Dance-music duo Katie White and Jules De Martino make up The Ting Tings, arriving straight out of Britain.
They formed in 2007 in Greater Manchester then hit it big with the popular song "That's Not My Name." Their third album, Super Critical, was released last year. The two talked about the creation of the album to Windy City Times the last time they were in town playing Thalia Hall in Pilsen.
Windy City Times: How did The Ting Tings come together in the first place?
Katie White: We met in London back in 2007. We were both in bands that we weren't that into. We did a bit of writing together. I'm from Manchester. Jules had friends that were studying in Manchester. He was coming and going quite a lot. When I heard he was in town we decided to keep writing. That is where we started. When our bands fell apart, we started The Ting Tings.
WCT: Where did the name come from?
KW: At the time I was working with a girl in a clothes shop called Ting Ting. We just stole the name, basically. We Googled it and found out it means the sound of innovation.
WCT: Have you heard from Ting Ting since then?
KW: No, I haven't.
WCT: Jules, did you do most of the writing on the first album, We Started Nothing?
Jules De Martino: I actually did all three albums. Kate is just the choreographer.
KW: I just dance around! [Both laugh.]
JDM: No, we write them all together. We each write complete songs, or partial songs. By the time we get to the end we have an end result of a load of our ideas that we have squeezed together. We have a very unorthodox way of working in the studio. We are not piano and guitar traditionalists. We might get an idea and text message a line to each other about it. We put all of this rubbish together and swirl it around in a bucket. It is a cool way of working and through experimentation.
WCT: I love the behind the scenes. You recorded the new album, Super Critical, in Ibiza?
KW: Yes; we didn't plan to end up there. On the second album we did it in Berlin. Now it is beginning to be a thing where we have to go to a new country when we make an album. It will be strange not to do that now.
We completely fell into it. Ibiza is the techno, EDM, dance-club capital of Europe.We went to Santa Gertrudis in rural Ibiza, out of season so it was a ghost town. All that was left were people that didn't want the party to end, hippies from the '60s, and loads of really interesting people.
WCT: Andy Taylor from Duran Duran worked on the album with you.
KW: Yeah, he was living there. It was completely random. He became our friend. We had no plans to work with people we have never worked with for an album. We have always made the albums ourselves. He was involved with music we have been obsessed with such as '70s and early '80s. He was a wealth of knowledge on those clubs and the sound of that music.
I found a photograph of Diana Ross sitting on the edge of a DJ booth singing at Studio 54. He was there that night with Diana. Andy would tell us amazing stories so we decided to make an album together.
WCT: There is inspiration from that on the videos as well. I love the gold shorts you wore in "Do It Again."
KW: We did that video with a guy we met in Ibiza. He was an expert in CGI animation. The original idea was to film me in that environment with a virtual background. We loved the raw footage with the walking machine in it that we just left it like that.
WCT: Your crimping for the "Wrong Club" video was out of control.
KW: It wasn't crimping. We had two Japanese hairdresser girls that turned up. They were so cute. They use pins in your hair all over your head right to your skull. They spray it with hairspray; then, they burn it. They take it out and it just felt humongous. People think it was a wig but it really wasn't. They just burned my hair into submission.
WCT: I am glad you still have hair after that!
KW: I am lucky. [Laughs]
WCT: I have seen you play live several times in Chicago. You actually tour on the bus and don't fly into each city, correct?
JDM: Yes, we are on the bus. The first album we did shows around the world and a lot of festivals. It was amazing but nothing really beats playing rooms of this type of size like Thalia Hall. Sometimes 300 to 1,000 people beats everything else, hands down. The environment we can control. We do soundcheck, hit some cities and do a DJ gig after the show tonight. With big festivals you fly in and fly out. We love it. Don't get me wrong, but there is something real about a band driving around and playing live to a smaller venue. We have a great crew around us, so that is good.
WCT: Poor Katie got food poisoning out on the road recently, I saw on Twitter.
KW: One of the guys that we are working with us took us out to dinner one night. It was Chinese food and as I was eating it I knew it was so bad. I was so hungry that I ate it anyway. Within two hours, the whole night and the whole next day I was projectile-vomiting. I was in the hotel and could barely move. I got an injection in my butt and it was gone in 10 minutes. It was a magic injection but cost $750 because your country is fucking weird. It worked, so it was worth it!
WCT: What are your plans after the tour?
JDM: We are playing a late show on television, then we go back to Europe touring festivals. We will be here in June doing Portland, L.A. and San Francisco. We do radio stations, then back to Europe, and return to the U.S. in July. The record is doing well so everything is great.
The Ting Tings take over Berwyn Thursday, June 18, at 9 p.m. at Wire, 6815 Roosevelt Rd. For more on the band, visit www.thetingtings.com .