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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 08:17 GMT
Sound of 2008: The Ting Tings
Self-proclaimed "garage pop" duo The Ting Tings have come third in the BBC's Sound of 2008 new music poll.

We are revealing one artist from the top five every day until Friday, when the winner and full top 10 will be announced.


The Ting Tings

Less than 12 months after forming, Manchester-based The Ting Tings are struggling to get to grips with being one of the UK's most talked-about new bands.

When a fan recognised them as they were hauling their luggage through Liverpool Airport, they were sure there was some mistake.

"I thought he thought I was somebody else," says singer and guitarist Katie White, who assured him: "I don't know what you're on about," and ran away.

When he correctly identified them, they both breathed a sigh of relief. "I thought phew, he actually knows the band. I was quite rude to him at first."

Interest in the group has snowballed since their first gigs for friends at their home at the start of 2007.

Katie White (left) and Jules De Martino of The Ting Tings
The Ting Tings staged their first gigs in their flat in Salford
When word rapidly spread, they found music fans and industry folk descending on their living room to watch their early shows.

"We got invaded," Katie says. "It got out of hand really," explains drummer Jules De Martino. "Someone advertised our fourth gig on Xfm, and it just got packed out."

Comparisons in the press have likened them to The Gossip, Blondie, Girls Aloud and even Toni Basil, of 1980s cheese-pop hit Hey Mickey fame.

Much of the interest has centred on the infectious yelping and handclaps of their jagged pop single That's Not My Name.

For Katie and Jules, the current attention comes after several years of false starts in the music scene.

Katie made her first attempt at stardom as a teenager in girl group TKO - short for Total Knock Out - who supported acts like Atomic Kitten, Steps and Five.

Dear Eskiimo
Katie and Jules were in a previous band together, Dear Eskiimo
They were managed by her dad David - who was also responsible for one-hit-wonders Sweet Female Attitude.

Jules started writing songs for TKO in 2001, and later formed a new pop trio, Dear Eskiimo, with Katie.

They were billed as "Scissor Sisters strapping on Gorillaz' animal suits" and won a major record deal - but stalled at the starting line. So the pair started from scratch and began playing together as a duo.

"What we was doing this time last year was counting the copper jar, and we did literally collect loads of change," Katie says. "And you were selling a bit of equipment because we were a bit skint," she says, turning to Jules.

"Which I regret," he adds. "I sold this tape-playing machine just to pay our rent."

Shortly after starting to rehearse as a duo, Katie decided she needed to play an instrument as well as sing.

Katie White (right) and Jules De Martino of The Ting Tings
The band took off after their Glastonbury performance was on TV
"So she just picked up one of my old guitars and started playing," says Jules. "She'd never played a guitar before, so that's how it's formed.

"It's kind of like a happy accident and it's going to continue like that."

The pair have now successfully reinvented themselves and become one of the most credible and critically-acclaimed groups on the indie scene.

Their reputation rocketed in the summer when Steve Lamacq introduced them on a small stage at Glastonbury as "the next big thing", and their performance made it onto BBC Two.

"With it being late-night TV, you don't realise how many people it's actually getting to," Katie says.

"But then the next day, we looked at all our messages on MySpace and there were hundreds and hundreds of them. It was fantastic."

But the singer says they are too busy to take much notice of the current buzz, describing it as "a bit weird for us".

When they released a limited edition single, they "didn't expect it to go anywhere", she says.

"And it just went whoosh, so now we're just enjoying it, enjoying the ride."

  • Almost 150 UK-based music writers, editors and broadcasters took part in the Sound of 2008 poll. They named their three favourite new acts and their responses were used to compile a top 10.

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