After surprising even themselves with their debut record Tourist History, which took home the Choice Music Prize for top album in their native Ireland, alternative-rock trio Two Door Cinema Club admit that they were still nervous about the reception of their follow-up album, Beacon. "The first record superseded our expectations; it just blew our minds, so we were really on the edges of our seats when the second record came around," vocalist/rhythm guitarist Alex Trimble told Rolling Stone backstage at Coachella last weekend.
Whatever the outcome, the band's enthusiasm is apparent on Beacon, released last summer. The opener "Next Year" and lead single "Sleep Alone" boast inviting, broad pop hooks, while "Handshake" veers more experimental with Eighties-style synth. Recorded in Los Angeles, the equally sunny effort has already surpassed its predecessor sales-wise, hitting the Top Five in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia and landing in the Top 20 stateside.
Now the band faces a busy summer season playing festivals on both sides of the pond, and then embarking on more touring through Christmas. Somewhere between those two legs, though, Two Door will take a monthlong break, during which guitarist Sam Halliday will get married. It's part of a major transition for the trio, who lived together during the recording of both their albums; now bassist Kevin Baird will split his time between L.A. and London and Trimble will live in Portland.
"We're all switching phases after the summer 'cause for the most part, in between touring, we lived together. It made the most sense creatively to come back and be able to work together, but it's also a very unhealthy environment as well," Trimble said. "We're gonna spend some time settling in our own places, having a new base to work from. . . [It] feels like we're sort of gaining independence in a way. For six, nearly seven years we've been a band and we're gonna be individuals doing our own things in our own homes; it's a privilege that we just haven't been able to enjoy."
Two Door are anxious to see how moving to different locations will affect the band musically. "I know that L.A. had a huge impact on how Beacon turned out, so I'm fully aware of how a change of scenery could change the music you make and your outlook in general," Trimble said. "So I think this will be a very interesting time."
"I think it'll be healthy for us to meet up and do different things and actually have something to talk about," Halliday added. Their solo time will be short-lived, however, as they plan to reunite in January 2014 to begin work on their third album. "We have no touring plans for 2014 so far," Halliday added. "That's gonna be just getting going to making another record, making the best record we possibly can." A trip to Ikea probably wouldn't hurt, either.