WMC Preview: The Ting Tings

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Since their inception two years ago, the Ting Tings have enjoyed unbridled success, laying siege to charts and hearts in both the UK and the United States. So much so, that even a reporter could become nervous when speaking for the first time to one half of the British outfit, drummer/vocalist/producer, Jules De Martino. So the interview got off to a rocky start.

New Times: So, Stacey --

Julian: Um, that's not my name.

Jane?

That's not my name.

Maybeee ... Joleisa?

Eventually, though we got back on track. Jules and vocalist/guitarist Katie White first met while playing with different bands in London. They eventually ran into each other again in Manchester, while hanging around Islington Mill, a derelict cotton mill turned artist commune. They formed the Ting Tings, naming the band for a Chinese former coworker, and set out to play what they dubbed "d.i.y. pop."

Varied influences found their way into the mix, ranging from the Talking Heads to the Velvet Underground, Bjork to the Beatles, and even Gorillaz to Joni Mitchell. "It's the crossover of influences and the acceptance of each of us in this band that has given us this scope," says Jules. "I would listen to K's loves and hates and she would listen to mine. That opened the floodgates."

But despite the band's bona fide commercial success, they remain committed to their scrappy beginnings. "We've kept ourselves into our band ethic, how big are the small things, remembering who we are, where we came from. Our house parties from the beginning with our drunk friends."

It'll be a far cry from a house party when they play Ultra this Friday, though. The drunk kids will still be in attendance en masse, but their house parties didn't boast these numbers. Still, it promises to be an exciting show, and an honest one.

"Two people, playing pop songs hard, and meaning every word of it," is what Jules promises.  "Only being two of us on stage, we have nowhere to hide, so it's pretty full on. Swapping instruments and making ourselves feel good and fulfilled.And making the audience want to dance, of course!"

Day One of the Ultra Music Festival, Saturday, March 28. Bicentennial Park, 1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $89.95 to $350. ultramusicfestival.com

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