DJANGO DJANGO with MOZART'S SISTER at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Saturday (September 29), 8 pm. $14.50. RT, SS, TW. See listing.
Important note for aspiring musicians: someday people might love your tunes, so it's best to take a few more minutes deciding on a band name to avoid ending up with something cringe-worthy like Django Django's goofy moniker.
"If you think about the name Radiohead, that's pretty terrible, too," guitarist/singer Vincent Neff says, laughing. "We just needed a name to put on our MySpace, and it wasn't too serious and sounded quite exotic. We don't really think about it any more. It's there and there's nothing we can do about it now. We just never thought we'd get to a stage where people would be asking us about it."
The Scottish/Irish band sounds nothing like Django Reinhardt, of course, but people are taking seriously their inventive reworking of psychedelic pop on their self-titled debut, which finally gets a North American release through Warner after dazzling critics overseas since January.
It must feel strange to be touring a year-old album as if it's brand new, but they've been too busy to update their live set anyway. That would be easier to do if they were more willing to rely on laptops to fill in all the tricky bits they've come up with in the studio. But live, the quartet prefer to rely on what they can do with eight hands.
"We have a sampler onstage, but we really try to stay away from anything like a backing track, which is just a personal preference. We might have a drumbeat going on the sampler, but Dave [Maclean] will play on top of it, too. Each to his own."
Even on record, there's a pleasant immediacy and naturalness to their tunes, something that many electronically enhanced pop bands can't pull off. The eclecticism of their influences has led many to compare them to the Beta Band, although there may be another explanation as to why that comparison keeps coming up.
"Our drummer's brother was the keyboard player in the Beta Band. They've still got a big cult following, especially in the UK. A lot of their fans come to our gigs just to touch Dave. And Dave did do [Django Django's] production, so we might share a sensibility.
"Certainly some of us feel that more is made of it than there would be without the family connection, but it's hard to tell when you're so close to the music."