When Alex Trimble leads Two Door Cinema Club onto that headline stage in Finsbury Park for Community Festival this summer, there’s no denying its importance and timing. One that comes out of a period that started with self-doubt and has ended in a triumph that’s reaffirmed their status as one of the truly great British bands carving infectious indie hooks for packed out crowds.
Finsbury Park is the sort of moment of which most bands can only dream – when you get to that big outdoor headliner, you know you’re tied into something special. For Two Door, it’s the natural next step for a band in the sweet spot of discovering new ground, continuing to experiment and push at the walls that once surrounded them. In a literal sense too, it’s pretty grand for Alex.
“I moved to North London last year, so it’s kinda on my doorstep,” he laughs. “Which is a very strange feeling to know that I’m going to be playing to over 30,000 people ten minutes down the road. It’s a very exciting opportunity but also a daunting one, y’know? It’s a complex thing to arrange in our heads.”
Two Door Cinema Club in 2018 are a band reborn. Reborn by a record like ‘Gameshow’, coming out of a time full of challenges and difficulties, and coming to terms with the rapid rise that followed their first two albums. Sizzling indie adulation came, but for them as people – it was a drastic shift which had its implications.
Alex doesn’t hide where they found themselves, explaining how the long break was “because we weren’t sure whether we were going to continue”. ‘Gameshow’, and the 18 months since, have been a revelation.
“That record was such a big moment for us,” he recalls, looking back with a fondness on the time since then. “We went from not knowing what we were doing to taking a bit of a leap, taking things further and experimenting more. Putting it out and not having everyone run away. It’s nice to put so much of yourself into something and have it received well. If anything it’s spurred us on a little bit more to try and go further on this next one.”
Last summer was full of highs for the Bangor trio, “probably the best summer we’ve had,” confirms Alex, setting the stage for the future. Headlining Finsbury Park provides the perfect moment to look back at where they’ve come, and the journey they’ve gone through since playing around each other’s houses every day, to festival-filling giants.
Debut album ‘Tourist History’ still zips with a classic urgency, a snapshot of guitar music rising out of the crash of the later 00s, while follow-up ‘Beacon’ – albeit a period that the band “don’t look back on fondly, I don’t think we were in the best place” – showed their vision. Over 10 years later, they’ve not just grown as a band, but as people too.
“Kevin and Sam are married now,” points out Alex, “and we’re living in different places so it does change how you work. Since the last record we’ve fallen into a way of working that works really well for us, it involves a lot of getting together when we can, or when we’re all in London and sending things across on email.”
It finds Two Door in a position that works for everyone. Gone are the days of non-stop touring and schedules filled to the brim, they’ve learnt to take care of themselves fully, and it’s something easy to spot when they now kick into gear on stage, as Alex details.
“A little bit of time and experience shows what you want and what you don’t want out of it. We’re really in a place, that now, instead of dreading going back on the road it’s actually an exciting prospect.”
Written across every move, is this idea that Two Door now exist in a world entirely of their own. No longer competing or caught up in a rat-race of more, more, more – they’ve glided into place as a band operating on exactly what they want to do.
“We’ve never really run with the crowd, I guess you can say,” contemplates Alex, “and being out there and doing things our own is kinda how we like it. It is sometimes hard to not find it defeating when you’re, especially in today’s climate, where things can just get lost, and music is so fast and disposable in a way, people move on so quickly with streaming and everything. It’s a very exciting time to be doing this because nobody knows the answer, and that’s exceptionally exciting.”
After the heights and new ground claimed with ‘Gameshow’, Community is set to be a line in the sand, a band embracing their position from the past, present and future.
“How to explain it,” mulls Alex, “I guess it’s a stop-gap between records – it’s the end of ‘Gameshow’ and the beginning of what comes next. We’re still thinking about how we’re going to put the show together. We are starting to get some new songs on the table and thinking about this new show but whatever it’s going to be – it’s not going to be quite what ‘Gameshow’ was, and it’s not going to be quite what the next thing is.”
What comes next is a line on everyone’s lips. Two Door’s reinvention that came from ‘Gameshow’ lays the door wide open for what they do next. In wiping the slate clean, painting and sculpting their next move is an exciting one – with Alex flying in between London and LA to work on album number four.
They’ve even managed to spend the year looking back on one of their first releases, ‘Four Words To Stand On’ – an early EP packing soon-to-be classic bangers like ‘Undercover Martyn’ and ‘Cigarettes In The Theatre’.
“I hadn’t even thought about it for years and years; it was actually our management. They emailed us one day and said, ‘You know it’s almost been ten years since that came out?’ Which is a crazy thought because we’re all still in our 20s.
“It was nice to listen to it; I think the most inspiring thing and encouraging thing was realising how far we’ve come since then. There aren’t a lot of bands or artists out there who are given the opportunity or the space to develop in that way, so it made us feel very lucky that we’d been afforded that opportunity.
“I mean, whether we were afforded it or we just took it without asking, we’re not sure. It was probably a combination of both!” cracks Alex.
It’s a jubilant spirit for a frontman looking ahead with renewed energy and figure, emerging from a time where the fate of the band was up in the air and now stronger than ever.
“We’ve been putting together the new record since the beginning of the year, so it’s getting to the point that we’re dipping into the studio, getting stuff down and it’s getting to a really exciting stage.
“I feel like it always takes a long time for us to realise what the record is going to be and going to become, and it’s got to that stage where the record is beginning to form in front of us now. We’re getting an idea of where we’re going which is great.”
Landmark moments? Why, that’s just another day for Two Door Cinema Club. A new era is about to begin, roll the film.
Community takes place at Finsbury Park, London on 1st July. Other bands playing include The Vaccines, You Me At Six, Circa Waves, Rat Boy, Sundara Karma, Marmozets, Pale Waves, Bad Sounds, King Nun, Ten Tonnes, Tom Grennan, Yungblud, Belako and Sam Fender.