INTERVIEW: Bombay Bicycle Club
With three albums already under their belt that are incredibly diverse, BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB have returned again in 2014 to bring us yet another fantastic record featuring a sound you definitely wouldn’t have expected.
In 2010 we were given Flaws, an entirely acoustic effort followed by A Different Kind Of Fix, which delved into the psychedelic world. On February 3 the band will be releasing So Long, See You Tomorrow an album that features tracks full of synth goodness, something BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB have never done before.
Bassist (and very talented painter) Ed Nash had a chat with us about the new album, their very first interactive music video and the unique artist that inspired the band to write their very first dance album.
‘Carry Me’ was pretty groundbreaking when it came out, of course because of its interactive theme. What urged you guys to create an interactive film clip?
We didn’t necessarily want to go with an interactive film clip in the beginning, it’s kind of the done thing at the moment and a lot of people are doing it and these people got in touch with us, the company that did it, telling us about the technology they’d developed and it fit in perfectly with everything we’ve been looking at in regards to the album and the album artworks. We would’ve been mad not to go for it, and it linked in to these kind of themes of repetition and looping, it tied in with the work of a photographer called Edward Muybridge who we were looking at in regards to the artwork and as it happens, it turned out to be this incredible interactive video. We never initially meant to do that, it was all down to this company that got in touch with us.
It definitely turned out well..
Oh it’s great I love it to bits!
Bombay Bicycle Club are famous for diversity, what would you say your new album feels like for you all musically?
I think you’re right, I think the albums do sound very different and I think that’s progression there. To me personally at least, I think it’s a progression from where songs like ‘Shuffle’ left off. It’s quite a dancey album and it’s based around electronic beats and loops as apposed to guitar lines and bass lines like our first album and our second album as well. It’s taking that idea further, I’d consider it a dance record really, for the most part.
It’s fantastic that you are all able to explore such different sounds. The difference between So Long, See You Tomorrow and Flaws is just astounding..
I guess from the outside it probably seems like we’ve gone insane, but we just want to make the music that interests us at the time and hopefully it keeps it exciting for us and everyone out there listening as well. You know when you see a band kind of make the same album four or five times, it just becomes incredibly boring and you don’t really give a shit about what they’re doing but hopefully, this stays fresh. You’ve got to keep changing otherwise it would be boring for everyone involved including the people making the music.
The album cover for So Long, See You Tomorrow extremely interesting. Your previous album artwork has always caught my eye personally, do you all have artists that you admire or inspire you?
A whole load yeah, it’s something we’ve actually put a lot of thought and time into and I think so far every record has had a cover that has reflected the music that is on the record like the kind of themes and general vibe that’s going on. With this one, as I mentioned before, it’s very much influenced by one artist Edward Muybridge and with the other ones, the themes have been more wide and varied than with the first album. We were kind of interesting in photography and kind of creating a mood with that, the second album actually I painted the cover myself and that was trying to create a more intimate, home done vibe, and then the third one, it’s not entirely psychedelic but it’s reflecting the title A Different Kind Of Fix so, it’s kind of a reference to that world and that kind of change.
I think it’s great that you mix the artwork and the music so closely..
Maybe we lose too much sleep about it but I actually think that people appreciate the covers. It’s very, very well though out and planned.
With the whole album being written abroad were there many songs written that didn’t make it onto the album?
Yeah actually far more than there were on previous albums. Previously we’d have 12 or 13 songs that we just wanted to put on the album and we’d go into the studio and record them all and then put them on the album and with this, we knew we wanted to set the bar above what we’d done before, but of course you can’t set yourself the goal of writing the best album you have because obviously that’s ludicrous and you’d have done that before. you have to give yourself the time to write the songs and then you have the option to pick which songs are the best so sometimes there could be two or three times the songs that are on the album, and this is like a 10 song album so I think, people might think that we got a bit complacent or lazy but really we just wanted it to be the best it could be and so we only chose 10 of the best songs.
What usually happens to the tracks that don’t make it onto a record?
They die a death and no one will ever get to hear them. I listen to them still but no one else will get to hear them, for the most part.
You have a variety of guest vocalist on your album including Lucy Rose, who I know has a beautiful voice, do you usually like bringing in new voices whilst recording?
It widens your colour palette really, if that’s an acceptable metaphor, it means you have access to all of these sounds that you wouldn’t necessarily have with the four of us. Like on this album, you’ve got Lucy singing and she’s got a very sweet voice that kind of compliments Jack’s. On the other side of that we’ve got a girl called Rae Morris who’s voice is completely on the other side of the spectrum so, it’s a really powerful voice and again, none of us could really do that and on a song called ‘Luna’ that we just released over here, she’s singing on that and it becomes this incredible thing that previously we wouldn’t have been able to achieve.
So Long, I’ll See You Tomorrow sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful album from what we’ve heard so far, but since you tend to produce albums at a pretty speedy rate compared to many other acts, has there been talk about the follow up yet?
No none yet [laughs]. We spent a lot of time and lost a lot of sleep over this one and so I think we’re all pretty excited to go on tour and play. I think when you’re touring, you don’t start to think about a new album, but you might come up with songs and just a few bits and different pieces. It’ll start to emerge but it’s never something that’s planned, it’s something that evolves.
Is there another genre of music would you be interested in experimenting with on an album that you haven’t explored yet?
Um I don’t know, if you asked me three years ago if we’d make a dance album I’d think you were crazy, but we’ve made a pretty dancey album so I don’t know, we could make like a hip-hop album or a metal album. It seems very unlikely to me but those things might occur you never know and we wouldn’t be scared to do it, if that’s what was going on at the time we would definitely go and do it.
And what plans do Bombay Bicycle Club have for the rest of 2014?
Just go on tour. We start touring at the beginning of February and hopefully we won’t stop. We’ve got Europe in February, the UK in March and April we’re in the States and hopefully it won’t end there, I’d like to get to Australia as well as soon as possible.
So Long, See You Tomorrow is out on February 3.
Words by Lauren Payne