Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is the solo project of Orlando Higginbottom, an Oxford-bred twentysomething whose hummable dance music combines electro-pop, Euro-house, and 2-step beats. His All in One Sixty Dancehalls EP debuted in 2009 on Greco-Roman (an offshoot of a like-named collective that includes Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard), and, in June of 2010, his follow-up All in Two Sixty Dancehalls EP featured “Garden,” a breakout duet that caught the ear of Annie Mac at BBC’s Radio 1. Remix work followed for the likes of Wafa, Tinashé, and Crystal Fighters as a full-length album was prepared for release.
We chatted with Orlando ahead of his highly anticipated night @ Elsewhere 11/4 with Kim Ann Foxman, Tasker (Whities), Baltra
You often post curated mixes and links to single tracks on your website and social media – how do you choose the tracks you want to share? What strikes you about music that speaks to you?
I suppose I’m not really a secret weapons kind of music fan / DJ. When I find something that excites me I want everyone to have it. The moment I experience some amazing creativity there’s a split second where I think if everybody could see this it would save the world! Which is funny. As for what strikes me about the music that speaks to me, that’s the fun of it, you never know what’s going to hit you.
Have there been any new artists or releases that have stood out to you or influenced your own work recently?
Influence is a murky zone. Some 2017 stuff that’s stood out and inspired me though – Tyler the Creator’s album gets better and better, it’s so generous I feel lucky when its on. Radio Slave’s Rekids label is on such a roll at the moment, I’m into all of it, its what I want to play out and it gets me in the studio. I just heard a new album from Errorsmith which sounds like completely different kind of music making to what I do, precision minimal freedom, very fun.
It’s been five years since the release of your last record. How would you describe your creative process in putting together a record, and how do you know, as an artist, when an album is finished?
Haha. Ugh. Knowing when it’s finished is easy, knowing when and what to finish is incredibly hard. With “Trouble” I was pulling from four hundred or so demos I think. It looks like I’ve been going through a similar process this time around, making way too much material then chopping it right down to something you hope is good. Then there’s always a sad “what if” about all the ideas that have to get pushed to the side.
How would you compare your performance approaches between DJing and performing sets of your own material?
Very different, you could say the live shows lean towards theatre, and djing leans towards partying. I can admit that writing music is a private thing, and performing those tracks was always stepping into the unknown and some weird euphoric discomfort. DJing feels like a social thing for me if I had it my way the decks would always be on the dancefloor (maybe with a periscope so I can check the people at the back are still with me), the dancer and the DJ and everyone on a level.
You post fairly regularly about political issues on social media, particularly Twitter. Do you feel it’s important for musicians and other artists to be vocal about politics and related issues?
If you want to do it, do it. There is no right way to engage with politics and social media, it’s a horrible stressful mess. The only thing that bugs me with this is that someone might not share something important because they are worried about losing a fan. That’s corporate behavior.
Interview by Morgan Lawrence