Four-piece London band, Bombay Bicycle Club, have a distinctly unique sound ranging from indie rock to folk. Ahead of the release of their live album, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their debut album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose, I had the opportunity to chat with the band’s own Ed Nash.
How has this second lockdown been for you?
I don’t really know! I went into a bit of a bubble in the first one and haven’t really come out of it. So, to be honest it hasn’t been all that different from the first lockdown, or the time in between. I’ve got a studio in my garden, so I come out here and make music every day which is really nice. But I read, go for runs; nothing social is happening so I’ve just become a bit of a hermit really. So all things considered, it’s been pretty good.
Have you been staying in touch with the band a lot?
Yeah, very much so. For a long time, there wasn’t a huge amount to do. It’s only over the last couple of months that the whole I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose live album thing meant we had things that we could do together. It’s nice staying in touch but we’ve just been waiting until we had stuff we could do, which now we do!
Have you found it strange releasing this live album whilst being apart from each other?
It’s a bit weird releasing it. Not just because we’re apart, but in that it’s very nostalgic. Looking back at that time, 11 years ago, and thinking about us as friends and how that’s all changed and grown is very nostalgic!
What led to this decision of releasing the live album?
So it’s a year on from the 10 year anniversary of I Had The Blues But Shook I Them Loose. We played a small round of shows just because we thought it would be fun and that people would like it. That’s the album that really connected with people and stood the test of time in a different way. We played Brixton, which is where the recording is taken from, and it was a really special night. The people there really appreciated it, you can hear in the recordings. We recorded all of our shows, so we had it just sitting there; we listened to it and thought it was really good, and other people would enjoy it as much as we did. I think it’s a really good show; we played well, the vibe was good, and it’s nice to also mark the occasion of something special otherwise, it just goes by.
Have you got a personal favourite from the live album?
This is gonna sound lame cause it’s our biggest song, but listening back to ‘Always Like This’, you can hear the crowd on the recording that it’s just super loud, and it gives me chills listening to it. So it’s more about the ambience of the gig rather than the song itself, but that recording is really special.
So the band released Everything Else Has Gone Wrong earlier this year. Did you have a chance to actually play any of the new stuff live before COVID hit?
We didn’t have much of a chance! We put that album out in January and then we toured the UK for that. Thank god we managed to do that otherwise we wouldn’t have done anything this year! We were meant to do a European tour, two American tours, festivals, and then come back for another European and UK tour, so we would’ve been wrapping up about now. We were in Berlin when the lockdown was announced, and just saw all our tour plans for the year go one by one! So no, we didn’t really get to play any of the songs from our new album which is a real shame. We still want to and are planning on doing it – we just need to wait until we’re allowed to. so watch this space!
How did you find writing and producing for that album as a band compared to the process for your own solo music?
I mean there are good and bad things about both; that is kind of the same thing in a weird way. With Bombay Bicycle Club, there’s four people, so four opinions, and it’s really nice having that system of trust and reliance, and passing ideas back and forth. But the other side of that is when I’m doing my own stuff, I don’t have anyone to talk to or rely on, which is very lonely. Sometimes you want other people’s opinions that you trust, but it’s also quite nice to have complete control, so having to experience both of those is really cool. The best thing about Bombay Bicycle Club is doing it as a group with other opinions of people that you admire, and everyone has their own role in that. I guess that’s another thing, with my own music it takes fucking ages to do everything because I have to do everything! Whereas with Bombay, I just have to play the bass, everyone has a job and you rely on each other, which is a really special thing.
Are you finding focusing on the band strange whilst you’re releasing your own stuff at the same time?
No, not really. I mean I would like to do this more, it’s just finding time to do it, and at the moment we’re able to do all of these things at the same time because we’re not allowed to play shows. But no, it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to talk about Bombay Bicycle Club and I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose and all that stuff.
So the tours will hopefully resume once the world gets back to normal, is there an aspect of the live shows that you’re missing the most?
There are loads of things. Playing the show in itself is amazing, seeing other people react to the music that you’ve made is a wonderful thing, there’s nothing else like that. Aside from that really unique thing, it’s a bit like a school trip: you have the band, all my friends, and then the crew travelling with us. It’s a group of people going to really cool and interesting places together, and it’s an experience you never really get in life, I cherish it so much. A year ago right now we were in Thailand, and we played a show there which was amazing, but you also get to experience a new place with your friends and colleagues. It’s literally the best job in the world; I love it, and none of us take that for granted, it’s a really special thing.
Do you think this time away from being able to perform will change the way you play live shows?
Well, I’m definitely a lot fitter than I was when we were touring a lot! Not drinking too much booze and having a lot of time to reset. Hopefully, that will continue! I don’t think the lockdown will have changed much, everyone’s older, a bit more grown-up, and more sensible. We’ve always wanted to put the best show on that we possibly could, I don’t think that’s changed. It’s probably made me a better musician, just sitting in this small room playing the guitar every day! So I don’t think anything major will have changed, we just want to do it really!
I guess there’s just that added appreciation after having the opportunity to perform taken away, to get it back!
Yeah, the annoying thing is we took a break for four years, and it took a year/two years to make an album as so much work goes into it. Once we got the band back together, recorded and released the album, toured and practised, we then couldn’t even do it! So that’s really annoying. But it’s a really privileged position.
Are you looking forward to the livestream?
Yeah! We’re going to livestream it from Konk studios, which is where we recorded I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose and also where we recorded the most recent album. It also happens to be right next to where I live, so my life seems to revolve around it! But yeah we’re doing it there, I’m really looking forward to it!
Tickets for the special one-off livestream can be purchased here.