Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. As a name for a one-man-dance-machine, it almost seems like a joke. Maybe that's because Orlando Higginbottom didn't expect it to be anything but a bit of fun.
A few years ago, Higginbottom donned his first dinosaur costume searching for an amusing way to make the music he wanted on his own terms. And now he's got himself a full-time job.
Based in London, he's coming back to North America for a second mini-tour after having turned heads at an intimate Bardot performance in November. And this Saturday, he'll be bringing his unique and eclectic brand of dance music to the Electric Pickle.
But we here at Crossfade wanted to get to know the man behind the headdress a little better. So we called him up for a chat.
Crossfade: What do you think of Miami. Was your show at Bardot in November your first time in the city?
Orlando Higginbottom: My first time was at WMC last year. So 2011. And that was pretty weird.
Why was it weird?
Well, I think it's quite a strange event ... Spring Break and Miami and all these DJs and stuff combining. As a festival, it's quite unique. There aren't many festivals like that. It was strange. But when I went back to play Bardot, that was really nice and kind of a bit more relaxed. I think WMC is pretty hectic.
I really liked the show at Bardot because it felt very intimate. Do you expect that you might bring a different energy to the show at Electric Pickle?
I went to the venue once. But I can't remember it at all. I think there's a stage, so it won't be so intimate in that sense. And the set will be slightly different and stuff. It will definitely feel like a different event.
When you were performing at Bardot, you came off as a bit soft-spoken and maybe a little shy. Does putting on a dinosaur costume help you take on a certain type of persona?
No, not really. I think it's still me. I'm not very loud on the mike. That's just me. I'm not really like that. I don't really shout and scream about my music so much during a show. I wouldn't say that I was nervous or shy. I was just quiet.
How did you come up with the name Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs? Do you prefer that people say it all the way through?
Yeah, I prefer people say it all the way through. But I don't really mind. It was just some fun and a kind of joke I was having with a friend. I didn't think it would turn into a full-time job. It was pretty relaxed and I wanted to do something that was a bit ridiculous and not about trying to create some really cool persona or anything like that. I just wanted to dress up and write music that I wanted to write.
Do you think other DJs and musicians take themselves a bit too seriously? Are you trying to remind us that music is fun?
I think music is very serious. I think sometimes the way people kind of present their music can be a bit junked up and exclusive. I don't want my music to seem like you have to be into a certain scene to enjoy it or anything like that. That's something I don't like ... People presenting their stuff as too cool for certain people.
Is that why you refuse to define yourself by a specific genre other than dance music?
That's part of it. But honestly, I don't think I could say that I write house music or electro or deep house or techno or anything like that, because I kind of write all of them. It just wouldn't make sense to say I'm a house producer.
What do you do when you're not out making disco dinosaur music?
This is so kind of full-time at the moment. I don't really have any kind of side hobbies. I have time off and I just try to see my friends and my family and kind of touch the ground a bit.
So how many costumes do you actually have and where do they all come from?
I don't know the exact answer to that, probably like ten or 12 or something. The first one, me and my mom made it. And then a friend who started dancing for me made a few costumes. Now I'm still working with her and working with a few other designers and makers and stuff. It's always just been people I've met along the way. I haven't run out and commissioned stuff from designers or anything like that. It's just been people who are up for making and having a bit of fun.
Your album is coming out in June. Are you just beside yourself waiting for the release?
To me, it's six months later than I would have liked it to have been. I finished it, so the weight is off my shoulders and there's nothing I can do. But I can't wait for it to just be out there and to have that feeling like, "That's done," and I can start working on the next one.
Will that be your focus? What is in the future for you?
I'm touring pretty much all the time from now until Christmas. And then I don't really know. We'll see how things go. Either I'll stop in for a bit and write more or carry on. I don't know. But at the moment, it's about touring and that album.
So you say you started this almost as a little fun joke, and now it's become a full-time job. Are you surprised?
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I'm surprised but I'm really happy. I get to travel around and go to loads of places and my job is to make music. So yeah, it's just about exactly what I've always wanted to do.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Saturday, May 5. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.