You know how the story goes: boy with voice meets boy with guitar who has a couple of mates that can play drums and keyboard. A band is formed, an image created, and only then do they start making music. Not so with Detroit Social Club.
This tale is different: boy creates idea, idea gets well received, boy then seeks professional aides to complete the setup. The music is already present. Ostensibly, DSC is a solo project - one David Burn - that happens to have an attachment: a band. If this were the movies, Burn would be the auteur. He alone sees it from spark to roaring fire. As a whole entity, the six-piece DSC have only been together for a few months, yet Burn believes “this project has actually been alive for over a year, from when I first started demo-ing this sort of sound”.
Burn hails from Newcastle, where he’s been producing other studio bands for many years and where he first started to toy with his ideas. But although his roots are in Newcastle, Burn’s sound does not evoke the claustrophobic, narrow back corridors of his home town. His is the raw, expansive terrain of Kerouac America; the sound of Thelma and Louise hurtling along the highway of gospel soul, in search of a rainbow made of just blues.
“I had this new sound I wanted to experiment with,” says Burns, in a broad North East accent. “I started getting into Americana. Not necessarily any particular bands, but more an overall interest.”
If there are comparisons to be made, then the obvious choices would be the hazy psychedelia of BRMC (‘Black & White’), the hip-hop harmonisation of Beck (‘Soldiers’), the strutting riffs of Kasabian (‘Sunshine People’) and the smoking distortion of Nick Cave (‘Forever Wonderland’); all fronted by Burn’s own rasping Kelly Jones vocal (‘My Love For You Goes On’). Despite these primary parallels, Burns quickly, and obliquely, dispels the notion of mimicry. “One of the strongest things about our music,” he exclaims, proudly, “is that it’s not so much about songs but about a certain vibe, character and authenticity.”
DSC’s diverse range could be perceived as negative, something that will confuse listeners, but equally it could be indicative of humankind’s mercurial nature. “A song captures your mindset on one particular day,” says Burns, who denounces the idea of recording non-stop for long periods of time. “It’s so generic and fake. How can you capture different moods in one month?” Lucky for him, he’s able to write and record in the same moment, being already tied to a studio.
If This Were The Movies, Burns Would Be The Auteur
The rate of propulsion has been astonishingly quick for DSC. First, the demos; then, the label interest (from the likes of Independiente); followed by a swift formation of the band in order to translate the live experience. Within weeks there were mini tours, a support slot with Glasvegas, a top ‘unsigned’ chart spot in a national paper, and even a placing in the final of Channel 4’s Road To V competition. The latter invitation was politely declined, though, a decision Burn still doesn’t regret - “I wouldn’t want DSC to be introduced to anyone by means of winning a competition.”
Fervour and anticipation have been growing ever since, as has DSC’s team of notoriety. Geoff Barrowdale, manager of Arctic Monkeys, is now pulling the strings. “He’s brilliant, we’re really lucky to have him,” Burn reveals, providing the distinction, “the honeymoon period is over and we just want to move on to saying he’s not the Monkeys’ manager, he’s our manager.”
Added to DSC’s solid team is the co-production input of Mike Crossey, also known for balancing the creativity of Razorlight, Foals and The Dead 60s. DSC’s rising success is therefore almost assured and they’re pointing in all the right directions. During the summer there’s a scheduled jaunt to the States (“just to get a presence known”) before returning home for a promising winter. Work on the album begins in November which is preceded in October by the release of their hypnotic single, ‘Rivers & Rainbows’.