“We don’t think we’ll ever sell millions of albums, we live in the live arena…” – hmv.com talks to Bombay Bicycle Club
Although Bombay Bicycle Club have been in business for almost a decade now, they’re all still in their early 20s. First discovered when they were just 16, they’ve already released four albums, each darting further and further into experimentalism, with African rhythms, Bollywood samples and a heavier and heavier emphasis on samples and electronica.
Oddly, or wonderfully, depending on how you look at it, the band’s experimentalism has also corresponded exactly with their success increasing. They ended the tour in support of their last album A Different Kind Of Fix in London’s 10,400 capacity Alexandra Palace, but this time, as the tour for their fourth album So Long, See You Tomorrow (which you can preview on the right hand side of the page) begins to winds down, they’ll finish off with the last ever show at London’s Earls Court, in front of 20,000 people.
To find out how preparations are going, we sat down with guitarist Jamie MacColl and bassist Ed Nash…
Your album’s been out for over six months now and you’ve pretty much been on tour for that entire time, how have you found playing the songs live. It’s to fair to say there’s a lot more going on in the new tracks…
Ed: “There’s a hell of a lot more going on. It took a long time to work out how to do it. On the record, it’s all done electronically and the guitars and bass parts are kind of backing that up. We tried to recreate every sound on the record initially, but we realised quite quickly that this would make for an incredibly boring live show, just us pushing buttons. It’s somewhere between the record and what we’ve done live in the past.”
How have the songs been going down?
Jamie: “Really well. In terms of all the albums we’ve put out, the reaction has been the most consistent, as in every track we’ve tried live has gone down really well. It’s a summery album and we released it in the winter, perhaps that’s why we had such a good summer at the festivals.”
You’re headlining Earls Court, which is a massive venue, did you seek out that venue or was it presented to you?
Ed: “We wanted to do a big end of year show in London. We only did one Brixton on our previous tour, we could have done more but we wanted to save it. We looked at all the venues, like Wembley and the O2, but Earls Court stood out. It’s a huge place.”
Jamie: “We did Alexandra Palace on the last tour and we didn’t want to do that again. Also, most of Earls Court is standing and most of the O2 is seating, and that was the clincher. We’re going to make it an occasion. That’s for sure.”
Does this feel like a landmark? And do you look for landmarks?
Ed: “Totally. We ended last our tour at Ally Pally and if it had all ended there, I’d have been happy.”
Jamie: “We always need to feel like it’s getting bigger. I don’t think we’ll ever sell millions of albums, we live in the live arena.”
It’s interesting you say that because Jack (Steadman, frontman) seems to be getting more and more into working in the studio, he seems to be a lot more hands on with production…
Ed: “All of us. Jack included. We’re best live, that’s where we’re at our peak.”
Jack: “I think he enjoys the process of making music more and more. But I think we all prefer the pressure of playing live compared to the pressure of recording.”
Does Earls Court signal the end for touring in support of this album?
Ed: “We’ll do stuff in 2015. We want to. Hopefully more big festivals and taking the album to new places.”
Are you able to write on tour? And have you been this year?
Jamie: “The writing always starts with Jack, so much of the sound of the band, especially on the last two albums, has come from him. We’ve all written music, but that’s how all the songs have started life recently. We don’t really jam, we go off and think about things individually.”
Finally, do you have any pre-show rituals?
Ed: “We’ve got the best pre-gig ritual in the world. We have an iPod shuffle which consists entirely of getting hyped songs. One of them is Lil Jon’s ‘Turn Down For What?’ and another is a Rage Against The Machine song. We put our inner ear monitors on and we dance around like idiots. Thank god the crowd can’t see us.”