The Ting Tings’ sophomore album will be an eclectic, genre-spanning affair that shuns big name collaborations in favor of the band’s trademark DIY sound, the U.K. group tells Billboard.biz.
The Columbia-signed band’s debut record “We Started Nothing” sold over 2 million copies worldwide, according to its label. The Manchester-based group was also nominated for best new artist at the 2010 Grammy Awards, while the singles “That’s Not My Name” and “Shut Up And Let Me Go” hit No. 39 and No. 55 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. “That’s Not My Name” was a U.K. No. 1 single with “We Started Nothing” also reaching the top spot on the U.K. album charts.
The band’s self-produced follow-up was recorded in Berlin’s arty quarter of Friedrichshain earlier this year and is set to drop internationally January 2011. The first single to be lifted off the as-yet-untitled album, the Calvin Harris-mixed “Hands,” was released in the U.K. Oct.11.
“I think we’ve made quite a unique album because we were in Berlin and we were quite isolated,” singer Katie White says. “Nobody would come and visit us so we had a good few months where we just wrote songs and if it started to sound like TLC we just went: ‘Fuck it. Let’s run with it.’ So every track on the album sounds completely different to the one that went before it.”
“It sounds nothing like the first album,” White goes on to say. “It’s the weirdest album… we might have one song that sounds like a TLC ballad, [another] which is a bit Depeche Mode and then we’ll have another one that’s glam rock-esque. Every song is completely different. It’s really random.”
“Everybody who hears our album says: ‘It’s so Berlin.’ But we don’t really know what that means,” she continues. “[Berlin] definitely put a dark mood on it in some places and we have some songs that are quite depressing. But then we have other songs that are so obviously brazen pop songs, where you just want to dance around and not think about it too much, as well.”
Jay-Z, Rihanna Collaborations ‘Mooted’
White and her band mate Jules De Martino also revealed that despite being approached by a number of big name artists wanting to collaborate with the group, they have so far declined all offers.
“We met a lot of people that wanted to work with us and we were almost tempted to go down a few avenues with various people, but Katie said that she felt nervous doing that because we made our first record very DIY and we were doing that again,” De Martino says. “If we started collaborating [with other acts] everything gets a bit polished and smart and maybe that’s not our way,” he continues.
Asked if there was any truth in the previously reported stories about Jay-Z and Rihanna requesting to work with the band, De Martino says that collaborations with both artists were briefly mooted but never really progressed beyond “hanging out and talking about music.” The Ting Tings is managed Roc Nation, which is joint owned by Jay-Z and Live Nation.
“We wanted to make this record first and get on with what we do best and be creative independently,” De Martino adds. “I think once this record is established and we’re out touring it, we’re not adverse to the idea of doing a single or something with some of those people.”
Earlier this month, the Ting Tings partnered with Tommy Hilfiger to promote the launch of its new unisex “Loud” fragrance. The promo features a new Ting Tings song, entitled “We’re Not The Same.” It is not yet confirmed if the track will appear on the Ting Tings’ second album, which the band jokingly said they were considering calling “Kunst” in an interview with U.K. music mag NME published earlier this year.
“We’re still holding back on our title because we’ve got a couple of names in mind, but that’s a possibility,” says De Martino. “Right next to the studio in Berlin there is a massage parlor called Massage Kunst. We took a picture of us standing outside it with Katie’s arm up over the S and sent it to the label saying: ‘Here’s the front sleeve.’ It didn’t go down too well.”