On his debut album and the Scottish folk mafia...

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.

Let’s just soak that name in for a second. Over the past year the Oxford producer has appeared on bills across Europe, bringing his party-starting live set with him. But rather than opt for some reclusive, mysterious moniker Orlando Higginbottom named himself after the scaly beings out of ‘Jurassic Park’. “One of the reasons that I decided to go live was because I had been DJing for so long, playing Jungle and Hip Hop and stuff like that. Basically playing to rooms full of guys with backpacks on, and I just thought: “this is bollocks”. There’s no vibe here, there’s no party” the producer explains. “I play the same records over and over again because that’s all they want to hear. I just thought fuck it, I’m going to do the complete opposite of this fake rude boy shit. And dress up like a dinosaur.”

He’s not joking. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs have become known for their stage show, a mixture of ingenuity, imagination and plenty of bottle. After all, it takes considerable guts to appear in front of the tastemakers of electronic music dressed up as a Brontosaurus. “There’s no real reason. I wasn’t trying to look cool or make a statement I just wanted to say “look if the guy onstage is having a good time and he’s dressed like a plonker then you’ve got no excuse”. If you’re worried about how you’re looking then get on with it, have a good time” he insists. “There are still fucking clubs where people stand around not dancing! It’s like, Jesus guys get off the dancefloor if you’re not gonna dance! If you want to just listen go home to your bedroom. I think there’s a wildness and atmosphere which is sometimes lacking from clubs and I hope I bring some of that.”

Now onto their third EP, ‘Household Goods’ is a collision of jungle energy, bouncy electro-house beats and a disparate array of samples. For ‘Waulking Song’ the producer attempted to borrow elements of folk music from the Outer Hebrides, but found himself rebuffed. “It was some old ladies and then I had to re-record it because the old ladies weren’t cool with the sample” he laughs. “Amazingly, I came up against the Scottish folk mafia. They said no, you can’t have it. I got a couple of girls together and said ‘try and work out how to sound Gaelic!’”

“I guess it just kind of seems obvious to me that if you hear something you can sample, then sample it. Whatever it is. My mate was bringing round some records and he brought some of his mum’s records and there was this Scottish folk LP in there” the producer explains. “We stuck it on and I thought “oh my fucking God that it amazing”. He took it away and the next day I walked into Oxfam and there was this record. I picked it up immediately. I’ve always been a fan of folk music in its more raw, original sense. Not modern day twee folk, but people just singing songs about their lives in pubs. I think that’s pretty amazing music.”

Sticking to his guns has become a daily pastime for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Attached to Greco-Roman, the producer shares a similar irreverence towards dance trends. “I definitely am not into the genre game at all. I think it’s useful but mainly it just gets in the way” he explains, the tempo rising at the thought of electro-glitch-tech or whatever else is on the turntables at the moment. “It’s great that people come up with new styles but it depresses me when so many people jump on it. It’s just weird. It moves so fucking fast. It’s not just that house music has so many different styles, UK Funky turned up on Radio 1 for about six months but then disappeared as if we’d had enough of it. There was still so much to explore but for whatever reason a genre gets given its little chance then gets told to fuck off! Rather than it just being about whether the music is good or not.”

Hailing from Oxford, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs seem to stick out amongst the current crop of math rock groups. With Foals and now Trophy Wife making waves, the scene outwardly appears to be dominated by guitar groups. Yet beneath this is a crop of new producers, easily interacting with the indie scene. The atmosphere is positive enough to make moving to London seem like a backward step. “In London people are struggling to the top, everyone is trying to get to the top in one place and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Whereas in Oxford I know the other musicians, there’s a nice scene and a sense of community. It could take years and years and years to find that in London, not because I don’t have friends there but because it takes a long time to settle down. It would be too distracting for me. Also I’m a bit bitter about London – I don’t like the fact that everyone goes there and everything happens there. Half the businesses in the country are based there. That’s not cool, really, why should it all be in one great big, huge stinking place?”

Why, indeed. Now working on his debut album, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs should be ready to drop their full length this summer. That is, if the album format even lasts that long. “It’s fucking weird – an album is what, twelve, thirteen tracks? When you’re writing an album which these days will be predominantly bought on iTunes how do you structure those tracks? Do you go for twelve tracks which are all standalone tunes or do you make it like a journey?” he wonders. “I got away with a lot of different stuff on the EPs so I know that I can do lots of different styles on the album, but it’s just the balance of things. How many jungle things can I put on there? How many pop tracks can I put on there? We’ll see, we’ll see. I’ve got lots of music which I’m working on so there’s no shortage of tracks it’s just which ones will I get off my arse and finish?”

As if that wasn’t enough, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is now working with Riton. Collaborations have been ongoing for some time, but a lack of focus means that nothing has – as yet – been completed. “We’re sending parts back and forth we’ve had a couple of sessions together. We’re both up to our necks at the moment with our own albums. I think that will come across – we had a great time in the studio together” he explains. “It’s kind of two tracks and we’re both really into them. The problem with us is that every time we go into the studio – the studio is wicked, I love it! – we just end up playing all the keyboards, playing all the synths until we’ve got about four tracks worth of material. But we haven’t even finished the first one! Who knows? I hope that sees the light of day.”

'Household Goods' is out now.


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