A decade ago two brothers from Bath, England – Ewan (keyboards & vocals) and Callum (vocals) – used to spend their free time listening to their dad’s vinyls and playing around on various instruments. Now they are supporting Rat Boy on tour as a full-on indie-pop five-piece. Each of them is different, but as a whole, they complement each other in a way that makes their sound special. We caught up with the boys before the show in Glasgow to chat about bad demos, consumerism & the hardship of being a support band.
Is it your first time performing in Glasgow?
Sam (guitar): It’s my favourite place to play!
Ewan (keyboards, vocals): When we came here for the first time in summer, it was all chill and fun. We were supporting Rat Boy, just like now. Tell you what, it is sort of a weird thing to be a support band because you don’t really know whether the crowd is going to be into you, so you try your hardest. That summer gig though; they just welcomed us with open arms . . . so much love for music here and very friendly people.
Do you get stage fright or are you guys used to it by now?
Callum: Depends on the gig. I think that every now and again gaps in between songs can be awkward and the crowd may not be as vibrant as you’d like – it drops your spirit a bit.
Sam: There is nothing you can do in that situation because you can’t change the song at once; you just say, “Who likes to dance?” Right now, we have been in a van for eight hours so we’re glad to be out to sing and play.
Alright, so let’s talk about you and your music. How did you guys meet and what made you go into music?
Ewan: Me and Cal are brothers. We jammed on guitars in bands when we were kids. Then Cal moved to London for a bit and Bristol. Eventually, he got into production and recording and studio work. I personally got into hip hop culture. After the reunion, we showed each other what we’d learned and tried to do something together, just for the sake of it really. Later on, we put it on SoundCloud and people seemed to be into it. We made a sound, didn’t we? It was way before Bad Sounds. We had different name suggestions, most of them were quite awful – it’s a story for another interview!
Why Bad Sounds? From what I’ve heard your sounds are pretty good.
Ewan: Cheers! Basically, we had this good demo that had some shit sounds on, so we called that demo ‘Bad Sounds’ accordingly.
Cal: As Ewan mentioned, we had a list of band names and it shows how bad it was because ‘Bad Sounds’ was the best one.
Did anyone in particular push you into this? Like any rock star role-model who had major influence on your creations?
Ewan: Michael Jackson? No, but seriously, our dad’s really into music, he listens to stuff like Bob Dylan. I remember growing up we had that VHS of Jackson’s videos. Since we were four we always wanted to do music. It’s weird. Most people reach the age of 17 and they do something proper at university, but we just didn’t.
Cal: And now we are sitting in this horrible room freezing . . . but to be honest, that’s all we ever wanted to do.
Do you think the recent rise in consumerism in the music industry destroyed old-school creativity? Like everyone’s making music just for the sake of it and getting roped up in the fame and forgetting the quality of the sound?
Sam: Yes, in a way, but there are obviously still people doing it for fun, to be creative.
Cal: I massively disagree. I think the ‘80s and ‘90s produced the most consumerist music ever made. The issue is that now basically any one can release music, so any kind of shit can be released; the good thing about it is that there’s less of a corporate chokehold on what can come out; there is less manufacturing involved.
Ewan: This consumerist trend is now being diluted with new indie sounds. Here is the deal: a lot of non-musos will just listen to what that they are told to listen to, as in whatever is on the radio or on their suggested playlists. Those aren’t music-lovers, which is totally cool – there’s a place for that as well. The consumerism in music exists and will exist, but, also, there will always be the people who are making music for the sake of making art; and true music-lovers will always support that. I think it’s the same as it’s always been. However, it’s way easier to consume music now due to all the new technology, like the Internet, but it’s great. In the past musicians used to make either shitloads or nothing, whereas now there are more musicians who make a liveable wage; thus, it’s all about creativity and your goals.
Do you guys hope to bring the world a new ground-breaking sound or do you want to resurrect the old school Britpop everyone’s reminiscing about?
Ewan: I am not really interested in bringing back a sound. We try to combine the things we are into, from 50s to now, but making “us” at the same time. Your taste in music defines what you produce, like sampling your favourite bits from all the eras, it’s happens unconsciously.
Should we be expecting anything big coming up?
Cal: Massive! You better be looking forward to it.
Image: Wild PR