Ting Tings (The) Biography
Katie White started her music career in a girl group punk trio TKO – short for Technical Knock Out – with two friends from Lowton school, Marion Grethe Seaman and Emma Lally. The band had some success and supported Steps and Atomic Kitten. In March 2001 songwriter Jules De Martino wrote four songs for TKO at Leeds University. While De Martino was in Manchester a few months later, the pair bumped into each other and discovered they had a mutual love of Portishead. De Martino relocated to Manchester, based at the alternative musician-commune the Islington Mill in Salford. The pair and a friend went on to form the Portishead-influenced trio Dear Eskiimo who were signed to Mercury Records. However, due to a change of directors and managers, the management style of the record label caused them to split. The experience left White and De Martino with a distrust of the music industry.
Retreating to The Mill, while White served behind the bar, de Martino produced tracks for various artistes located at The Mill. Developing their sound while listening to performances at The Mill they formed The Ting Tings. "Ting Ting" was the name of a Chinese colleague of White at a shop, who told her that it sounded like the pronunciation of "bandstand" in Mandarin (亭). The name endeared them to Asian music fans, and the group has experienced much success in Japan, where their name can mean "small, cute penis" (wikt:ちんちん).
Having created three songs, the band's first gig was a free-beer invite all at The Mill. Subsequent gigs were funded on donations, and after their third gig they were name checked on XFM. The subsequent Islington Mill gigs ended up as some of the most sought after tickets on the Manchester party scene – with various A&R reps and record producers, such as Rick Rubin, asking for tickets.
Their first double-A side single "That's Not My Name/Great DJ" was joint released by the band and local label Switchflicker Records, and together with their second single "Fruit Machine", they were on heavy rotation on British radio (amongst others BBC 6 Music, played regularly by many DJs including a session for Marc Riley who was first to have them in session on 6 Music and first to play their record on the station). "Fruit Machine" was a limited-edition, 500-only seven-inch single on Legendre Starkie Records, the band's own label, which was only available at the group's gigs at Islington Mill in Salford, Electrowerkz in Islington, Berlin in Germany and at Glasslands in Brooklyn, New York City. They had a notable performance at Glastonbury Festival 2007, and after an October 2007 tour of universities in the UK with Reverend and the Makers, signed for Columbia Records. On 14 December 2007 they appeared on Later with Jools Holland. In May 2008 the band credited BBC Introducing for giving them their 'life changing' break after BBC Radio Manchester's Introducing show spotted the band and put them forward for inclusion in the Glastonbury running order.
In January 2008, they were voted third in the annual BBC 6 Music poll of industry experts Sound of 2008, for acts to emerge in the coming year. In February 2008 they were the opening slot act on the 2008 Shockwaves NME Awards Tour, performing with The Cribs, Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong and Does It Offend You, Yeah?. In conjunction with the NME and HMV the band contributed a demo version of "Great DJ" to a limited, 5000 copies only 10" vinyl release of all the artists on the NME Awards Tour.
In late March 2008, The Ting Tings joined up with Alphabeat and The Fratellis to play a gig which was part of the 'MTV Spanking New Music Tour'. The gig was held at the Islington Academy in London.
The first single released on Columbia was "Great DJ", which received considerable airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Xfm in the UK; and enthused by magazines such as the NME. The band performed a live set on the In New Music We Trust stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Maidstone, Kent, which was made available by the BBC's online video player application iPlayer. The single "Shut Up and Let Me Go" appeared in an iPod commercial in late April 2008, peaking at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Great DJ" was also played during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Carling Cup Final.
A cover of Altered Images' "Happy Birthday" appears on the children's show "Yo Gabba Gabba" CD (now discontinued).
The Ting Tings appeared as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live on the January 16, 2010 episode, hosted by Sigourney Weaver.
2008–2009: We Started Nothing
The band's debut album, We Started Nothing, was released on 13 May 2008. It was leaked onto the internet on 19 May 2008. Shortly after the release of the album, the band released a statement on the social network service MySpace which explained to fans that their single "That's Not My Name" had reached number 1 in the UK Singles Charts, the statement went on to encourage fans to purchase legal copies of the single in order to keep it at the top position for the official Sunday Chart release on 18 May. The band went on to secure Number 1 in the UK Singles chart on 18 May.
The Ting Tings performed at the iTunes Live London Festival in the KOKO nightclub on 9 July 2008, and the performance was released as a downloadable EP in the iTunes store under the title iTunes Live: London Festival ‘08. Their singles "Shut Up and Let Me Go" and "We Started Nothing" were featured in the Gossip Girl series, while the song "Be the One" was featured in One Tree Hill. Their single "Great DJ" was featured in the theatrical trailers for the Anna Faris comedy The House Bunny, the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and recently the Michael Cera comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This single is also used in the Japanese drama Sunao ni Narenakute. The Ting Tings were one of four performers who played small interludes consisting of remixes of past hits throughout the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. They played a section from "Shut Up and Let Me Go" with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM. They also won Best UK Video for their single "Shut Up and Let Me Go". On 31 December 2008 they performed on Jools Holland's Hootenanny show, to bring in the new year on BBC2 in the UK along with numerous other singers and bands.
The band toured Australia and New Zealand in early 2009 as part of the Big Day Out Festival lineup. They also toured in Singapore as part of that festival's night counterpart, Big Night Out. Columbia Records announced on 16 January 2009 the US release of the single, "That's Not My Name" for 27 January 2009 and a March/April US concert tour by the group. In May 2009, their album won an Ivor Novello Award for best album. In June 2009 they returned to the Glastonbury Festival playing The Other stage on Friday night; on Saturday, British Hip-Hop artist Dizzee Rascal opened his set on the Pyramid Stage with a cover of "That's Not My Name". The two were headliners at the Isle of Wight Festival Friday, 12 June 2009.
They toured the US, supporting Pink on her Funhouse Tour.
On 2 December 2009, they were nominated for Best New Artist at the 52nd Grammy Awards.
The band began writing their second album in Paris, France, and will record the album in a converted jazz-club in Berlin after the Pink tour, from October. White says that the new album would show some subtle changes to their sound. Since then, it has been reported that the band would collaborate with rapper Jay-Z on the new album. The duo have reportedly been assisted by label mate and Barbadian-American R&B star Rihanna with her vocals contributed on a track on the upcoming album. It was revealed by NME that the album has a working title Kunst (art in German) and will be released summer 2010.
The names of two potential singles: "Help" and "Hands" were confirmed in January 2010.
In April, they updated their blog, announcing that they were 9 tracks into the new album.. In May, there was a message on their website saying that they had nearly finished the album and the website is to be refurbished. It is expected that they will announce a release date once the website is updated.
On July 2, 2010, they played Wireless Festival and performed "That's Not My Name", "Shut Up and Let Me Go", "Great DJ", "Fruit Machine", "We Started Nothing", "Keep Your Head", "We Walk" and their new single "Hands".
On July 10, The Ting Tings confirmed on their German website that they had finished recording their album. They describe some of the tracks from the album as a little dark and danceable and were influenced by the cold weather in Berlin while they were recording.
On August 11, they announced that the lead single will be "Hands". It has been mixed by Calvin Harris and written by the duo themselves. It will be released on October 11. The artwork has been released as well.
On August 18, Hands premiered on Radio 1 and is now viewable on their Facebook page.
They are currently completing their album which is expected to be released around Autumn.
On September 5th, the official video for "Hands" premiered on YouTube.