The Different Class has always written with startling candor on feelings and identity – topics which are now taken to greater heights on their new single, respectively album. And on this road to their upcoming record, the band has felt even more comfortable diving into the indie-electronica sound. We talked to TDC about their new single ‘Ping Pong’, the upcoming LP “Skins” and many other cool things.
CVLT: How do you think that you have grown as a band since forming? What has remained the same?
Cris: I think we learned to free ourselves from limitations. As each year passed by, we just opened our horizons more and more and looked at all sorts of influences. We are trying to see who we are without a very fixed genre to define us. The common musicality we found between us is strong enough to take risks. We worked with our producer Michael Vuscan who always pushed us to go into uncharted areas and be bolder in our music. The drive and the madness remained the same. We are the same dreamers we were a few years ago, but now we also developed our professional side, having also a business view of the band.
Julia: The basics of the band that were musically grounded can be said to have remained the same. As for the members, we returned to the original line-up we had back in 2017, which is a great thing.
You experimented with quite a few genres, and unsurprisingly Romanian identity seems to have inspired some of your earlier work. That being said, the songs you make now have little to nothing to do with the kinky, stoner, and grunge or the other areas you’ve dabbled in. How did you end up with your current style?
Cris: It wasn’t totally planned, I think people just grow. We allow ourselves to take risks and try to develop a sound all the time. We grew up with all sorts of music, from old school rock, stoner rock, drum and bass, dubstep, big beat, grime and everything UK produced in the last 30 years, hip-hop, Romanian 2000’s kitsch pop – we had it all. I think the music genres are going through globalization themselves. If 10 years ago, everybody knew how to put 3 genre labels on each song, now it seems that everybody seems to enjoy eclecticism in sound, and no one shies away from putting a twist on every genre.
So, of course, now we feel natural to move through styles a bit. We are now taking a more pop/electronica approach to life and music and we are super excited to get into the next phase.
Sometimes you feel naked, too naked. “Skins” is about taking off the masks we use in real life, and just letting ourselves feel the rawness we have inside – see what’s in there.
For newcomers to your music, if you had to pick one track that shows people who you are as a band, which one would it be?
Julia: ‘Dancer’. In this song, I feel that The Different Class is found in all its forms, as a sound. You can feel the old and new influences that we have incorporated.
Cris: I would choose ‘Ping Pong’ – it’s not an obvious choice, but I think it reflects our multiple flavors and our fun nature approach to music.
Of all places, why’d you decided to set up the ‘Ping Pong’ camp in Eindhoven?
Cris: We were always tight with The Netherlands. We recorded our first album there. We also have family there. Eindhoven is the first city where we landed when we took the trip to record our first album back in 2016 and it’s where Bianca Paul, the director, and DOP of this video lives. Eindhoven is an electric city full of color and energy. It inspired Bianca to film something with Demy for ‘Ping Pong’, probably matching the energy of the song with the city where she lives for years – lights, boldness, mystery, active vibe – a city where art meets technology. It just happened, it worked!
There’s clearly a lot of emotion behind your songs, both in the writing process and in the performance. How does it feel to share so much of yourself with your audience?
Cris: It feels good. Most of the time. Sometimes you feel naked, too naked. The album is about taking off the masks we use in real life, and just letting ourselves feel the rawness we have inside – see what’s in there. So it has to be uncomfortable at some point. We like to think that the good and the bad in each of us has to make peace and coexist but to balance it out properly and be as good as we can as people in the world, first we have to be true to ourselves and go to our deepest corners, let ourselves feel that energy and see how we feel about it. The most naked we feel when the songs are in our own native language – Romanian. We want to make the audience feel safe with us, feel free at our concerts to be themselves.
Your music makes people feel good. What are the topics that you enjoy singing about the most?
Cris: On this album, we talk about SKINS – about the different instances of every person. We looked inside, we faced our flaws but also our good parts. We took a look at our humanity. We indulged in feeling the more unconscious-driven parts of us – and we let that stay with us for a while. We are talking about love, lust, fear, anxiousness, calm, envy, loose morals, self-consciousness, cheating, cravingness, friendship, hedonism, resentment, anger, madness, courage, taking control – trying to make all those voices sound like one. In our next work, we want to focus more on the real world, on living life, on little stories – it’s time to go outside.
How long has this album been in the works?
Cris: The album has been in the works for 2 years – from recording to mastering. It sits around for a while now, because the timing never felt right. Now with the war in Ukraine, it seems even more complicated – but we just have to let it go to be able to move forward. It seems we are living in tumultuous times and it is hard to find a window in which nothing is happening.
What was the craziest idea you guys had — whether feasible or not — that you really wanted to go forward with?
Cris: The craziest idea we had was turning TDC into an electronica project – the idea behind TDCQ. So stay tuned for that!
How much of your work is strategically calculated, and how much of it is spontaneous?
Seian: I want to believe that much of what we did on this album was in a mood of spontaneity, but I would lie if I would say that as songwriters we are not aware of what steps we should take for our music to have an impact in the current state of affairs in the music world. So I’d say there’s a 60-40 percentage right now. We try to remain true to our core but also reach new audiences.
Was there any song on the album that was particularly a challenge to write?
Cris: The one that was a challenge to write is not on the album! It’s funny because the songs that are on the album are the ones that had a better writing flow. If it is too hard, then maybe the song is not that good. To be able to find a sound – Seian, Michael, and I wrote 30 songs for this album from which we chose the setlist for “Skins”.
‘Drive (Just killing IT)’ was an easy song to write but it was a hard song to produce. We wanted to reproduce liberated madness, going off the rails and really getting out of the comfort zone – and from a production standpoint – recording and mixing – it was harder. But I think we did a great job on that!
What do you hope listeners take away from the album “Skins”?
Cris: I hope that after they listen to the album, they feel like right after they had sex. With all their demons left behind, feeling relaxed and free in their own body, with a clear mind and an appetite for life!
Seian: For me, it’s important that people actually take time and listen to the whole thing. That’s actually maybe the hardest thing to achieve in this day and age. Other than that, I wish that audiences can appreciate our effort to make something sounding modern, original yet reminiscent of bands we love, of the earlier styles we’ve dabbled in, and our heritage as songwriters and producers. Of course, there’s also the lyrical and “message” aspect of songs – that one’s for the truest of listeners. I hope they can take away at least one song that sticks out to them, and they would share it with the world further because they found meaning in it.
With a career spanning over 10 years, you’ve had plenty of time to experiment with different sounds, but what’s one genre you’d like to try that you haven’t before?
Seian: We’ll definitely do some more electronic-infused stuff in the future. There are a lot of subgenres in electronic music and I believe it’s really healthy to keep an open mind when it comes to new sounds, new technologies, and techniques. There’s also a lot of music we listen to in general, each one of us in the band is pretty unique as far as taste goes, so I think the combinations when it comes to creative approaches are inevitably varied and may not be possible to pin down every time to just one thing.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape from all the current events?
Seian: I definitely feel as if it’s an escape. Music, for us, is the best form of doing what you love and also creating a world of your own to get lost into, to explore your own fantasy and psyche, get to know you and your relationship to the world better. We as a band have always been dreamers. I truly believe musicians, in general, can push the state of consciousness people are in. We’re all coming from families that have that mindset – that art and music are very powerful and should be treated as something special and sacred.
Do you believe music can enforce true change?
Cris: Yes. When I make music, I think of movies – and movie scenes. The other way around, life has a music soundtrack for each of us. I feel that there is nothing closer to our soul than music, and it has the power to influence our behavior and actions. It is with us from when we are born to when we die. It is tied to the most important moments of our life. A song can make you feel extreme joy, a punch in the stomach, emptiness – can get you instantly back to any given moment in your lifespan. So yeah, music can enforce true change, maybe not so concrete or visible all the time, but in a more subtle way.
Seian: I truly believe that it was always the case.
Music and what happens at a certain time on the planet have always been tied together and honestly, I don’t believe the modern age is any different. It also depends on what mindset a person that listens has. You could listen to something for a lot of reasons, and there’s quite a chance that sometimes not much affects you in those times when you might search for new music sometimes because there’s really a lot of it coming out – but then there’s always that song that appears that feels like you’ve heard it before, that speaks to you intrinsically and reveals to you layers of joy, sorrow or anything you can imagine. These moments change you, they make you feel whole.
The release of “Skins” was initially announced on February 18. Sadly, due to current situation, the band postponed the album for the next month. Until then, see below the official cover artwork:
Photos: (c) Bianca Petrisor