MUSIC – All systems Djan-go!

DJANGO DJANGO'S main man Dave Maclean has discovered a problem with his band's success – they can't find time to start a new album!

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Dave Maclean, Vincent Neff, Jimmy Dixon and Tommy Grace, of Django Django, at the nominations ceremony for the  Barclaycard Mercury Prize
Dave Maclean, Vincent Neff, Jimmy Dixon and Tommy Grace, of Django Django, at the nominations ceremony for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize

The Edinburgh group, now based in London, had a fantastic 2012, and will start 2013 by headlining the NME Awards Tour, including an O2 Academy gig on Monday.

But Dave's keen to begin work on some fresh ideas.

"It's all been a bit of a blur," he says.

"I think we thought we'd wrap up this album quite a while back, but the momentum kept going and the year got busier and busier, and there's no sign of it slowing yet, which is a good thing as it means the album is doing well.

"But we're dying to get back into the studio and work on some new stuff. We've got more and more things bubbling up now, but it's difficult to know what direction to push things in until we actually get the live stuff out the way."

One big change for the next album will be that the Djangos will approach it as a full band, after their Mercury Music Prize nominated debut was mostly recorded by just Dave and singer Vince Neff. Now rounded out as a full quartet, the former art school students have improved as a live act, thanks to a host of shows.

Their O2 ABC appearance last October saw a host of gig-goers dancing non-stop, and Dave feels the band always set out to get a good time going.

"I'd hesitate to say we're a party band but we have been DJ-ing for a long time and through that I think we've got a bit of practice at how to work a crowd," he explains.

"But we want the live show to be danceable, fun and high energy, while still being grounded in the songs and the feel of the band.

"I wouldn't say we're crazy onstage, but we do enjoy it. It's not exactly showgaze – a lot of our influences are disco or house music and that's about having a good time."

Now they're bringing that vibe to this year's NME Tour, where they'll be joined by Miles Kane, Palma Violets and Peace, who have landed the prestigious opening slot that's been played by the likes of the Coral, Coldplay and Kaiser Chiefs in the past.

The magazine itself is often criticised for supporting and over-hyping a certain type of guitar band, but Dave reckons that's an unfair claim.

"I think people read too much into these things," he says.

"NME are really good at covering a lot of different music. There's a self fulfilling prophecy that if you cover bands a lot they'll do well, the same as Radio 1, but they do so much for new bands and new music."

Dave does admit he was more a reader of dance magazines like Mixmag when a teenager, but that the NME did help to shape his youth.

While speaking about his music culture growing up he admits he's less fond of the ailing record store HMV, which is currently in administration.

"I think there's more important things to worry about than HMV," he says.

"There's things going on in politics or the amount of poor people out there starving, that would worry me more than a record shop going bust.

"It's just one of those things – CD's are obsolete and so are DVDs, so I don't see how they can make money. I feel sorry for the people who are losing their jobs, but I can't say I'll miss it personally."

The prospect of the tour itself is a happier topic, however.

"To be headlining it is a huge thing, it's not something we thought we'd be asked to do yet. It's one of those things where you have to accept the challenge and go with it-

"We've had enough practice at playing live now that it's taken on a new thing that's separate from the album. It's a fuller sound the band have now, as it's different going from playing in the back-room of a pub to big venues."

n NME Awards Tour, O2 Academy, Monday, £19, 7pm.

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