The Ting Tings followed the old adage of "if first you don't succeed..." while making its sophomore album, "Sounds From Nowheresville."
The British duo -- which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2010 -- set up shop in Berlin, taking inspiration from what Jules De Martino calls "the massive techno movement there." But the results weren't quite to his or musical partner Katie White's liking.
"We realized we made a dance record, and everything started to sound like everything you hear on radio at the moment, time and time again," explains De Martino, 42. "We were making a record that was probably gonna get loads of airplay but that we'd probably have to go around touring with two DJ decks in order to play and not be able to play drums and guitars like we like to play.
"We were scared that was going to happen, so one by one the songs were scrapped, and we started over."
This is not without precedence in the Ting Tings' history, however. "We scrapped the first batch of songs we made for the first album (2008's 'We Started Nothing'), too," De Martino notes. He and White ultimately latched onto the Beastie Boys' eclectic 1989 album "Paul's Boutique," as a model for "...Nowheresville."
"We're not rappers, of course," De Martino notes, "but we were fascinated by the edge that they produced on that particular record. We were surprised by how much we loved it. We picked it up in New York and brought it to Berlin when we started recording, and we couldn't stop playing it. It's not like we wanted to be a hip-hop outfit, but we liked the way they fused so many different styles and got away with it."
Finally satisfied, the Ting Tings put "...Nowheresville" out in March and hit the road, starting at the South By Southwest Music + Media Conference. Things hit a brief snag when White underwent an emergency appendectomy, but De Martino says she's healed and as ready to play as ever.
"She's amazing," he says. "I can't believe six days after (surgery) she did the first show with three holes in her stomach and just ripped it up, and the next day she's got no pain. The doctor was like, 'You shouldn't be gigging,' but she's fine. The energy she's throwing about is tremendous. It's pretty inspiring."
The Ting Tings and MNDR perform Thursday, April 5, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 313-961-8137 or visit www.livenation.com.
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