Bombay Bicycle Club Interview

Wireless: Jan/Feb 2012 Bombay Bicycle Club interview

Bombay Bicycle Club’s newest album A Different Kind of Fix is dripping with pop rhythms and layered with electro beats. Their fun lyrics and bursts of energy make them a refreshing band on the current music scene. Wireless caught up with bassist Ed Nash to discuss the fans, the future and the ‘fucking weird’ production of Ben Allen. 

Cast your mind back to 2006. Your ears were being harassed by  McFly’s cheesy pop version of Don’t Stop Me Now, Justin Timberlake’s catchy catastrophe Sexy Back and who could forget Chico’s invention of his very own time? But under the surface a young band were about to break through. In North London four school chums Ed, Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl and Suren De Saram came together at the tender age of just 15. They began banging out their own musical creations before taking Channel 4’s ‘Road to V’ festival by storm. They beat favourites The Holloways to the number one spot and were rewarded with the opening slot at V Festival. And all before they had finished their GCSEs.

When asked his opinions on their early rise to fame Ed says “I don’t think about it. I think there’s probably good things and bad things about it. People used to write about and talk about our age all the time which I think we all got frustrated by after a bit. We were releasing songs in the public eyes which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing but it means you have to develop in front of the public. But then on the flip side we were and still are very young and have a lot of energy.”

The band were prolific. Their material was coming out fast and furiously. The year after their big break they released two EP’s and started work on their debut album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Off, which went gold in 2009. They had made their stamp on the record industry and cut away from their contemporaries. But far be it for them to sit back and enjoy the media attention. They were on their feet again before the ink of the congratulatory NME article was even dry.

In 2010 their second album Flaws threw off the shackles of any previous expectations. Largely acoustic and with a folk sound the media and fans alike were taken by surprise. “To be honest we were surprised that we got such a good reaction to Flaws” Ed told us. “It was us going back to our roots. When we were doing Flaws it was literally the opposite to what we’re doing now and people still stuck with us” happily adding “we have the best fans ever”. Later that year Flaws was silver certified after selling over 60,000 copies and was nominated for the 2011 Ivor Novello best album award. However their genre-hopping ways would prove to be a continual problem for music store stockists across the country.

The buzzing A Different Kind of Class was a return to their earlier electric trend: “We kind of picked up where we left off from the first album.” How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep is a strong opening track with a dreamy, lingering atmosphere. It even appeared on the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack alongside Cee Lo Green, Muse and Florence & The Machine. The single Shuffle is filled with rhythmic layers which are reminiscent of 80’s funk and shows clear influence from Talking Head classics. Whereas Lights Out, Words Gone is a captivatingly subdued little gem.

“I think people are into the fact that we change our sound around. I personally find it very boring if a band makes the same record three times and tries to recapture what they had on the first one. I think it’s good to vary.” This album is a far cry from Flaws. Not even Ed has a clue as we discovered when we asked about their future sound: “I have no idea. If you asked me that after doing the first album I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that we would record an acoustic album then do an electric album. I honestly have no idea. It’s not planned at all. Everyone changes and what they’re into changes. You develop like a painter. You’re not going to paint the same picture for the rest of your life.”

Jim Abbis, who has worked with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian produced the album and threw his own direction into the mix: “I think producers definitely have a big influence. They have their own sound. Producers work incredibly differently. They have different methods of doing things. They also help you structure songs, so songs could go in a different way depending on who you work with.” Ben Allen came along for the ride too and took the three tracks Your Eyes, Favourite Day and Shuffle under his wing. Ed says “Ben Allen only produced three songs but I think the ones he did he added a lot of texture and sounds that we would have not necessarily put in ourselves. He is very good at making catchy pop songs but with a weird twist. Like that Animal Collective album he did. They’re great pop songs and they’re cool but they’re fucking weird as well.”

Bombay Bicycle Club have a hell of a lot of shows on their cards. Along with the current European tour they’re set to hit Ireland and China. They’ve already announced another UK tour and have their fingers crossed for a return to America next year. Their hearts truly lie in playing live and they’re itching to get crowds pumping all across the world. Ed declared “playing live is definitely my favourite by far. Well, that’s why we started doing this and I don’t know but I think that’s why people got into us in the beginning, because we enjoy playing live and the live shows are incredibly fun. I just enjoy it. It’s my favourite thing in the world.”