For Two Door Cinema Club, which will release second album "Beacon" on Sept. 4 on Glassnote Records, two or three years is a long time. Since the Northern Irish three-piece's 2010 debut, "Tourist History," the band has spent two years on the road and became powerfully affected by its traveling experiences.
"We're different people than we were," singer/guitarist Alex Trimble says from his home in London. "It was only three years, but when we wrote our first record we were teenagers living at home with our parents. [Touring] affected what kind of music we wanted to make. We always make positive music and we like music that you can dance to, but we also want to move away slightly from the really fast-paced stuff. We've slowed things down a little."
This evolution may seem abrupt placing the albums side by side, but Two Door Cinema Club's career has been based on the idea of gradual growth. Glassnote president Daniel Glass explains that the band's debut was "unfurled" in a way that would encourage the buildup of a fan base, and that the new album has a marketing plan that extends through the end of 2013. "It's been a nice slow but steady trajectory," he says.
One of the key elements in transitioning from "Tourist History," which spawned five singles and has sold 134,000 copies (according to Nielsen SoundScan), to "Beacon" was the careful selection of a lead track. Though the album was mostly written the year before recording started in Los Angeles with producer Jacknife Lee, two tracks -- "Sleep Alone" and "Handshake" -- had been penned before the entire vision for the new record was solidified. In the end, however, "Sleep Alone" was not only the most musically compelling choice, but also the most logical.
"Those were in-between songs we wrote in our little pockets of downtime," Trimble says. "In some ways, they felt closer to 'Tourist History' than to what we were doing on 'Beacon.' For that reason, 'Sleep Alone' felt like a transitional track. We thought it would be perfect to release one of those first, to lead people from one record into the other."
"Beacon" is, in many ways, centered on these past two years of touring. Trimble says the lyrics focus on traveling, and the ultimate aim was to craft an album with the same cinematic quality that Two Door Cinema Club's live shows embrace. As a result, it makes sense that Glass, who considers the band's 2010 performance at the United Kingdom's Reading Festival as its turning point, feels that touring is the best form of album promotion.
"When you see them live, it's really a convincing argument," he says. "We're a live company, basically. If you look at the past five years of our company, I think we have the best live bands, and our job is to get people to hear our bands. That's our simple marketing plan, whether it's Phoenix, Mumford & Sons or a newer band. So with this, we want people to see the band."
Two Door Cinema Club played more than 200 shows last year and has international and U.S. dates booked through next April. There's a second single on the horizon, but Trimble, who performed at the London Olympics' opening ceremony with Underworld, won't reveal what it is.
"We want there to be a bit of mystery in this record," Trimble says. "[It] heads off in so many different directions, and we like the idea of surprising people with each single that we release."