Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: 'I got knocked out by a lampshade at Glastonbury'
We chat to Orlando Higginbottom about his prehistoric project
It’s happened. We’re all in the shit. We have less cash than prospects, Valentine’s Day is creeping up
on us like that 4am club letch and when we turn for that miserablist band that encapsulates a generation’s gloom we
get the sodding White Lies.
So it’s decision time: do we turn into a Orwellian grey workaholic who counts pennies and listens to ‘Ritual’ everyday or do we riot and party like modern day Butch Cassidys and Sundance Kids, wiping bogeys on the suits of businessman and havin’ it proper for 46 hours a weekend?
The answer should be sitting excitedly on your tongue - it's a no-brainer. We’ve even gone out and found a leader for the madness - Orlando Higginbottom - the 20-something dance producer known better as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
“I got knocked out by a lampshade at Glastonbury,” Orlando tells us, choosing to remain silent about some of his other festival shenanigans, “somebody charged at me with a lampshade on their head and knocked me out.” It certainly sounds better than going out for a large glass of white from a tap in a Yates wine lodge doesn’t it?
Just as they did in the early 90s, dance music and raves could provide the remedy for humdrum conundrum of debt and unemployment. The first time round it was new, exciting and even spiritual but this time Orlando, under his Totally guise, is trying to make it fun even to the point of wearing a dinosaur suit to play live.
“When you have a magic night out, or even a shit night out, and you go and see a shit DJ, that can also be quite inspiring,” he says, “you're like ‘Oh wow, I want to make some music that sounds completely different from that!’”
Luckily he’s got the right people around him. Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, a man with “ears you can definitely trust”, has nabbed him for Greco-Roman records, a company with the motto: “We release colourful music because we dance in the dark.”
“I’m sure I’m going to get some Hot Chip rip-off comparisons,” Orlando concedes, “but with Hot Chip, I don’t actually have any of their music. I know it, but it’s not something I’m listening to. It has influenced me by proxy or maybe it has made me feel like I’m allowed to like vocal dance tracks.”
If David Guetta can smear the charts and fill the Tesco shelves with his look-at-who-sings-on-this-house-smash, then TEED can certainly get away with a vocal or two. But does it sound like Hot Chip? Well, not entirely. It’s more Pop Chip. Orlando has a penance for the bubbling basslines, building keys and a glossy finish. The likes TEED’s ‘Garden’ are more garage-driven than the smoothness of ‘Over And Over’.
With that pop-edge, it’s no wonder Darwin Deez has invited him as support for his upcoming tour. “He was writing really quite clever pop songs and putting together a really entertaining live show,” Orlando gushes about the Deezster, “I think it’s brilliant. It’s not important for bands to do something brand spanking new and mind-blowing musically.”
Quite right, but in the age of the internet, the iPhone and the need for instantaneous musical self-gratification, the game rules have been altered slightly. “When I was a teenager, I used to like coming back from a night out, going to bed, putting on my headphones and listening to my favourite album from beginning to end without having pressing skip, without choosing tracks and that was a real pleasure,” says Orlando. “But I didn’t have the option of picking and choosing the tracks, now with option of listening to exactly what they want to listen to, of course people are going to skip out the weird skips and stuff. If DJ Shadow brought out ‘Endtroducing’ now, would it be a big album? Would people pick up on it? Would all the tracks be big? Would everybody know the skits like they do now?”
Has technology killed off the classic album? Or even just the album? If so, the tracks that Orlando selects for his TEED debut will be even more crucial. He’s already “got loads of music” for his first LP lined up but it is how he decides to present it that is causing the headache.
“An EP is cool, because you can do one pop record, one dance record and one slightly weird record,” he tells VF. “With an album you’ve got 12 or 13 tracks. How many of them am I going to aim at DJs? How many am I going to aim at the radio? What kind of balance am I going to give that? Then, how many people are going to buy it on CD? Probably fuck all. By the time it comes out HMV will probably be a skip company.”
That’s why racking up the reputation of the live show is more essential in 2011 than it has ever been. So don’t worry Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs will be around a fair bit this summer. “I’ve got quite a few [festivals] lined up, it’s going to be very busy,” Orlando divulges excitedly, “I’m hoping to do two or three a weekend.”
Plenty of time for more strange going-ons then? “I went down a rabbit hole one year at Glastonbury and came out in a boxing ring,” Orlando says, “that was weird.” It sounds like it.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is set to play Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in London tonight (3 February) before he begins his tour with Darwin Deez on 24 February.
Head to the Virtual Festivals Ones To Watch page for more.