City band Django Django among favourites for Mercury Music Prize

Django Django

Django Django

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A BAND that formed after meeting at the Edinburgh College of Art have been tipped as second favourites to win the Barclaycard Mercury Prize.

Django Django – thought to be the first city band to be nominated for the acclaimed award – were named in the shortlist of 12 alongside established acts Plan B and the The Maccabees.

The four-piece, whose musical style has been described as “folktronica”, first crossed paths in the Capital’s art scene before later forming a group in London.

Nominations for the respected accolade, which has a reputation for crowning obscure acts, are chosen by a panel of musicians, music executives, journalists and other figures in the music industry in the UK and Ireland.

Leeds band Alt-J are currently the bookies’ favourites at 9/4 and attracting 75 per cent of wagers, according to Ladbrokes, with Django Django second at 6/1.

The city band’s self-titled album has been hailed as a “kaleidoscopic pop superbly reprogrammed for the contemporary dance floor” – no small feat for a group who freely admit they are “not professional musicians”.

Speaking to the News, synth player Tommy Grace, from Morningside, said the nomination for one of the UK’s top music honours had caught them “by surprise”.

“When we got the news we were completely floored,” he said. “We heard a few days in advance from our manager but we weren’t allowed to tell anyone.

“I will felt that we’d jinx it if we let it slip and someone would come round and take away the nomination.”

“I remember being young and scanning through the Mercury prize list so this is a huge milestone for us.” The band – drummer and producer David Maclean, singer and guitarist Vincent Neff, bassist Jimmy Dixon and Tommy – were friends for around eight years before they began playing music together.

“David and I were at art college together studying painting and lived in flats in Marchmont and Canonmills. We would write music individually in our own rooms, Him with a sampler and me in my room with a laptop. Vinny was doing architecture at Edinburgh and we knew Jimmy from Glasgow Art School.” Despite all meeting in Edinburgh however, the band formed by a bizarre twist of fate when all four separately relocated to London three years ago.

“We always thought we would be comfortable and were happy with what we were doing but to get affirmation is really flattering and makes you feel that all the hard work as not been wasted,” said Tommy, a former pupil at Boroughmuir High School.

“Some people have been asking how we would feel but if we won it but even if it is just the nomination we would not be at all upset,” he said.

The group are set to return to their old stomping ground on October 24, playing the Liquid Rooms.

• The odds

Alt-J: 7/4

Django Django: 5/1

Richard Hawley: 11/2

Jessie Ware: 8/1

Plan B: 10/1

Ben Howard: 12/1

The Maccabees:12/1

Field Music: 14/1

Michael Kiawanuka: 14/1

Liane La Havas: 16/1

Roller Trio: 20/1

Sam Lee: 25/1