You can just hear the positivity in the record, the energy and excitement; those are the things I feel when I’m travelling… rather than being lethargic and depressed in London.
With the amazing ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ about to drop, and in the build-up to their Bristol date on 12th March, I had a few choice words with frontman Jack Steadman.
Hi Jack, so I understand your new album was written whilst you were travelling?
Yes, we were getting towards the end of the touring circle for the last record and I was wary of the just of going back to London and saying okay lets write a new album. That idea didn’t excite me very much, I wanted to try something different I suppose and do the songwriting in a different environment. What would happen is, we’d play a festival somewhere and I would just stay on while the other guys went home. I’d just travel around with my laptop, and just being in a different routine like that made me pro-active and creative. I got a lot done really.
Would you say this has had a direct effect on the record?
I think you can just hear the positivity in the record, the energy and excitement, and those are the things I feel when I’m travelling basically. Going somewhere new and meeting people, I wake up every day feeling great rather than being lethargic and depressed in London writing a very moody record.
Did you find a certain area most inspirational?
I thought being in Mumbai was the most productive, it’s one of my favourite cities and it’s incredibly fast-paced over there. So it was impossible not to be writing all the time, the energy of the city was infectious I suppose.
In the past you’ve been quite open about the pressures of delivering an album, did this one come more naturally?
Yes it’s been the most natural album we’ve ever made in terms of the process, because we were finally comfortable with doing it ourselves and not having to explain ourselves to an outside producer. That’s something I’ve always found unnatural to do because trying to describe a sound with words I find very tedious. In this scenario I just made the sound rather than describing it. It was good to go ahead and just do it.
Each album so far has had a very individual tone, how will ‘So Long See You Tomorrow’ sit against your previous releases?
I think it’s the most upbeat record we’ve ever made. The most psychedelic record we’ve made, and for the first time in terms of rhythm, it has songs that make you want to dance rather than throw a pint of beer and head-bang I suppose.
Would you say this album is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically?
I think the risk we took was producing it ourselves. In terms of the songwriting it’s the catchiest album we’ve ever done, it’s just full of melody. The risk was not using a big-name producer which I think was the labels original plan, but credit to them for trusting us and I think we’ve pulled it off.
You’ve recently been announced for the first ever BBC Radio 6 Festival, what are your thoughts on that?
I’ve started listening to Radio 6 a lot recently and it’s made me realise how out of touch I am. I felt like the whole two years of writing this new album, I haven’t listened to any new music at all whatsoever. Listening to music has been something to take my mind off this record, so I’d listen to classical music or something completely different. But yes the lineup for this festival is fantastic, we’re really excited.
What will the year look like for you, do you have any particular ambitions?
Right now we’re getting excited about the touring basically, we’re thinking about the show and what it’s going to look like. We’ve got a lot of exciting things planned in terms of visuals and we’ve got a lot of people we’re collaborating with. We think the music has stepped up a gear and it’s only fair that the live show will do that as well. The artwork is all quite animation based and so is the first video, that’s a theme we’re developing and incorporating into the live show.
The visuals are something that have really stood out in the way of the album launch, there’s almost a narrative behind the artwork isn’t there?
Yes we always like there to be continuity behind the single artwork and luckily we’re working with a graphic design company that has a very particular style so the continuity was quite easy. We basically gave them a brief and they came up with things and we commented on them, that was how it was done really. We wanted it to be vibrant because we felt like the album is quite colourful. That was the main point we made.
It will be interesting to see how the setlist for the tour shapes up, you’ve got quite a lot to play with now right?
I always worry that if we played songs from every album the show wouldn’t make any sense, so we’re picking just a few key songs from the first record. The main thing we’re thinking about is that we’re going to change it every night, because you’ve got to keep yourself interested. We want to get to the stage where one night we’re just like, lets play ‘Ivy & Gold’ tonight, get the banjo out. Sometimes on tour you get a real groundhog day sort of vibe, it’s good to try and break that level of deja vu.
There’s been a significant gap since your last time on the touring circuit, were ‘Island’ fairly flexible with regards to time?
Well we just earned their trust basically, and it doesn’t just happen over night. So a new band that’s just signing to a label is probably not going to be given this type of freedom, but because this is our fourth record for them and the other three have all gone gold, they give you a little bit more space.
Lastly I’d like to mention the latest video you’ve released ‘Luna’, what was it like working with Anna Ginsberg?
Oh Anna is a very old friend of mine so it was an absolute pleasure working with her. To work with someone that knows you already is really beneficial. I love Anna’s style, we were on the same page, we wanted to get across the upbeatness of the song but also there’s a dream like quality to it as well. When the shots start going underwater that’s when you get this dreamlike quality to it.
So we’ll look forward to seeing you back out on the road this year!
Yes we’re very excited. There’s a lot to look forward to and hopefully we’ll be confirming things soon so everyone will stop wondering.
Bombay Bicycle Club play O2 Academy Bristol on 12th March – get ready with ‘Luna’ right here: