Does It Offend You, Yeah?
British Electro-popsters Does It Offend You, Yeah? bring their debut album “You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into” to the states to wow crowds with their outrageously fun, should be against the law, hanging by the rafters live show. With their album currently eating up the UK charts, it was time for the band to start making some noise. With sold out dates at nightclubs all around the country, they’re paving their way one show at a time. The band (James Rushent on vocals and bass, Dan Coop on synths, Morgan Quaintance on guitar, synth, and live vocals, and Rob Bloomfield on drums) who at one time described their music as “junk” ended up signing to a major label a month later and sharing the stage with the likes of Bloc Party and Nine Inch Nails.
The guys sat down with TWRY staffer Ellen over dinner to discuss their fast success, their thoughts on the current music industry, and to share some stories from back home in the UK.
Interviewed by: Ellen Leonard | September 2008
Every time I mention your band name to someone, they always think im asking if something offends them. *laughter*. Where did you come up with your name?
Rob: The band name Dan and James started making a few tunes together when they weren’t actually a proper band, just two guys having fun. They wanted to upload their songs to Myspace for other people to hear them. They needed a name for their Myspace, and when they turned the TV on “The Office” was on, Ricky said “does it offend you, yeah, my drinking?” and at first that was going to be the band name but we shortened it to Does It Offend You, Yeah?. That’s as exciting as it gets.
I love the name of your CD (“You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into”). Can you give me an idea of what I AM getting myself into?
Rob: You have no idea! *laughter* That’s a really good question. Musically, I guess, it’s kind of rock-electro. Basically the name is because when I joined the band, I noticed it written on a table so I think it was kind of a band motto. It was something that was in my head when we were writing the album. We actually didn’t know what direction we were going in, so we had no idea what WE were getting ourselves into, and I think that people who are buying the record in England didn’t know what kind of album it was going to be. I think it was also a warning to them that they had no idea what they were getting themselves into by buying it.
I read that you actually got signed because of making yourself “MySpace famous”. Is this true? Can you tell me a little about that?
James: Sort of! It happened really quickly! We put some tracks up and we started getting people mailing us telling us they liked our tracks and that was cool. Then somebody from a magazine said they liked it and wrote something up about it, and someone from a record label heard it, so they sent us an e-mail. Usually there’s more of a foundation then they come along, but they jumped on quite early! It was a bit weird, really. It took us by surprise because we were like “man, this music’s rubbish! Why would anyone sign us?” It was nice! We didn’t quite believe it!
What are your thoughts on the current music industry?
James: With the way it’s going at the moment, with all the free downloading and stuff, there’s good things about it and there’s bad things about it. I think the good things about it is that albums are starting to become obsolete. A single is also becoming obsolete. It’s just going to be EP’s and things like that, there will be no lead up time, things can just get pitched right now. I think that’s quite exciting. But then again, it’s made it a lot harder to make a living, being in a band, especially if you’re a new band. It’s a knockout effect, people not buying your record, because then the label doesn’t have enough money to put money into your band to promote your band. That’s definitely a down side of it. It needs to be worked on a bit more. I think kids need to come to the fact that they need to support their artists. I mean, they’re not stupid, they know what’s going on. The last few months I’ve sort of had the feeling and talked to people and they’ve been saying they’re buying the albums, though. More and more people are starting to buy records again, so that’s good.
You just finished a stint touring with Nine Inch Nails. What was it like touring with them and what was the crowd response like at the shows?
Dan: We only ended up doing two dates with them! We had another prior engagement playing at a Reading Hometown Festival! We only got to meet Trent, and the rest of the band, and when they did see us, they were really really nice to us. The crew are amazing! The catering was good as well! As far as the crowds, it was really weird playing stadium venues because we’re not used to it. I think with a band really well established, like Nine Inch Nails, a lot of people are just there to see them and they don’t really care about the support act. It’s kind of our job to win them over, and I think on both gigs that we did a good job. By the end, people were really into it! The two gigs did really good for us!
You are originally from England. Is it any different playing shows in the US for you guys?
Rob: We played the Bowery Ballroom in New York last night, and it was a sold out headlining show. It really felt like a sort of gig that we play at home! The crowd was going kind of nuts! I think it’s starting to feel like we’re making waves here! Oh and there’s more American’s here then in England!
Your music is so energetic and fun. Do you have any rituals you do before you go on stage to get up that energy?
Morgan: I think that everyone’s got their own separate things that they do. James warms his voice up, Rob shadowboxes and things. He’s starting to punch walls these days! Not like holes, just gentle nudges! I don’t really know what I do to get ready to get on stage. Maybe a combination of all three. Except I don’t punch walls! *laughter*
I watch a lot of movies and I get the feel that you guys are movie buffs yourself based on your song titles on the record. Your song “Feeling Bad Feels Pretty Good” happens to be one of my favorites, and it’s rumored that it’s inspired by The Breakfast Club, also one of my favorite 80’s movies! Can you elaborate on that?
Morgan: I wasn’t actually there when this tune was recorded, but I think when they decided to do it, they were watching a clip of “The Breakfast Club” where someone was dancing.
What is your favorite 80’s movie?
Morgan: Desperately Seeking Susan. It was a good movie!
James: A toss up between Back To The Future and Ghostbusters.
Rob: An American Werewolf In London.
Dan: If it’s a pop culture film, probably either Lost Boys or Ferris Buellers Day Off.
What was it like filming your latest music video “Dawn of the Dead”, with this zombie feel? How exciting was it to sort of create your own “movie”?
Rob: I was really excited! We were kind of swept in there, and did the whole thing in a day, really quickly and efficiently. A guy called Ace Norton, who put it together. It was really fun because it was a first time as a band in the US, and right after we did SWSX we were swept to Hollywood to film like a zombie type film. We were actually eating dinner together during the interview, and in the middle of when Rob was answering the previous question, a woman started singing opera type singing right at the hostesses stand to a few girls working there. It inspired a story from Morgan.
Morgan: My friend lived in a place called a New Town, they build them in the UK for workers that work in bread factories and shit. So the people there are kind of backwards. Anyway, there’s this shopping center our far away, and we went there to see a film. This girl, it was her job to just walk around there and sing opera! She just walked around the restaurant singing, and people would pay her!
What’s next for the band?
Dan: After we finish our tour of the US, we’re going straight to Australia. We play five shows in the five biggest parts of the city there! Then we fly home, and then we do a three week tour of the UK. We get two weeks off after that, then we start recording the new album! We’ll probably be back here sometime next year.
Any last words for the fans out there that might be reading this?
Dan: Come to the shows, we want to sell out this whole tour! Rob: I’d really love to add something really poignant and amazing, but I can’t really think of anything other than come to the shows, and thanks for coming to the shows! Thanks for buying the album. Stay off drugs. Stay in school. Do your homework. Stay healthy. Don’t vote for John McCain, although that’s not my place to say since I’m not from America, but that’s just me being Bono. *laughter*