Bombay Bicycle Club

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Bombay Bicycle Club

BBM’s Dani Nortje catches up with Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jamie MacColl ahead of their Australian tour in March. With their latest album ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’ unleashing a host of eclectic tunes, Bombay Bicycle Club are now undoubtedly on the list of favourites for those who appreciate their unique blend of indie rock and folk sound. We caught up with guitarist Jamie MacColl about his thoughts on their latest album, touring and being naked on stage.

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So Jamie, where are you now?

We are in Tokyo Airport waiting to catch a flight back to London in the next hour.

Were you in Tokyo with the rest of the band?

Yes. We were on an Asian tour but we finished about a week ago. We were trying to stay out in places, so we were getting the train to Kyoto, Hiroshima and got all cultural.

I suspect you collected inspiration for the next album?

Hopefully, we have been making scrapbooks.

Has Lucy Rose become a permanent member?

Not really, I don’t want to call her a backing singer. She’s a collaborator, she sings lead vocals sometimes and she has so much of her own stuff on, but we are all one big happy family.

You all seem to get on well.

We were joking earlier that as soon as we get back we will probably get bored and probably be like, “do you want to do something?”

You must get bored getting back to London after all that bustle of being on tour.

We didn’t really tour for the first two albums, touring around this one feels quite fresh. We are still going and seeing a lot of places at the same time and sort of beginning to miss the British winter.

Your first real time touring, and your biggest headline at Alexandra Palace is coming up, do you still get nervous?

I feel quite comfortable on stage; it’s all just muscle memory now when playing. The only thing that I get nervous about is talking in between the songs, which is something we haven’t yet mastered. Usually we just make awkward jokes.

What kind of awkward jokes?

Um, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. Occasionally we play a game called ‘stage dares’ where we have to do something embarrassing on stage. One time I came on stage naked. It’s just silly things.

Are you planning to do anything cool in Australia?

I would like to go watch a Super 16 rugby match. Ed has family out there where we can stay. Just do some bumming around and try and get a suntan, but I only really burn.

Will you do anything wild like scuba diving or bungee jumping?

Maybe snorkelling but that’s not very wild. So we will see.

Your albums have always been about girls. Is this the case with ‘A Different Kind of Fix’?

They are all about the same girl really. It’s meant to be about the ups and downs of a relationship, being young and growing up. Hopefully it’s written in a way that a lot of people can relate to and that it has that balance of being very personal and universal.

Is all the experimentation with hip-hop, reggae and choirs in this album down to you still trying to find your own unique sound?

Personally I think that although all the albums sound fairly different, I think they all sound like Bombay Bicycle Club, if that makes sense? I think if you can experiment and still keep your own identity then I think that’s the perfect situation.

With your album Flaws you were worried about it being folk, and you were aiming to interject this one with more rock, but it still seems like folk to me.

When I think of this album it sounds quite soft and atmospheric compared to the first one. It’s somewhere in between the first two albums, in that there are elements of acoustic folk music, some more rock songs, and songs like ‘Shuffle’ are filled with electronic beats.

What is the influence behind all the mixed genres?

It’s a reflection of our music tastes always changing. We get bored fairly easily and we get bored trying to make the same album over and over again. We are 21 and 22, people are always trying to figure out a lot of things in their life at this point. Ultimately I agree to an extent we haven’t found that ideal sound yet.

Do you still have a lot of independence now you have signed up with Island Records?

Well Island has been there for the last three albums and they didn’t sign up until after we had recorded the first album. So we had the most freedom with that album. But we have always self regulated ourselves. We never had an A&R man come in and radically change things; we are left to get on with ourselves. Ultimately you know what’s best for your band.

That seems to stick well with your motto ‘whatever happens, happens naturally’ and if it at all feels forced you will stop. Is this still true?

That will always be the case. It’s very important to us that doing the band makes us happy, obviously not all the time, if you are in a creative job it should be enjoyable and exciting and it shouldn’t feel like work.

Are you looking forward to touring with Elbow?

Yeah, they are a really amazing live band we will definitely have to step it up and put on a really good show every night.

If this tour goes well will you headline tours for fans in Auckland and Brisbane?

I hope so. I don’t see why not.

Where else would you like to go on tour?

I am slowly ticking all the boxes. There are places I would like to go personally, but I don’t know if they would be very successful like Patagonia, Argentina, New Zealand, and Russia. I’m just going to list all the places I would like to go on holiday now.

Who would your dream collaboration be as a band?

I would really like to work with Bon Iver, with him just singing on something and he could make an interesting producer too, because he produces all his own records and they sound great.

What do you think we could expect from Bombay Bicycle Club in the future?

I have no idea to be honest. That’s what I find quite exciting. Hopefully we are not too predictable, I have no idea what the next album will sound like, we have written a few songs but they are all quite different.

By Dani Nortje

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