London-Bournemouth duo Dirty Nice – Charlie Pelling and Mark Thompson – are forging a path of sunny synth-pop. Their new tune ‘Sunshine End Times’, out today (Tuesday, 7th July), marks their latest dose; an upbeat wave of enthusiasm that belies dark themes of, well, the end of the world – something we can all relate to at the mo, right?
Hi you two, how’s it going?
Mark: Hey, Dork! In spite of everything, we’re pretty good thanks.
Charlie: I’m currently a little hungry.
What are you up to at the mo, has lockdown disrupted many of your plans?
Charlie: We were supposed to be in Europe on a support tour, but alas, it was not meant to be. We’ve been writing a lot and also been a great time to just consume as much great art as possible.
Tell us about your new single, what’s ‘Sunshine End Times’ about? It feels like there are a lot of end times happening at the moment.
Charlie: It’s a sad song really in that it paints a picture of the world snowballing into chaos and the only respite is in holding those close to you, which is tragically ironic given that for most of this year we literally can’t get within two metres of those people. When I wrote it at the end of last year it was mostly in response to the election and the general global feeling of foreboding – little did I know Coronavirus and mass protesting were waiting in the wings.
What’s your writing process like? You’re split between London and Bournemouth, right?
Charlie: With this track, it was the morning of the election results, and I just sat down and played two chords on a guitar repeatedly until what I was feeling fell out – so it was very quick and strewn of consciousness. Then we worked on the production together remotely, shared references etc. Whereas with other tracks like Love Team that was more of an amalgamation of moments from both of our old or current relationships to make a fictional story of a couple that’s based in something real. So the process is always changing and happens pretty naturally.
Do you get to see each other much?
Mark: At the moment, no… but we have regular phone calls which consist mostly of total nonsense. “Fish fish potato king,” that sort of thing.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Mark: I mean inspiration for songs comes from everywhere really. Sometimes one of us will have an idea from an experience or from something we’ve come across. Or it can just start with a cool instrumental.
Charlie: Especially now when people seem so heated, and there are so many strong ideas being thrown about. And with the lockdown, it’s like being filled up with ideas from every angle, and hopefully, some of it spills over into some hopefully meaningful art.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done with Dirty Nice so far?
Mark: It has to be North American tour with Elder Island, last September. We met so many amazing people and saw so much.
Charlie: Yes, and I broke my ribs (I think) falling off my bed in the tour bus onto a table. I’m fine now, though. But yeah that tour was so much fun and really drove home how important and great it is to meet all the lovely people after the shows.
And what are you aiming for? What’s on your bucket list?
Mark: The dream is to endlessly make albums we love and lots of accompanying artwork for an ever-growing fan base of mega fans who will build statues of us across the globe.
Charlie: …and the statues are connected by a network of tunnels that lead to the Dirty Nice Utopia deep within the earth.
Have you always wanted to be musicians?
Charlie: For me, it’s inevitable that when left to my own devices, I tend to want to make something I enjoy, even for just myself. Some form of storytelling, if it’s music or artwork or a comic book. It sort of feels like my default setting, but it’s extremely difficult to monetise most of the things I love doing.
Mark: I’ve always loved playing music and equally can’t see my life without playing and making music.
Who were your favourite acts when you were growing up? How has your music taste evolved since then?
Charlie: A game-changer for me was when my older brother showed me The Strokes for the first time. I was also brought up on the Beatles, Bowie and all the other classic bands you can think of… I think I was a bit of a music snob in my teens and very into the indie scene in my teens then gradually became pretty much open to listening to anything and everything, so it’s very hard to gauge my tastes now. I love a good melody, though.
What are you working on at the mo?
Mark: We’re currently making lots of new music and working on our debut album. We’re also making all our videos and accompanying artwork for everything. Each track has its own set of unique cards which we post on Instagram, etc.
Do you have any predictions for later in the year?
Mark: At this rate, predicting what’s going to happen next week is futile, let alone later in the year.
Charlie: I predict the coming of RoboJesus and the four horsemen of the Lovepocalypse.
Dirty Nice’s new single ‘Sunshine End Times’ is out now.