We were lucky enough to sit down and have a chat with Detroit Social Club front man David Burn while the band were in town on the 'New To Q' tour.
When we get to the Newcastle Academy, the venue for our interview with fellow townsmen Detroit Social Club, it is Geordie hospitality at its finest.
While we wait for front man David Burn to wrap up his interview with a national newspaper, we're offered refreshment's by Ross the band's tour manager, to which we decline with thanks.
Minutes later we're saying a brief hello to David who, before he pops off for a couple of minutes to quickly find out how the sound check was going again offers us our pick of the refreshments on offer in the room.
Making ourselves as comfortable as one can on the lowest sofa's in existence we patiently wait for him to return as various other members of Detroit Social Club seek refuge in the room before being ushered out so as to let us begin the interview.
Currently, when we speak with David, Detroit Social Club are on the 'New To Q' tour alongside Goldhawks and Tiffany Page. Two shows into the tour and we were curious as to how it has been thus far.
“It's been interesting,” David admits “The first show in Manchester there were a lot of delays so we went on an hour late. Which is never a good thing. Not from our point of view, but people have paid for tickets and we're telling them we're on stage at 10, and we don't go on stage until 11 it looks bad on us. So didn't get off to a great start. Then Glasgow last night was weird. It was a good gig and we enjoyed it but it was like weird. I don't know, the bands are quite varied that are on the tour, so you've got a big mix of fan base. Do you know what I mean? They're not similar bands, so everyone doesn't love every band, it's been good fun anyway. A bit weird but tonight hopefully will make up for it.”
Tonight's show is in Newcastle the bands home town.
“Aye, it's always class like aye.” he nods looking forward to playing the home crowd “It's always great. The last one we did was brilliant it was like, it's normally the end of the tour that we're playing Newcastle but it was put at the beginning for some reason this one.”
What can be expected from a Detroit Social Club show?
“Loads of noise, loads of passion, just to have a really good time.”
The band's album 'Existence' is released on May 31st. Something which has by admission been a long time in coming.
“I think its more kind of relief than excitement” David explains about getting the album out to the masses “Its kind of like knowing that we've been working on it so long, and its been such a long time coming, its good to finally have like the light at the end of the tunnel finally coming into vision, and you're like there it is, its within touching distance.”
“We finished our sound recording last June, and we finished it [the album] probably about February, so because we've kind of been in that flux period where we finished the album, we don't want to be doing another tour straight away after we've done the last one, so it's been a bit of an awkward period, so we're looking forward to getting that out and then people will hear the album, and they'll either like it or they won't. At least then we know either way.”
Prior to the release of the album, a four-track EP was released at the beginning of March entitled 'Kiss The Sun' which allowed the band not only to gauge reaction to their forthcoming record, but also allowed the fans an insight into what to look forward to and it seemed that the EP went down well.
“Really good,” David tells us was the reaction to the EP “It was it's kind of weird, when you're a new band and you do EP releases you never can go into the charts or anything like that. Its kind of just for the reviews and the bit of press that you get, and we got like 5 out of 5 in the News of The World, 4 out of 5 in The Sun, and some really good reviews. We got some shit reviews as well but I would rather polarise people then I'd rather people hated us than just thought we were all right. Because at least then we're stirring a bit of passion in them.”
So with these reviews and the positive responses from people and the press, for the band themselves, do they hope the album is going to do just as well as the EP?
“Aye, I think. Obviously I want people to love it and for people to pass it on and however they do that for people to come along to gigs and obviously enjoy our music. That's as a songwriter, that's what you always hope's going to happen.”
But what of the album?
“It's kind of, its quite an eclectic mix of music.” David explains “Its got quite different sorts of genres in there, but we hope to see that people see that as a good thing. As a positive thing rather than thinking its putting some negative connotation to it. Its quite personal, its quite exposing, its quite revealing I suppose. But I think if music's going to be authentic and its going to be genuine; which there's not many bands doing right now, you've got to be prepared to put yourself on a pedestal a little bit and reveal a little bit about yourself.”
The album 'Existence', in itself if quite a record. Very anthemic and atmospheric, it has a massive sound to it, but was that planned?
“I don't know, I don't really plan things. When we're recording stuff you kind of just make decisions like little decisions along the way and then when they're answered by the end of it you've kind of got what you've got.”
“It's a bit like life. You don't plan where you want to be when you're 65 you kind of just cross bridges when you come to it. When you've got that decision to go to uni or to do an apprenticeship or to sit on the dole, and you make all these decisions and ultimately that's where you are. And its the same with music. When we started the recording there was a decision to make and we made it and it's ended up what it is, so we're quite happy with it.”
With these decisions during the course of recording being made, was there or rather is there much in way of a writing process?
“Its changed a little bit recently,” David admits “Actually it used to be just messing about with sounds and experimenting with different sounds, and getting in the studio and just messing about with beats and samples, and all that and then putting bass lines on. And maybe it got put to the side for a few months and then I would find it and do a little bit more, put some guitar on it and then put it away and it wouldn't get touched for a year. But recently its been a little bit more, because I've got less time, because its quite a time consuming way to do it, its been a lot more sort of traditional, sitting with a guitar and writing words like that. Just mix it up really depending on how you're feeling at the time.”
Where does the inspiration come from for these grand, anthemic songs?
“It depends because there's like 2 dimensions to music. I mean there's obviously lyrical and its kind of changed, I'm into a lot of like existentialist kind of literature, but then I like romantic poets like Keats and Blake and all that sort of stuff. Because anything that sort of instigates your mind into questioning things about yourself and stuff like that is always quite like literary for me anyway and musically? I don't know I've always been in love with like [the] 60's like Joe Meek and Phil Spectre and people like that and obviously Mo-town sounds, gaudy sound so I suppose from there as well.”
Could it be said that you can hear this influence coming across in the music?
“Not directly. I don't think you'd listen to our records and go he loves Phil Spectre or Joe Meek but you can definitely sit and sort of see the comparisons if they were pointed out to you, and you could understand them. I think that bombastic that kind of big anthemic full on sound probably comes from my love of the Spectre era, the Mo-town era, that kind of thing. That whole 60's movement where everything was as big as it could possibly be. So there's certainly elements and I think a kind of gospel nature on a lot of the choruses like the group vocals all of that comes from there as well.”
With all of those influences and styles coming through, it would be easy to listen to the album and enjoy it as a whole entity. However, having been a main part in writing it is there a track that could be cited as a personal favourite?
“Probably 'Chemistry'. We were recording the album down in Wales and I'd been away from home for like four weeks and I've got a little 4 year old – we'll she's coming up four – year old girl. Kind of obviously missed her like mad and sat in the room one day, drunk and just let them get on with recording and wrote the song. And then the next day, the next morning I was sat working on it and one of the lads heard me and asked 'oh what's that?' and I said 'oh it's a new song I've been working on', and he kind of forced me to play it for the lad who was producing it with me, and he said we need to put it on the album because it's a great song. So that's probably my favourite.”
Detroit Social Club formed in Newcastle back in 2007, consisting of David Burn, Dale Knight, David Welsh, Johnny Bond, Chris McCourtie and David Green.
“I was recording loads of songs. I had a studio and there was no one in the studio. I was just messing about with different ideas and from the back of that, done a Myspace, kind of got a lot of hype around it with local journalists and things, and of the back of that got a load of national press and got managers and record labels interested. But everyone sort of said we need to hear it live, so I got the band together to kind of play the ideas live.” David explains how the band came to form, before being momentarily interrupted by someone pushing the door open and then closing it again. “They open the door and then just go straight away its like what? Why?” he states slightly frustrated before returning to what he was saying.
“So it kind of came off the back of that really it was a bit arse-over-tit. It was the egg before the chicken really.””
The six-piece have ultimately grown over the few years they've been together into something that seems likely to move swiftly onto bigger things. But for the most part they are still relatively new to many people, so for those who don't know we asked if he could tell us a little about the band.
“Music wise? Kind of big, unashamedly big.” He begins “Possibly epic but I hate when people use that word because what the fuck does that mean? Believable, authentic, genuine, thought-provoking. What five words would you use?” he asks us.
Deciding after a moments pause to use anthemic, we're stumped as to what words would some them up appropriately.
“Sometimes its weird when you're put on the spot like that isn't it? Right we'll just go with anthemic then.” he laughs.
Not one to be deterred we try and think, listening to the band you can definitely hear the anthemic connotation, but it must be pointed out that the album at times, we feel at least, could be compared to a film score.
“Is it? Oh well that's definitely good. What's your favourite song?”
Without blinking we say 'Prophecy', knowing it is the single, but for us being the one that we enjoy the most out of the whole album.
“The one that stands out?” he asks before nodding at our affirmative answer “Good, fair do's.”
As we approach summer, the band are scheduled to play a number of festivals. Glastonbury and Japan are 2 of the ones that we know they are looking forward to. With festivals in a way being the main part of any and all bands touring schedules during this time of year, is it something that they enjoy?
“I love them aye,” David nods “I think playing gigs is good, but when you play a festival its just like [more] atmosphere. Everyone's there for a good time. Everyone wants to have a good time at a gig but they've got to go to work the next day so how happy could they actually be? Whereas festivals everyone's kind of under the influence as well, everyone's just a lot happier.”
“We always love playing them we don't necessarily get under the influence obviously, but I think we're suited as well. I think, like you said, the anthemic sound and the big sound and having a big stage kind of suits that. If you've ever seen like a band on a tiny little stage and there's this massive sound it just doesn't look right, does it? It's not right. So I think we suit the bigger stage anyway and it gives me enough room to walk around and throw my arms around everywhere without hitting anyone.”
Have you hit people before?
“Loads of times,” he nods “I've knocked guitars out of tune and all that sort of stuff.”
Given that the band have played a fair number of shows in the few years they've been together, is there one that stands out as being the favourite?
“Favourite show? It's weird for no reason, it's strange.” David begins to explain, “The answer I probably should give you is probably when we supported Oasis on their last ever gig, or the first festival we ever did., but just for actual sheer enjoyment it would either be my first gig that we did at The Other Rooms a couple of years ago, or weirdly and I don't know why, it would be when we supported Jet at Leeds Uni. Don't ask me why, it was just kind of you know one of those nights were everything was going for you, its like a football team. Notts County can beat Glasgow Rangers you know what I mean? Its because they're having a good day of it. And it was just a good gig, probably the most enjoyable.”
In terms of touring can we look forward to another headline tour?
“We've done like three up to now. We've done one just in February, which went really well, we really enjoyed it. But I think now we've toured a lot before the album release and we haven't released that many recordings, so we've kind of outstayed our welcome a little bit. But in terms of the tour I think this tour is kind of possibly one too many before the album drops, before people can fall in love with all the songs. So, I think we'll probably be playing again probably after the festivals, maybe September or something.”
With their summer playing festivals and the album out at the end of May. What's next for Detroit Social Club?
“Good question.” he pauses momentarily “Who knows? Hopefully do a really good headline tour in September, release a good few singles, hopefully they'll go down well. We're getting some really really good feedback from TV syncing, there's a possibility that we're getting used on Sky Sports, like the Soccer Sunday, so just keep on getting good reviews and keep on enjoying it really that's all you can hope for. And if you try and plan for anything other than that, you're looking too much into it I think.”