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Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs interviewed: “Dreams of an era I was never part of”

August 14, 2013

Teeds @ Iceland Airwaves

Welcome to Greco-Roman takeover week on The 405, party troopers.

The good-time polychromatic bunch over that past six years have released a myriad of cutting-edge electronic sounds and hosted even more parties in cities and festivals around the globe; and this week sees the release of their first ever compilation LP.

One act featured on Greco-Roman who has reached a stratospheric level is Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, originally starting out on the label with a slew on EPs in 2009/10, making his debut with All In One Sixty Dancehalls. It’s now been a year since his first LP, Trouble, that remains our default album for something to make us move our body parts to – so we had a chat with Oxfordshire-based Orlando from TEED to discuss his past work, jungle, future plans, and varying influences.

We Make Colourful Music Because We Dance In The Dark is out now via Greco in double CD and digital form, featuring the very best tracks from the last six years (including TEED of course) plus remixes by Four Tet, Roman Flugel and Lone.

It’s been a year since the release of debut LP Trouble. Looking back, how do you feel about the release now?

I don’t think about it much. I guess I feel good about it, there’s nothing I’d change. It was the record I made and I put it out, that’s success in my book. I still haven’t listened to it from start to finish since I mastered it, it’s pretty long right?!? I play the songs live enough so I think I’m forgiven. I imagine I would give myself a few slaps over certain production/mix things…but we’re in this to learn.

Are you working on material at the moment? And how’s it sounding if so, is there any shift in direction from previous work?

I have just started writing again, very early stages so I wouldn’t want to call on the direction I’m heading. The idea would be to stay playful, without any plan for as long as possible, until it’s obvious where to take all the ideas. I want the process to be as honest as possible. I’m excited to see what happens.

Jungle inspired the TEED project somewhat – is it something you still seek out and listen to, and remain inspired by?

Absolutely, I am still obsessed. I pretty much only go into record shops to see what Jungle music they have, if any, and I’ll spend a lot of money on a 12″ that nobody will ever hear. But of course it’s the atmosphere and rawness of the music that gives me the kicks. It’s a very warped relationship, based on my memories, and dreams of an era I was never part of, but that speaks to me more than any electronic movement since.

Going back to the start, how did the early Greco-Roman releases come about? You still DJ with them right?

Boring story, they heard some demos of mine, we met, got on and did some parties. I ended up doing three EPs with them, in fact I was going to give this whole thing up after the first but Alex persuaded me to keep going. Thanks Alex. I love that record label, it somehow remains detached from the rest of the electronic music world, but massively looked up to. Though if you did actually see someone standing there looking up to Greco, they would have a confused look on their looking up face look. Nuff said.

You seem to have escaped being pigeon-holed by genres generally (well, in our eyes/ears at least). Is that important to you? And what’s the silliest genre-name that’s been affixed to you?

The main thing here is I want people to feel unrestrained, as creatives, and as part of the audience. People get so upset about things like the term EDM, or what to call it when producers who once made dubstep started making techno… I just couldn’t give a fuck. Make music, listen to music.

I like TEED’s fun/playful aesthetic. Is that’s something that’s too often overlooked in the music industry?

That is a hard question to answer. Basically because I don’t want to start talking about the music industry, I have too many problems with it. But yes, fun is very important, but don’t for a second think you can’t have fun and be deadly serious at the same time.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs @ Iceland Airwaves

Future ideals for the visual side of the show? Answer in realistic, and then pure fantasy terms please.

I don’t really want to share those thoughts quite yet. It’s safe to say at the moment I am thinking in pure fantasy terms. More and more I find images and sounds come together so it will be interesting to see what comes to mind as I write new music.

Having toured the world extensively, what have been your highlights? Any what the fuck moments?

Other than the music, the greatest thing about being a musician is having friends all around the world. And the nature of the moments you share together quickly promotes these friends to family status. So that’s my touring highlight, the people. Of course there have also been crazy shows, vast crowds, the odd half empty club, and mayan temples but it’s hard to pick out particular gigs. I had 6 days recently (at the end of a 2 week North America tour) where I did a live show, a DJ set and shot a film in NYC, live and DJ in Manchester, then DJ in Ibiza, then Singapore, then Kuala Lumpur… that was a what the fuck week.

How many dinosaur suits do you own, or do they fall apart after tours? Not that I’m doubting Nina’s sticking work…

The stage-wear evolved from dinosaur based things to whatever I want to wear a while ago… and partly because there was a high rotation of costumes due to tour death. Some outfits only made it for one trip, others for years. I wish I could afford a new outfit every night, ridiculous I know, but it’s so much fun putting on something a bit over the top and walking on stage. To answer your question; not as many as you might hope, but still more than anyone else.

What are you listening to and enjoying currently, old stuff or new?

At this very minute I’m listening to Talbot Wood – Dream Sequence (Locked Groove Remix), it’s got bird sounds and I’m enjoying it a lot. Other than that (and a lot of other techno and house) there have been a few albums that have stood out for me this year; Thundercat – Apocalypse being one, also I think Yeezus is great, really entertaining and brave, even by Kanye’s standards. I need to buy some new albums this week. Also just been reminded of Oneohtrix Point Never… now I’m listening to Bobby Caldwell. Shuffle!!

And what was the first record you ever paid money for? Be honest.

Vinyl – Aphrodite – Woman That Rolls (pretty obvious why, I was 12). Cassette – The Jungle Book Groove (my sister took me out to get it, I must have been 5 or 6.) CD single – maybe Rewind by Artful Dodger…maybe. CD album – definitely something classical, I think Joanna MacGregor playing Bach’s French Suites.


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