couple of EPs and singles, TEED’s first full-length album “Trouble” will be released June 8th now. Due to the fact that finishing and releasing an album is quite different from releasing “just” an EP or a single I was wondering how it feels for Orlando having completed such a big project. He describes it as a very odd feeling, because he worked about a year and a half on the album and it determined his complete everyday life and his whole thinking in this time, which means that it left kind of a big hole after he finished the work on it.
Even though many artists, especially in the electronic and dance genre, are just releasing singles and EPs nowadays, Orlando still considers the album as an up to date art form and the right artistic step in his career by now. On the one hand, to represent his current artistic status in its entirety, on the other hand to contextualize moods and atmospheres which is only partially possible on shorter formats like EPs and single.
Another big change is, that “Trouble” will be released by Polydor after the previous releases have been out on the indie label Greco Roman. Orlando explains that he regards Greco Roman as a great platform and a fantastic springboard for young artists, but with the album he thought that it takes a bigger company to achieve more, which means that the contract with Polydor seems to be the right step at the right time for him.
Nevertheless he also said in a recent interview that he considers the music industry as a crazy and competition-driven business. Asked for this quote he explains, that in his opinion there are too many people working in the music business without any or just a little understanding of music as an art form. In his opinion these people are just into the business for making money and producing music which hasn’t got anything to do with the original idea of music anymore. This sort of music just shall sell and be successful in a commercial way only.
I’ll just ask the next question, when TEED’s promoter kindly asks me to end the interview. Asked for one last thing he wants to tell the bushwah! readers Orlando thinks about it for some seconds, finally laughs and says “Just tell them to buy the album. That’s all.”
We finally take some quick portraits, shake hands and say good-bye. What a great interview, but something feels wrong. I can’t tell what it is and start packing my gear, load my car again and drive back to the office. On the ride I’m still wondering what might have gone wrong and it dawns me that something with the audio recording of the interview could have failed. But why? I checked it before and everything worked perfectly, but I’m still worried. Back on my desk I immediately start uploading the recorded files to my computer and indeed there’s almost no sound on the recordings. Damn! Shit! Arrrghhh!
So, you finally know why this isn’t a video interview and all the stuff you read above is the result of the tiny bits of sound which I was able to understand despite the damage and the rest has been reconstructed from memory. Darn my luck!
Oh well, the reason for the corrupt audio was a broken microphone cable. Stupid little piece of crap! Next time I’ll bring a typewriter to an interview.
Photo on top © bushwah! Photos middle & bottom PR TEED.