An In-Depth Interview with English Alternative-Rock Band, BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB Where They Discuss Their Inspiration, Touring And Other Ambitions !
Posted On 12 Nov 2014
The English alternative band, Bombay Bicycle Club is made up of members Jack Steadman (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jamie MacColl (guitar), Suren de Saram (drums) and Ed Nash (bass).
The band were given the opening slot on 2006’s V Festival after winning a competition. They then went on to release two EPs and their debut single “Evening/Morning”. Since then, the band has released four albums including their latest collection So Long, See You Tomorrow which topped the album charts in February 2014. The band has toured worldwide as a headlining act, playing North America, Australia, Europe and the Far East.
Learn more about the guys that make up Bombay Bicycle Club in the following interview:
So when did you guys first decide that you wanted to be in a band together?
I’m not sure if there was a single moment where we all sat down together and said to one another, ‘lets be a band’. We were initially put together by our form teacher when we were 15 to play in a school assembly because we happened to be the only musical people in our form. That’s not to say that Jack (the lead singer) and I weren’t already very good friends and musical companions — we spent the previous couple of years going to gigs together and bonding over a shared love of the same music. After playing together for a while we began to realize that there was strong chemistry between the four of us and really it just took off from there.
Tell me about going back to school after you guys played and then won at the Road to V Festival back in 2006.
It wasn’t a big deal really. We went to a very intense and academic school so everything else came second best to school.
How’s the tour being going? You guys have a crazy busy schedule lined up for the rest of the month and into the fall! How do you keep up the energy and momentum up every night?
The tour is still going well, for me at least! I’m writing this from Melbourne, Australia and feeling very lucky to be here. After the end of the summer festivals, it feels like we’re starting the second leg of the touring for this year, back to doing our own shows. I think the fact that the festival season is less time-intensive allows us to come back re-energized for the rest of the year.
How is performing at festivals different then your individual shows?
At festivals you only see one side of the band, this side that is energetic, upbeat and immediate. At our own shows I think we try and play some of our slower material from Flaws and the latest album. When you play for more than an hour and a half every night, there need to be peaks and troughs throughout the show, dramatic changes throughout the set make the whole show more exciting.
How is your latest album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, different and similar then your previous albums?
All our albums are different to one another but this is the first time I can see strands of similarity between the newest and previous albums. On our third album A Different Kind of Fix, we began to explore electronic music — sampling, loops etc. — and the latest album is both a continuation of that and a process that takes that initial exploration much further.
So I’d say this is by far our most electronic album and indeed the one that looks most towards direct pop music. Although all our albums are very different I’d like to believe that there is a strong sense of Bombay Bicycle Club running throughout them all, though that sense is probably quite an abstract idea.
What are your favorite songs on the album?
They change all the time — hopefully the sign of a strong album. Right now they’re probably “Carry Me” and the title track “So Long, See You Tomorrow”.
Not that you guys get a lot of free time to listen to radio but what are you thinking about what’s on ALT radio right now?
Radio in the UK is very different to North America and we don’t tend to listen to stations that only play one type of music. I think that UK radio stations — BBC Radio One in particular — are very good at promoting new music, regardless of genre. It’s a shame that US radio doesn’t have public radio that has the ability to introduce new music to large swathes of people.
I find the obsession with the past that seems to infect US radio very disappointing, though I understand the pressures to keep listeners that come with being a commercial radio station. People in the music industry always seem to be asking, ‘where are the next big bands going to come from?’, well if you’re not going to support them and give them a proper platform, then there won’t be any.
Right now I’m really into the latest albums by The War on Drugs and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Both albums look to the past without resorting to pastiche; although their influences are clear, they manage to create something that is strong enough to stand alone.
I love that you guys post a lot of just fun photos on your Facebook and Instagram of you guys just out having fun and enjoying life. Why do you guys do that?
We’ve always been a band that has been very close to our fans. There is no mystery with Bombay Bicycle Club, you get what you see and we’d never pretend to be anything that we’re not.
Where do you get the inspiration for your music?
Musically, it’s always hard to pin down individual bands because our influences are always changing. Because each album has been different, our influences tend to be different too. For the last couple of albums we’ve looked more towards hip-hop and electronic music though I find it difficult to pin down individual artists that have influenced us. Lyrically, I think our inspiration has always followed a similar path; Jack’s lyrics are intensely personal and he writes about what he knows and what he’s experienced.
Living or dead, who is a musician that you would still love to work with and why?
There’s two people I’d love to work with: David Bowie and Kanye West. I really admire their willingness to change and almost defiant experimentation in the face of commercial pressures.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
One of the most enduring memories I have is of our keyboard player bringing me a guitar on stage completely naked!
When you guys aren’t performing or writing new material, what do you like to do for fun? How do you guys wind down?
Everyone has their niche: Jack has ambitions to run a jazz bar in London, Ed is a very talented portraitist, Suren just loves to play drums endlessly and I’m studying for a degree.