Bombay Bicycle Club came by the Studio in LA to record an acoustic set for SiriusXM. We caught up with Ed and Suren in the Studio Listening Room afterward about how their sound has changed throughout the years, and what influenced them along their journey.
NG: So you guys are on the road constantly. What’s life like when you’re at home?
Ed: Well we still live with our parents at the moment.
Ed: Yeah we started touring so much we moved back in with our parents. Because that way when you’re on tour you don’t have to worry about rent or think about your house. You just have to think about what your mum’s doing to your shit.
NG: So what are you listening to when you’re at home? What’s that look like?
Ed: At home – before I moved back to my mum’s house – I did listen to Sonos. It was kind of the perfect thing because you could just go on the WiFi and put your Spotify on and just play whatever you want. And if you were having parties you could just put it on.
NG: Just not at mom’s house. Suren what about you?
Suren: I just bought a record player a couple of months ago because it got to a point where I was just listening to music on my laptop with a pair of headphones and I realized that’s a bit of a crappy way to listen to music. So I’m starting to build up my vinyl collection at the moment. My sister and her husband recently moved out of my house so I moved my HiFi system and my record player in.
NG: So when you’re making music, how do you envision people listening to it – on their laptops or?
Ed: Well that’s in the back of our minds when we’re making it. And that’s obviously not how we want people to listen to the music at all but that’s certainly a thought. And you don’t cater to it but – I think Quincy Jones used to do this – a lot of people mix on a shitty radio as opposed to a big sound system so you can hear what people will be listening to.
NG: How do you describe your sound?
Ed: Guitar driven indie rock back. We’ve done a more acoustic album, and we’ve done an album with a bit of electronic. But I don’t think there was ever really a conversation about it. We were like, “well we want to make this kind of different sounding record,’ and I think that very influenced the albums. And when we started the band we were a lot younger. So I guess, as you grow up, you want to change what you do, and you get kind of restless and bored and you kind of mix things up as opposed to getting stuck in your ways.
NG: What’s that process like?
Suren: I often find a song I like and then I’ll just listen to that on repeat for a long time before listening to anything else.
Ed: There’s a legendary night where Suren listened to All of the Lights by Kanye West like 200 times. All evening.
Suren: That was on one of our American tours actually. That’s one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. I was obsessed with that for a long time. That was at the point where he’d been making a dick out of himself for a year, and then he came out with that and kind of redeemed himself.
NG: What’s a song of yours that you think you really nailed, that represents you well?
Ed: If I had to pick a song that represents us right now, I guess I’d tell people to listen to the first song or the last song on the most recent record. I think it kind of encapsulates all the things we tried to do before – they change and the songs progress and it’s kind of a journey so there’s some electronic dance influences in there and then it’s guitar driven in other points. At this point it’s the best amalgamation of everything we’ve tried to do.
Suren: There’s a song “Always Like This” on our first album as well. Whereas now we feel a bit disconnected from our first album – a lot of the songs on the first album were written when we were like 15, 16, so they’re about teenage high, and we don’t really relate to that stuff anymore, but I think “Always Like This” is slightly different. I can’t ever see us not playing that one.
NG: Okay so last question: who’s the designated DJ when you’re on the road?
Ed: Our sound guy, John, he’s in his early fifties now and he’s got kids and a wife and family and he sees himself as quite a dj and he has an extensive knowledge of all different kinds of music. So he sets up his laptop and he’s so happy DJ’ing. And you’re like, “John, how about some 80’s new wave or something” and he’ll be like “RIGHT” and then for the next two hours you’ll be blasted with all kinds of music you’ve never heard before. It’s kind of like an education in music.