THE MODERN RECORD: INTERVIEW WITH 'BAD SOUNDS'
Ahead of their Edinburgh gig on Thursday, I caught up with brothers Ewan and Callum - the frontmen of up-and-coming indie-funk fivesome Bad Sounds. Ambitious, fresh-sounding and love throwing a party, these guys are definitely ones to look out for.
THE MODERN RECORD: So the new single, ‘Are you High?’ came out on Wednesday which Annie Mac awarded as Hottest Record in the World, making this your fourth single to be given that title. Do you guys feel like momentum has built pretty rapidly in the last few months or has it been more gradual?
Callum: It’s felt like us to be more gradual with a few big breaks on the way. I think for some people it seems we’ve made big jumps but on the inside we’ve been constantly touring and putting out singles. Annie’s continued support has been incredible for us because when she first played ‘Wages’ we didn’t have a label or anything - we were still an unsigned band trying to get out there, and she just took us under her wing. That kind of support is priceless.
THE MODERN RECORD: So the new single just came out, any plans for an album in the future?
Ewan: Yeh, we’re working towards that kind of thing but we really don’t want the album to be the next ten songs we write. When we put out ‘Mixtape One’ we were really careful to pick three songs and music to go in between so it feels like it makes sense as a whole. We are just writing and writing and we’ll choose within that batch of songs the ones that make sense together as a debut album.
Callum: There’s no dates so far but it’s just going on whatever feels right.
THE MODERN RECORD: Your sound is so fresh and unique - definitely welcome in the UK’s current musical climate. If you had to define your sound, what would you say?
Ewan: It’s hard to put in words but it’s just our tastes. We take a lot of elements from stuff we’re into that doesn’t necessarily go together. It kind of comes from sampling stuff from hip hop and taking small sections from things we love. But it always sounds like us because it’s always our tastes that have chosen that thing even though we can like something totally different from one song to the next. People could probably hear it as a collection of different elements from different genres of music but for us it’s just the things we love most.
THE MODERN RECORD: So what are the things you love most in terms of music?
Ewan: The production duo called The Dust Brothers who produced Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys and Odelay by Beck who are definitely an influence. I’m a massive fan of Missy Elliott… Callum: …and Micheal Jackson, Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley. That’s just a few but there’s loads! It’s not all from one era or genre.
Ewan: The groove and the feel of it is really influenced by hip hop but there’s some elements more influenced by motown, funk and soul.
THE MODERN RECORD; Seems like a lot of good sounds going on there. So why the name ‘Bad Sounds’?
Ewan: We wrote this song we really liked but all the sounds we had to make it with were really shit so we just labelled it ‘Bad Sounds’. Then when we were coming up with a band name we had tonnes of terrible names but band sounds was on there and sounded good, so we just stuck with that.
THE MODERN RECORD: So the tour started on Wednesday last week so how are you finding it? Pretty fast paced?
Callum: The Bristol show sold out a couple of weeks early which is our hometown which was sweet. You expect the further you go away the less people will be there.
Ewan: We did one of these tours before and there was a lot of half-empty rooms and stuff. But literally every night we’ve done so far has been a rammed room. It’s strange for us to play in places we’ve never been before and we don’t know anyone and there’s kids who know the tracks and like singing it back.
THE MODERN RECORD: You guys have already played to a sold out show in your hometown but is there anywhere else in particular your looking forward to playing?
Callum: London’s really cool, it’s the biggest venue we’ve ever done. And because it’s a bigger space it means we can put on more of show. But it’s cool being here because we’ve never been to Edinburgh before. We’ve played a few festivals in different places as well but we want to go everywhere!
THE MODERN RECORD: Would you guys say you preferred festivals then, or smaller gigs?
Ewan: We really like to put on a show so some festivals it’s just not possible ‘cos you’ve got like ten minutes to get ready and on stage and it’s just not possible. Whereas the smaller shows the stage can be really small which I really like but are the polar opposite from bigger shows in London where there’s backdrops and set changes and loads of crazy shit going on. So there’s different kinds of fun.
Callum: In the smaller venues you feel like your with people rather than playing in front of them which goes towards the whole inclusive thing and throwing a party for everyone.