Image by Mike Postalakis
We caught up with gloriously dark pop outfit DTCV ahead of their show at Empty Shop in Durham on Monday 31st October to find out what makes them tick. They gave us their six most important influences, in what was one of the most fascinating Six Of The Bests we’ve had to date. Over to you DTCV….
Jean-Luc Godard (Director)
Godard is kind of our patron saint and a major influence/inspiration. It’s also where got our name. We called ourselves Détective after one of Godard’s lesser-known films. It stars Johnny Hallyday, France’s unlooked-for answer to Vegas-era Elvis, and marks the first film role for a (very young) Julie Delpy. We didn’t want to go for something obvious like Breathless or Contempt or Band of Outsiders, so we picked this one. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, Détective was routinely reproduced as D?tective or D%tective on the Internet. So then we tried Detective. Which when you Google it brings up every homicide in the world before you get to us. Not happening. Also there was a terrible band from the 70s called Detective. Definitely not happening. We then decided to strip all the vowels out and go with the super confusing pseudo-acronym DTCV, kind of like MGMT, because Lola loves MGMT. Then the acronym thing became a thing, and now we’re on a Paste Magazine list of “10 Great Bands with All-Caps, No-Vowel Names.” We hope Godard would approve, but we’re not going to ask him.
Wire – Pink Flag and Chairs Missing
Perhaps not the most original musical influence in the universe, but it’s undeniably there in our hearts and minds and songs, just as Pink Flag itself is undeniably one of the ten best rock records ever made. You might not hear it the way we hear it, but the effect of these two records on both Lola and James’ musical consciousness cannot be overstated. We could and will, if you let us, also make the case for 154, but Pink Flag and Chairs Missing are the lodestone around which all our various musical influences (krautrock, garage rock, yé-yé, Buzzcocks, Siouxsie, the Carpenters, post-punk, noise, Coltrane, Stax/Volt, The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Bowie, The Clash, Stereolab, prog, Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles) coalesce.
If we had been around in the early 20th century, we would have signed the Surrealist Manifesto. Surrealism and Symbolism were very important to us in our formative years and have shaped the way we write lyrics. To us it is the only way to write songs, and with the exception of Italian Neorealism, we generally aren’t interested in realism in art at all. We have radical positions on environmentalism, gender, Capital and the State but we express them symbolically or through surreal imagery in our songs. Otherwise, it would just be politics, and politics is deadly dull and totally useless. Says the guy who majored in Political Science at college.
We love tea, (especially Assam) but not as much as we love coffee. Good, tight espresso coffee. We sometimes base our tour routing on which city has the best espresso in town. Starbucks does not count, obviously. We love playing in Italy partly because of the coffee. We get excited when we find Turkish coffee somewhere on the road. Coffee has fueled most of our albums, and most of our lyrics were written somewhere in a café. We admit that we drink too much of it, but coffee is definitely our drug of choice. DTCV does not function without adequate supplies of coffee.
We define ourselves partly by the things that are dear to us, and while for the most part we enjoy humans, we often prefer the company of other forms of life. We particularly love trees, maybe because our ancestors were Celts. Connection to and caring for the land is vital to us and we try to offset a large part of our touring carbon footprint by sponsoring forest rewilding through Trees for Life. We live in a time where humans are trying to go beyond Nature and we’re not interested in that path. We come from Nature, it is the best part of who we are, so we need to cherish it, not separate from it. And certainly not destroy it.
The last time we moved, 75% of the U-Haul was filled with books. Reading books (and for James, writing them) is hands down our favorite activity next to playing/writing music and books had and continue to have a profound influence on us. Our version of paradise would be living in a forest with an unlimited supply of great books. We read mostly fiction and History/Philosophy but also poetry, anthropology, sociology, environmental science… anything. Nothing excites us more than having a great book to read.