The Ting Tings insist they are ‘not cool kids,’ they just love playing pop music
The latest winners in Apple’s trend-setting commercial series, Manchester electro duo The Ting Tings, sent kids everywhere racing to their computers screaming, “OMFG that song rulz” with just a taste of their sassy disco pop smash “Shut Up and Let Me Go.” It may be the best track the Apple company has thrust into the spotlight yet.
“It’s definitely put us in front of a wider audience,” says singer and guitarist Katie White, who thinks it’s not even the best song on the album.
“I love that song, and I love playing it live,” she says of her music with Jules De Martino. “But I think we have stronger songs.”
That honor belongs to the No. 1 U.K. single “That’s Not My Name,” a surprisingly sensitive and defiant hip-hop and hand clapping pop hybrid.
Both tracks provide the backbone for the band’s high energy shows, where dancing, White says, is highly encouraged.
“It’s so easy to go to a show, just stand at the back and nod your head, but it’s the people at the front who always make the gig good, because they give the band that energy. It’s probably those 10 people who make the gig good.”
NME, the indie taste-making U.K. music mag, recently called them the most exciting band in the country. (Then again, they say that about every band.) All the same, White was a bit surprised.
“We never thought of ourselves as an NME band or not an NME band. We just sort of went somewhere in the middle,” she says. “By accident we wrote pop songs, but we did it from an indie perspective because we had no money!”
White’s self-deprecating attitude comes through on the title of the band’s record, “We Started Nothing,” which just happens to have gone to No. 1 in the U.K. Perhaps it’s an effort to avoid taking themselves too seriously?
“We’re very passionate about what we do. It really skyrocketed for us,” she says.
“We think we’re a pop band. We’re not cool kids, where everything needs to be cool, and have cool haircuts,” she says wryly. “If you’re a musician and you’re creative and you want to say something, you tend to make ‘indie-sounding’ music, you know, five guys with guitars … but if you’re a pop band you tend to be like four girls, sort of manufactured, 10 writers, all sparkle and polish,” she notes. Even though Ting Tings’ gritty sound came about out of a tight budget, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “We love pop music, so we just wrote pop song ... they were really scruffy because we did it ourselves.”
They didn’t intend on forming the band in the first place, she says, having already gone through the big label pressure cooker once.