Bombay Bicycle Club
Rhian Daly 03/03/2010
“We're a lot more talkative when we're not being interviewed”, laughs Ed Nash, one third of and bassist for North London's Bombay Bicycle Club, as I press the stop button on my dictaphone. He's not wrong, as they joke about playing tonight's show at Brixton Academy with only a large cardboard heart covering their modesty and come out with such high calibre would you rathers that makes it pretty easy to guess how BBC have been spending their down time on the NME Awards tour (Ed's would you rather be in Hard-Fi or the Ordinary Boys brings about murmurs of appreciation before drummer Suren de Saram decides Hard-Fi is the better option because “at least they're lads”). A few hours after the below conversation, the boys play their last set of the tour to an enthusiastic Brixton crowd. A few days after, they're back at the same venue but this time picking up an NME award for being the Best New Band in one of the ceremony's more strongly contested categories. But back to the interview. I sat down with Ed, Suren and guitarist Jamie MacColl to talk about the tour and their forthcoming acoustic album.
So, last night of the tour - how's it been?
Ed: Yeah, good.
Jamie: Pretty super duper.
Did you know the bands before? I'm guessing you were familiar with their music but personally?
Jamie: We'd met them a couple of times before but we didn't really know them.
Ed: It's been really fun though, we're like a big family.
Jamie: I feel I've got to know some better than others.
Any good anecdotes you want to share from the tour?
Ed: Yeah, not involving other bands though. Just involving us.
GIITTV: That's cool, tell it.
Ed: Hold on, what's this for?
GIITTV: A website called God is in the TV...
Ed: Oh ok, that's fine. Do you want to hear our anecdote then?
GIITTV: I'd love to.
Suren: Have you read this week's NME? There's an anecdote in there.
Jamie: So read that!
Ed: On our day off in Bournemouth, me, Jack and Louis (BBC's guitar tech) accidentally got locked out of our hotel room naked. We had to go down to the front desk for them to let us in, so me and Jack went down to ask if the guy could let us back in the room. He was very serious but he said yeah, pressed the lift button and the doors opened and Louis was just in there naked. And then on the way up Louis farted. Worst lift journey ever.
Jamie: Do you want to know why they were naked?
GIITTV: Yeah, it might be good to know...
Ed: I don't know why we were, we just were.
GIITTV: Just because.
Jamie: Why not?
Ed: It was Louis' influence.
The slot you're playing in has belonged to the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party on NME tours past. Do you think it's going to have any bearing on your success post-tour?
Suren: Not really, there's also been Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong and bands like that in this slot as well so probably not.
GIITTV: True, I forgot about them... does being on the tour mean anything to you then? Was the NME tour something you went to when you were younger?
Jamie: I went to The Killers one five years ago. It's not the kind of bands I'd choose to see really. But they are on this tour! (everyone laughs) No, obviously, when I was younger I went to see The Maccabees and I've really got into the other two bands as well as the tour's gone on.
You're doing an acoustic album, why did you decide to do that? Was it an idea that came about through the Little Noise session you did?
Ed: No, it's an idea that's been around for a while. It's just a whole other side of the band and it's something that we're really into. The idea's been around for a couple of years, I guess. We always had acoustic songs but we released them as b-sides, but then we had so many and we thought they were really good, we thought we should do something special with them.
GIITTV: So is the album just a collection of the b-sides or new songs?
Jamie: They're all new songs.
Suren: Well, some of them are acoustic versions of the album songs.
GIITTV: And is it all original stuff or covers as well, because you've done a couple of those like Motel Blues...
Suren: There's a cover, but it doesn't sound anything like the song.
Ed: Yeah, Swansea by Joanna Newsom, but it really doesn't sound anything like Swansea.
Jamie: Well no, obviously no one sounds like Joanna Newsom.
Are you producing it yourselves or are you getting Jim Abbiss back in?
Suren: It's already been recorded.
Ed: We did half in Jack's room and half Jamie's dad did in a studio in Crouch End.
You've said that'll be coming out in May or June, summer time. I take it it'll be Island?
Jamie: Yeah, June. We're not really sure [about it coming out on Island].
Ed: We might put it out on Chris' label, who used to work for Island.
Suren: It's called Like a Kiss Recordings. It's a new label he's just started.
And there'll be an acoustic tour to support it when it comes out? You did an acoustic tour last summer didn't you, so it's not too unfamiliar territory.
Ed: Yeah, hopefully we'll find some interesting venues.
Jamie: Hopefully it'll be a bit more professional [than last year's tour]! That was fun, but obviously we'll need electricity this time. I think it'll just be places like the Union Chapel in Islington and art centre-y kind of places, which are nicer to play than other venues.