If you’re looking for Bombay Bicycle Club - the young quartet originally from North London’s Crouch End - you’ve found it. If you’re looking for the Indian restaurant from which they poached their highly recognised name, check the Yellow Pages.
Members Jack Steadman (lead vocals, guitar, xylophone), Jamie MacColl (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Suren de Saram (drums, guitar, backing vocals) were 15 when they first formed their musical triage and after welcoming a few different musicians, a year or so later they settled on fourth and final member Ed Nash (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals).
The story is as young as the boys themselves – while in their final years of high school they juggled studying and performances at the likes of 2008’s Camden Crawl, Brighton’s The Great Escape Festival and the Shockwaves NME Awards.
Their debut album I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose was produced by the highly-lauded British producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Editors, Kasabian) and was released in 2009 through Island Records. As a collective these four young lads create smooth and melodic tunes. Steadman's crooning vocals and emotive lyrics compliment Bombay Bicycle Club’s zestful energy; trademark rolling drums, catchy riffs et al. Lead guitarist Jamie MacColl led the way as we indulged in a little bit of tom foolery and a lot of Bombay Bicycle Club.
Are there any bands that Bombay Bicycle Club are into at the moment?
Yes! Local Natives. I shall definitely be looking out for them.
What are your thoughts on performing at smaller venues compared to larger ones?
Well we’re on tour at the moment, so we were in a small venue mindset. It was a bit weird for us to be so far away from the crowd and to be on such a big stage. Like I was on the right side of the stage and the bass player was on the left side of the stage; just so far away. At the moment I actually prefer doing smaller venues.
What does the ‘tour diet’ usually consist of?
Oh dear. We try to be quite healthy. On our ride we have healthy snacks. They always give us raw vegetables which no one in their right mind would eat but in saying that there’s a lot of those late night kebabs.
What was the inspiration behind ‘Always Like This’ video?
We just didn’t have a lot of money for it. Idea was: the whole rewinding/fast forwarding thing. Sorta eighties. A lot of vocal loops in the song. It was filmed somewhere in South London.
The ‘Dust on the Ground’ film clip was a lot more polished. Why?
After such a lo-fi video we wanted to do something a bit different where it wasn’t just us playing our guitars. Maybe it was a bit over ambitious. It’s quite cinematic.
What was the story-line? There were a heap of girls in it.
The inspiration for it was The Virgin Suicides. I think the story of the video is: We were walking along in the woods one day and we come across a girls' covent or something. Then we realise there’s something sinister going on and we run away at the end.
Right, so that’s the film clip in a nut shell.
(Laughs). Yea, MTV wouldn’t actually show that video after 7 o’clock because of some weird reason.
I know you guys have your own record label Mmm Records, will you be signed up artists anytime soon?
Technically it came out on Mmm Records but it was financed by Island Records. We were actually talking recently about trying to sign some other bands but we’d just have to get some money to do that.
For the debut you got to team up with British music producer Jim Abbiss. He also did your 1st EP. How did he originally come across you guys?
It’s a bit of a boring story but my dad is a musician and he’s worked with him before and just said ‘look out for these guys in a few years’. Luckily he liked us and we ended up going into the studio and recording two EPs and then eventually the album.
Is there a thought process behind the order of the songs on your album?
There’s definitely a thought process behind it: The first song and the last song have the same riff even though they are completely different songs. We wanted to make the album sort of circular in a way. Part of the reason was because we wanted people to listen to the album the whole way through; we think that’s important.
Jack Steadman writes the lyrics? Do you ever question the meanings?
I don’t necessarily talk to him about it but I do think about it myself and because he usually writes about his experiences you do wonder if you’re involved in them.
It all started happening for you guys when you opened V Festival 2006 after winning the annual ‘Road to V’ competition. Since winning that you’ve been a staple festival band. Do you guys have any plans to go to America or Australia?
Yeah, but probably not until the second album has come out. We are working on it at the moment and we also have an acoustic album coming out.
I stumbled across a 2007 Bombay Bicycle video titled: On Our Way Back From Kingston. Could you just give us a little overview of what that was about?
I think that was the first time that we’d done a gig that wasn’t in North London and we were driving along on the way back from a gig and we threw a pot noodle at someone. We thought it was very funny.
I assumed that’s what it was but I didn’t want to make any judgments before speaking to you.
Oh, you can judge away now!
Interview by Jasmine Phull, j-fool.blogspot.com
Catch Bombay Bicycle Club at 2000trees Festival this Summer. See below for tickets and details:
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