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Interview: Hanging Out with Jack & Jamie of Bombay Bicycle Club

By  January 16, 2012

The boys of Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC) were in town over the weekend to play at The People's Party, a 2 day music festival held at Scape Warehouse. Comprising of Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Ed Nash and Suren de Saram, the band kickstarted their career when they won the Road To V competition and was asked to play the opening performance of 2006's V Festival. Not looking back eversince, BBC has achieved tremendous success over the years, building up a huge fanbase all around the world as well as gracing the stage of some of the biggest music festivals.

We caught up with two of the members, Jack and Jamie, to have a little chat with them about their rise to success thus far.

How does it feel to know that your music is being listened to by people from the other side of the world?

Jamie: Its obviously an amazing feeling to be in a band and have the luxury of traveling around the world while playing our own music. I cannot think of any other jobs in the world which allows you to do that. So yeah, its truly an incredible feeling and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


Writing 3 albums within a span of 3 years is very impressive. How do you manage to keep up the momentum to write so many songs over this short period of time?

Jamie: Basically, Jack has written 2 to 3 albums' worth of songs when he was around 14-15 years old.

Jack: Yeah, most of the songs on our records are really old songs that were revisited. Some of which I had completely forgotten that I had even wrote them until I went through my computer and found demos. So making albums and writing songs were not that huge of a problem for us. I know some bands which take time off to write a new record, but since we are constantly writing every time, I don't see the need to do that.

How does it feel to be part of the second wave of the British music revolution alongside your fellow countrymen?

Jamie: I didn't even realize that there was a second wave of British revolution! I don't know how to feel about that really. To be honest, we are actually quite scared because we didn't know how the reception towards our music would be like. For example, we played Japan and we were scared that no one will turn up for shows because we thought that our image (or lackthereof) will not be what the audience expected. But the show was great and it was beyond what we expected at all.

Also, right now is not the most positive time for British indie alternative music scene, and to be able to achieve this level of success, having people listen to our stuff and them actually going to our shows, its quite crazy.

Jack: Yeah, also I feel that our influences are much more from American music, rather than the British music scene.

Your live shows can get really crazy, as I have seen on Youtube nonetheless. But which has been the craziest show so far, or are you too engrossed having fun on-stage that you don't really care so much about what happens around you?

Jamie: Yeah... we can get really crazy at times. We've been thrown out of venues before, because it got too wild. There was once when the fire alarm went off while we were playing to an audience of 4. Thing is, we just started our set so in the end, it was just us and the four people hanging outside the club and talking. That was crazy.

Why only 4 people?

Jamie: Well it was during our earlier days and it is sort of like a rite of passage for bands to be playing to a sad number of people in a club before you go on to be big. Unless you're The Vaccines.

Jack: Yeah. There was also this show where the audience was so near to us that I hit a girl in the face with my guitar and there was blood gushing out from her forehead. That was crazy.

Jamie: We were also once thrown out from the town of Sheffield. We got into a fight with the bouncers and they threw us out! Then after a while, we went back to play a show in Sheffield again, and it was alright.

How has the constant touring affect your songwriting and music-making process?

Jamie: Jack, you wanna answer this?

Jack: Yeah okay. There are musicians who release an album and tour for years and years to promote that album, and we don't like that. We have really short tour cycles for each album because after a while we get really bored of the songs that we are always playing so we want to write new songs.

These same musicians are also the ones who take a couple of months off to write their new albums because they say that they cannot write songs while on tour because the songs will end up being about how they feel while they are on tour. As for me, I bring my laptop out on tour so that whenever I feel like writing or recording a new song, I can do it easily.

With regards to the lyrics of the songs, I guess its up to the musician to look for new experiences. You're lucky enough to be able to travel around the world and meet so many new people - that itself is a already a new experience. So I like to go out and find these experiences myself.

Jamie: Also, with technology nowadays, making music is so easy. You can make music just by using your laptop. Look at Lady Gaga - she writes her songs at the back of her tour bus and she is kind of successful right? Then again, she can probably afford to have a professional studio at the back of her tour bus haha.

How was it like juggling between school and music when you first started out?

Jamie: During that period of time, there wasn't much music for us actually. It was all about studies. I don't know about the rest but for my parents, they wanted me to have some sort of a back-up plan in case music didn't work out for me.

Jack: Plus, if we had released the music that we had back then, it would have probably been rubbish. The music wasn't good at all haha.

Jamie: I would love to take a degree in something though. Take evening classes and get my degree or something. Oh you know what's crazy? We found out recently that Suren has been taking part time classes for his degree in Nutrition and he told absolutely no one about it. That was a bit awkward for us when we found out!

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