Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is the rather endearing moniker of English electronic music whizz Orlando Higginbottom. Groupie Recently sat down with TEED to discuss why he dresses up as a dinosaur for his live shows, his new album and the rigmarole of touring. And just like his name the 26-year-old dance musician was slightly enigmatic and totally without peer. He’s a direct, humble, no-bullshit guy who dresses up in costumes, and is truly unafraid of what people think of him. Can’t say that about many people in the business. His debut album ‘Trouble’ has the same vibe to it as well; it’s a fearlessly cool and inventive dance album everyone interested in electronic music should plug into.
Read our chat with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs below. TEED’s debut full length album ‘Trouble’ is out now.
Stream the album while you read!
What made you want to dress up as a dinosaur?
It’s just fun, I wanted to do something more than jeans and a t-shirt and a cap. I wanted to have a laugh, not take it too seriously and try and be cool.
Was the cool thing something you were reacting against, was it something that frustrated you in the scene?
Oh yeah, both. I didn’t see why music had to be trendy. I didn’t understand why music had to have street cred, so yeah, I just wanted to do something that was free from that.
Do you still get a buzz putting on your dinosaur suit?
Yeah, I love it. I love it every time. I think it’s really fun. I mean you couldn’t say that I strictly up as a dinosaur, but I dress up every show and it’s always fun. I’m always like, I always think to myself, I’m so happy I’m dressing up!
What’s the craziest dinosaur outfit you’ve ever worn?
I did one for a video for a track of mine called “American Dream Part 2”, it was this massive white thing behind me, and we covered it in glue and fired confetti at it. We covered my whole costume in glue while I was in it and fired confetti at it. It was pretty wild. It looked great.
It’s been an epic couple of years for you. You released 5 EPs in 2011, and now a debut full length. How have you come up with so much material? I would describe that as quite prolific.
Good! I don’t know. I’ve just worked a lot. A lot of those tracks have been from the past three years you know? Most of the album was written in the last year, but a lot of the EP stuff was before that.
Is it hard to put your work out there? Do you ever feel hesitant?
No. I’m cool with putting things out there. Record labels, they’re a bit more hesitant, but that’s their nature.
What are you most proud of about the album? What gives you the biggest buzz?
The amount of feedback I’ve had from people, from fans saying they really love it. That made me really happy. Personally I know that I almost lost the plot with the record and came back and finished it, and did work hard on it. So yeah, I’m just proud that I finally got it done because I nearly gave up.
What was the lowest moment? What made you nearly give up?
It was just taking a long time, and when you kind of feel like you don’t have the ideas. That’s pretty tough.
Do you seek external help when those kind of moments happen? Is there someone you go to the bounce ideas off?
… you have to be careful because people chat a lot of shit and not many of them know how to make music, and sometimes it’s not helpful at all.
Is there someone close to you who you trust?
Yeah I have a friend who did some writing with me for the album, we’ve been mates since we were kids and he’s got a good pair of ears.
Does he have a name?
Yeah, he’s called Ed, Edmond Finnard. He’s a composer.
Is making music something you anticipate doing for the rest of your life?
I want to make music… I don’t want to do this project for the rest of my life, but you know yeah.
How do you stay sane on tour?
I pick my parties basically. I’m careful when to, you know, pick out when I’m going to get involved and stay up all night and I just make sure that it’s worth it, and the rest of the time I’m a good boy.
You go home and get your beauty sleep?
Yeah, exactly. ‘Cause yeah, it does destroy you.
A lot of people talk about writing on tour. Do you mange to do that?
Yeah, I can’t really write on the road.
Do you collect inspiration on the road?
You’re in a certain mindset for live touring and my studio mindset and touring mindset are quite different.
What’s different about them?
Well on the road I conserve all my energy just for a performance. And I’m thinking about that as an entertainment thing and then in studio it’s much more about making music and expressing myself and kind of taking my time, that kind of thing.
Did the fact that people are more likely to buy music in bursts and as singles influence you in anyway when writing the album?
Yeah, definitely. I wanted every song on the album to be a stand alone tune because I appreciate now with itunes you can pick out the bits that you like. Yeah you know, I don’t think it’s neccearily been a bad thing for music that that has happened. It’s a shame that people don’t really sit down and listen to a whole album now but that’s what the situation is and you kind of have to embrace that. So yeah, I was very aware of that.
What’s the worst thing about club culture?
… I mean I could talk about drugs but that would be boring. I think you know sometimes also because sometime is popular there are people there who don’t really love it. They’re just there because it’s popular and that’s a bit boring.
What’s the most memorable gig so far?
I just played a headline show in London at Coco, which is kind of my biggest headline show to date. And that was really great, that was a big mark for me in terms of reaching a point in my career. That was amazing and the crowd were really supportive of that… But really my most memorable gig was when I did Melt Festival in Germany, last Summer, and it was the first time I’d really played to a really huge festival crowd and the show really worked, and I was like “Yes, I can do this!” You know, we can make this work now and that was really exciting.
How do you feel about the intrusion into your life, as you get increasingly popular?
It’s quite tiring. You know it’s quite draining. It doesn’t worry me, it’s not like I’m panicking about what people are going to think of me. I guess people wouldn’t be calling up to speak with me if they didn’t like me music, so yeah, I’m alright with it, sometimes it’s really fun, yeah!
You come across as really calm, in control, and totally unfussed, it’s great.
But inside I’m shitting myself.
Before we let you go, we want you to tell us something about yourself that no one else would know…
I really like mowing the lawn. I really like cutting the grass.
Do you know that term “cutting the grass”?
No, what is it?
It means hitting on someone your friend is into. Cutting on your grass. Get it?
Oh ok cool! [laughs]
It could mean both for you?
Yeah definitely. [laughs]