The Departure

Talking Dirty With David

Northampton band The Departure have made a startlingly quick rise to fame by anyone’s standards. Less than a year ago they were just like you and I, but now they’ve had top 40 hits with “Lump In My Throat” an “All Mapped Out” (twice), released their first full length album (“Dirty Words”), worked with legendary producer Alan Moulder, been on world tours and played at Wembley! All this from a band that hadn’t even formed this time last year! So, we got in touch with frontman David Jones to see if they really DID have it all mapped out:

AD: Hi David, how was Japan?

DJ: It was really good, and a bit of a shock as well actually, because the whole place is just so unbelievably clean. There are huge buildings there – about twice as big as I’d imagined – and everyone there is so efficient that it’s unreal! The people were amazing, and in the place we stayed at, all the girls dress up as Little Red Riding Hood and other fairytale characters, so that gave it a surreal edge too.

AD: And less than a year ago, you hadn’t even formed the band yet! How does a band from a relatively unfashionable town like Northampton become a top 30 act in such a short space of time? (Note to readers from Northants – I’m not knocking your town – I was born and raised there myself!)

DJ: I think it was important that we were all on the same page of the book, you know? We all had the same common vision, coupled with a bit of ambition and hard work…

AD: But how did you push yourselves forward?

DJ: Well, first and foremost, we had to make sure that the songs were good enough, and that we didn’t overcomplicate things. Once we were happy with that aspect, we didn’t hold back – we gigged and gigged, and we were quite bolshy with the record companies. I rang 118 (UK Directory Enquiries) and got contact numbers for the right people at Polydor and Island and other labels and I think our “attitude” paid off.

AD: Since then your profile has risen dramatically – to the extent that, within seven months of formation, you played Wembley! What kind of an experience was that?

DJ: Oh that was a WICKED experience, and we got to meet Robert Smith as well, which alone made the experience worthwhile. To hear that many people enjoying and singing along with your songs is just astonishing. That’s probably the highlight of our career to date – that and hearing the final mix and tracklisting of the album. That felt like a real achievement.

AD: But then the date of the album’s release kept changing…

DJ: Well, it was only pushed back a couple of times, but that was mainly down to us anyway. We were just conscious of the fact that we hadn’t been touring very long, and we wanted more people to hear us before we put it out.

AD: How was it working with Alan Moulder?

DJ: It was awesome. He’s a real nice guy but also quite humble. He’ll listen to what you want but he’ll keep you grounded. You aren’t given time to get too carried away with it all. He really was great and I just can’t fault the guy.

AD: What do you think about all these comparisons with Jarvis Cocker that you get?

DJ: I’m not sure really. I mean, I don’t think I LOOK at all like him, or even SOUND like him. I do ASPIRE to be like him though because he is after all a modern day lyrical genius. So I suppose it’s flattering more than anything else.

AD: Name the album that changed your life.

DJ: Definitely Depeche Mode’s “Violator”. I hadn’t really ever heard anything quite so dark and eerie in my life, and it opened my eyes and ears to new possibilities in the way we make our music.

AD: Ok, to finish off, what’s the best way to listen to “Dirty Words”?

DJ: I think the perfect scenario would be to listen to it in the twilight, because there’s so much romantic despair in there. At the same time, it has moments that are very diverse and energetic, but the whole thing would definitely work under the stars on a summer night.

Aaaah. What an old romantic. And he’s right – I wouldn’t be surprised if many couples in years to come refer to this as “our album”, before realizing they actually want to poke out each other’s eyeballs with a garden rake.

The Departure’s album is out right now at all clued up record shops and online stores.

Interview - Tone E



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