Raised outside of Manchester, England, Katie White was a typical teenager, indulging in acts like the Backstreet Boys.
But the minute she moved near Islington Mill arts center in Salford in her late teens, things changed.
“There was an art space and every night there was a different band that was playing,” she says via telephone from Atlanta. “There would be terrible white noise artists that make your ears bleed, a crazy Japanese rock band I never heard of.
“Then within a month, I got into Blondie and the Talking Heads and The Smiths—all of my favorite bands I didn’t know existed. I changed the way I dressed. It was real moment for me. I learned it’s pop music and you can do it quite differently.”
That’s been a mantra for The Ting Tings, which she co-founded in 2007 with Jules De Martino. On the duo’s third album, Super Critical, they channeled the disco era of Studio 54, CBGB and new wave. De Martino and White owe it to former Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor, whom they met after decamping in Ibiza.
“It was amazing,” White says. “It was the best experience we ever had. I didn’t even know who Andy was. We went to Ibiza. We didn’t know Andy was there, and it’s completely random that we met him.”
The trio became “very good friends” and had no plans to work together. After all, it would be awkward if it didn’t pan out. But one day, they decided to try it.
“We didn’t leave the studio for nine months,” says White, whose band struck platinum with the single “That’s Not My Name.”
Taylor shared stories about his time at notorious discos like Studio 54. White saw a photo of Diana Ross in the club’s DJ booth and he told her he was actually with the legendary Motown singer.
“He would have these amazing stories,” White says. “We would romanticize about late ‘70s, early ‘80s music. He’d play this music we hadn’t discovered yet. It was the perfect match.
“On paper, I never would have said, ‘On our third album, we’re going to move to Ibiza and meet some guy from Duran Duran.’ It wouldn’t have made sense on paper.”
The evolution of The Tings Tings from punk-pop to disco-pop, White admits, can be confusing to listeners.
“Our first album became quite successful,” she says. “Even when we wrote that first album, we came from a creative place. We love songwriting and for us to write the same album twice would be boring.
“We love changing up every album and try and attempt to do something different. Sometimes we get it right—that’s the fun part.”
THE TING TINGS W/LUNA AURA, Club Red, 1306 W. University, Mesa, 480.258.2733, clubredrocks.com, Saturday, April 25, 8 p.m. $20.