- Posted on Mar 2nd 2011 4:00PM by Jill Langlois
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
How did you come up with the name you DJ and perform under?
It's not really DJing, what I do now -- it's like a live electronic act. I was DJing before that, under other names and just playing at [dance] nights and being a resident DJ. I got kind of fed up with that and fed up with the scenes that were going on and everyone taking things very seriously and thinking they had to be cool and into the next sound. I just decided to do something a bit fun and not about street cred or being trendy or anything like that.
What kind of music influences you?
Everything. Everything from classical music to serious techno to jungle and reggae and soul. I listen to all kinds of stuff. At certain times in my life I've been really into certain styles, but right now, it's quite open. I try not to get too locked into one scene or one sound.
Your dad is an Oxford University music professor. Has he influenced you in any way?
Yeah, definitely. He's always helped me. When I used to learn to play the piano, he always helped me, and we're always talking about music. Occasionally he hears some of my stuff and says, "Why is this so repetitive? Why does it go boom, boom, boom?" But he gets it, and he trusts my taste. He's super supportive.
When did you realize this was going to be your full-time job?
Well, I've kind of been doing it for a while. I've been making a living out of music for a few years. I was teaching before that. I used to teach steel pans in a primary school, and I've taught piano lessons. It's always been music that I've managed to make a living out of, and now, with this project, it's getting quite serious, so I'm playing full-time. It's like twice the amount of hours I should be working, but I love it, so it's all good.
So what was it like teaching steel pans at the primary school?
It was cool. I was teaching these kids in a school just outside of Oxford and that was when I'd already started this project. I needed some extra money, so I'd go in a couple times a week, and we'd learn how to play some classic tunes on steel pans. There were 20 kids in the classroom, all banging on them. Little did they know that steel pans are just about the coolest trendy instrument at the moment.
Can you describe your live show?
I dress up a bit and there are a few kinds of toys and confetti things. I don't know how much stuff I'm going to be able to bring to America, but hopefully I'll bring quite a lot of gear with me. I'll bring some keyboards, some samplers, a drum machine and I do some singing. I mix up and restructure my tracks live, so it's very much a live show. It's kind of non-stop, like a DJ set. It's meant for the dance floor. It's meant for people to get down to. There are quite a few songs in there and some remixes of mine. It changes each night, which is nice, but it's still all my music.
And where did you get the dinosaur costume you use?
We make them. I made the first one, and my friend who dances for me, she makes them now. But I got the needle and thread out and was like, "F--- it. I'm going to build a dinosaur costume." I've got six now.
Did you start out that way, thinking you wanted to dress up like a dinosaur for this project?
Yeah, I just wanted to do something that wasn't about having a cool pair of trainers and a cap and a t-shirt with a logo on it. With the whole DJ culture, kids were into this whole side of it I didn't really like. It was too much about gear and image and trendy tunes and always being about the latest thing. I was like, "Well that's not really what it's about. It's about music and having a good time." Clubbing is about celebrating and having fun and letting your hair down. And so many nights you go to, everyone is just preoccupied with being cool. I thought, "I'm going to do something that's not really that cool. I'll dress up." And it kind of works. People generally have quite a good time. People have fun.
Catch Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs' SXSW Sets on Tuesday, March 15 at Latitude 30 (512 San Jacinto St.) 1AM , and Wednesday, March 16 at Beauty Bar Backyard (617 E 7th St.) 12:10AM.
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