Shitdisco on playing Thailand: "They asked us how long we wanted to go for... two months!"
Having just dropped their new record Kingdom Of Fear in the UK through Fierce Panda, Shitdisco are currently enjoying riding the wave of bleeps ‘n’ guitars love that’s sweeping through our fair nation. Though nooo rave may be derided as a British-only concern, the band have already managed to spread their wings and word much farther afield.
Halfway through their headline tour of the UK, we catch up with Shitdisco sticksmith Darren Cullen as he tells us how hi-jinx on tour almost curtailed his band’s adventure into Thailand.
“We went over there in November last year,” says Darren, “and before that we were on tour with Klaxons. But in the middle of that tour, in Birmingham, I fell off the tour bus and broke my wrist. I was shitting myself - we had gigs in New York before we went off to Thailand too, and I said to the doctor, ‘you have to fix this’.”
Clearly it wasn’t going to happen in time. “I said to the promoters in Thailand, ‘look, I broke my wrist’,” utters the ‘disco drummer, still clearly traumatised by the ‘booze + stupidity = screwing up your most exciting set of shows ever’ equation, “and they said, ‘You’re still going to come, aren’t you?’
“Eventually we got Luke Smith (Clor, Kingdom Of Fear producer) to help me out. We did it all the day before I flew. He programmed all the drum beats on to a CD. All I actually did when I was out there was press play and then ran about the stage hitting a cowbell.”
Impressive stuff. So, the main question on people’s lips as they read this is: how the hell did Shitdisco get booked to play in Thailand? The answer is almost inevitable:
“I think it was the internet – MySpace,” muses Darren, wide eyed. “They just sent us a message, trying to book us, and we thought, ‘that’s ridiculous’.
“It shocked us to think – with the stage we were at then, and that we’re at now – that you could travel round the world and play if you didn’t have an LP out and hadn’t achieved success in your own country. The rest of the festival was all native bands – I don’t know why they chose us to go out there!
“They initially asked us how long we wanted to go out for and we said, ‘are you sure that’s a good idea? – umm, two months!’. But we were out there for ten days. They properly looked after us.
“They put us up at an amazing five-star hotel, and then after the gig took us out to this festival – the Fat Festival – and then took us out to an island for three days. Then we played a headline show and a DJ gig.”
So what does a festival in Bangkok look like? Lots of crusty white dudes and over privileged gap year students called Cynthia monging about on pills to the dance-rock revolution?
“Actually, It was a real indigenous crowd at the festival – 10,000 people watching our stage. It’s a bit daunting - it was the biggest gig we’ve ever played, and I ran around not sure what to do with myself, and during the set I naturally managed to fall over.”
And no-one was utterly confused by your blending of early-Prodigy bits and running round with guitars?
“We went down really well – our other headline gig sold out. Initially they were a bit perplexed, though.”
How does your music compare to what’s popular over there?
“Well, music in Bangkok is heavily influenced by Oasis and mid-‘90s British guitar stuff, and our music is, like, 160bpm for each song, but eventually I think they loved it”, considers Darren. “I mean, they do primarily like their rock - one of the bands might have someone rapping and mixing things up - but mainly it’s very western – globalisation and mono culture takes over!”
Shitdisco are on tour at the moment. DiS will be further exploring musical culture in the East over the coming month through our DiS Goes East sub-site – click here to pay it a visit.
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