Does It Offend You, Yeah- - Highly Offensive
Monday, 30 June 2008
In years to come rock quiz show hosts may marvel over - and, if they're nasty, mock - the UK band Does It Offend You, Yeah- because of their name. They'll end up on 'most ridiculous band name' lists (alongside Crazy Penis). The four-piece could even define the 2000s' flamboyance.
But, in 2008, DIOYY, certainly no Sigue Sigue Sputnik, are enjoying their status as hot newcomers in a surging indie-dance scene. And, very possibly, like Daft Punk, who similarly possess a naff handle, they'll defy - and transcend - any novelty factor with their music. They're the blue-collar Klaxons.
DIOYY's keys man (and sometime DJ) Dan Coop admits that their "shit name" is potentially a liability. DIOYY's MySpace carries the playful yet not unjustified warning to da hatas: "If you can't get past the name, get out of the way."
It transpires that the phrase 'does it offend you, yeah-' was haphazardly nicked from Ricky Gervais's incorrigible character David Brent in The Office when Dan conceived the band with pal James Rushent, son of The Human League producer Martin. (James is DIOYY's bassist and one of two vocalists.)
"We just wanted to put up tunes on MySpace," Dan recollects. "We didn't even know who was gonna listen to it. We thought it was just gonna be for our friends.
"We switched on the TV and went like, OK, the first thing that comes on the TV, we'll use as the MySpace name - 'cause it's not gonna be anything big. [In The Office] Ricky Gervais said, 'Does it offend you, yeah- My drinking-' So we just wrote it and pressed 'return' and then forgot about it. Then, a month later, we started getting record deals sent to us. We were like, ‘we can't really change our name now, so we're stuck with it!’
"We started getting all this press [claiming] that we'd chosen this really pretentious name and it's because we're art school students or whatever. We've never been to art school! I've never been to university. People thought we were scenesters, basically, which is untrue. I think that's one of the reasons why we got a bit of disdain in the press in the UK when we first started appearing. But now people are starting to get us."
Of all the nu-ravers to follow Klaxons, DIOYY have the greatest buzz. (Alas Aussies are sleeping on The Whip.) If Klaxons actually sound like a rock group, then Reading's DIOYY are unabashedly clubby - albeit with a moshpit vibe. Their spirited debut, You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into... is in sync with MSTRKRFT, Justice and Digitalism. You can discern the influence of everyone from The Prodigy to Daft Punk to The DFA.
In fact, Dan began DIOYY with James as a production vehicle. They cut the songs Battle Royale, We Are Rockstars and Weird Science, relocating along the way to Tottenham in north London. However, on striking a deal with Virgin, and transplanting themselves to the country to record a full-length, DIOYY floundered creatively.
It was during this period when they morphed into a band, rounding out their line-up with Morgan Quaintance (vocals, guitar and keys) and drummer Rob Bloomfield. DIOYY had decided not to consciously make electronic music. Fortunately, they found direction with the ska-inflected track Dawn Of The Dead.
At any rate, DIOYY still concluded a post-mash-up opus that Dan summarises as "electronic dance."
"We tried to augment 'band' sounds into an electronic music thing," he says. "If you listen to the album, there's different types of electro - there's Daft Punkish stuff, there's electro-rock, there's electro-pop... There is an underlying theme - and we tried to keep that for this album. But, at the same time, that [eclecticism] gave us scope - on the next album we can do what we want because we've done everything on this one!
"This album is pretty much electronic dance, but we have so much different stuff, we can go in many different directions in the future - as long as we've got some kind of nod to the past album."
Dan particularly admires The Prodigy's hybridisation. "I quite liked what they did when they started off doing UK hardcore tunes, and then they suddenly went a bit metal and then they changed completely again and completely again... Each album has its own sound."
DIOYY's is a healthy dynamic. "Me and James started off originally doing [DIOYY] together, and then Rob also produced stuff, and Morgan's been in bands all his life, so we all just bring our own little spice to it," Dan says. "Morgan is probably the best at getting the live sound together - he's really interested in getting it to work live. James is more the guy in the studio who'll get the production sound really big. Then Rob and me, we're sort of like the A&Rs of the band going, 'That sounds all right, but can we do this or can we do that-' (laughs). It's like the United Nations, really!"
DIOYY, as with Soulwax, are not merely a band but remixers-for-hire. They've turned their hands to Muse (check their Map Of The Problematique). But their live show is where it's really at. DIOYY, who recently performed at Coachella, are headlining Parklife 2008 - after Glastonbury and Lollapalooza, that is.
Dan might be cautious in dealing with the notorious UK media - "Everyone always tends to turn things against us," he confides, without bitterness - but DIOYY were chuffed to garner a glowing review in the "highbrow" Q magazine. "We thought we'd be the last band that they'd give a good review to - because a lot of people look at us as lowbrow!" he enthuses. "We like to think we're highbrow - but whatever!"
WHO: Does It Offend You, Yeah-
WHAT: You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into… through EMI / Play Parklife
WHEN: Out now / Sunday 5 October