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Interview: Bombay Bicycle Club

Words by Georgia Gifford - Published on February 5, 2014

Ahead of their much anticipated, yet thankfully not overly-hyped fourth album So Long, See You Tomorrow, we caught up with Bombay Bicycle Club’s drummer Suren de Saram for a brief and interesting chat to talk all things record touring and recording with a marimba and Turkish instruments for record four. We love this record so much, and can’t wait for you all to hear it! Here’s what Suren had to say.

So what’s the New Year been like for Bombay Bicycle Club?

We’ve all been in different parts of the world in the New Year. Ed our bass player was actually in Sydney for Christmas.  He has family in Sydney and he came back to the UK really tanned, which made us all a bit jealous. Jack was in Tokyo and Jamie went to Scotland.

How does it feel to be releasing your new album?

But yeah it really is the calm before the storm at the moment, we all have quite heavy schedules ahead of us when the album gets released. It all gets pretty full on from this point and there are a lot of expectations that’s for sure. We actually have a TV appearance on a cooking show this week. We’re not really sure what to expect there. Apparently we don’t get to cook though, so I was slightly disappointed that I wasn’t able to show off my culinary skills! It’s definitely one of our more obscure performance requests.

You are still such a young group, how did you all get together?

Me, Jack and Jamie were all in the same class at school. We had an amazing jazz teacher at our school who organised a jam with all of us and I guess that’s just where it started. Our first performance was on a school assembly and it went pretty terribly, I’m not sure what motivated us to keep going. We’ve got our teacher to thank for the band being together I guess!

It’s needless to say that a school assembly is a huge contrast to a festival crowd, were you ever daunted performing at such a young age?

It was never daunting being on stage. We won the “Road to V” battle-of-the-bands competition and that was our first huge show.  It was more excitement that nerves. We didn’t really realise how far the band would go at that stage. Once we got backstage though, that’s when it gets a bit daunting – mingling with proper rock stars and being the young, underage kids in the corner.

Do you have a preference between big festival crowds or intimate smaller shows?

The small intimate shows have the more hard-core fans, and it’s obvious that everyone’s excited to be there. The true fans are always awesome and you can’t really go wrong. The larger festivals can go either way. When you get a really good festival crowd it’s pretty hard to beat that feeling on stage. A lot of our best gig memories are from the big festivals. It’s the complete opposite when you get a bad festival crowd and people are just standing there not enjoying it. It’s difficult to get the crowd going sometimes, I guess we’re not really the best at hyping them up…

No crazy stage antics?

Only when we’re feeling really crazy, it’s not really our style of music and I guess we’re just a bit more chilled out on stage.

What is it about travelling that inspired your new album So Long, See you Tomorrow?

Well we would often be in a foreign country as a band, and if we had some time off Jack would stay there and travel on his own. He came up with initial ideas for the album and then once he was home we gave our suggestions. So I guess the rest of us are the first critics and Jack is very open to our suggestions. We played a tour in Turkey in 2012 and Jack went off to the countryside outside Istanbul. He found this random little house and stayed with a family for a while in a village. The instrumental bits of the album were particularly drawn from Turkish music. Jack went for a walk in the little village and found a group of travellers having a jam and playing all their instruments so he joined in and that really inspired him to weave it into our music.

What elements changed for you as the drummer?

Well we incorporated a few different percussion instruments other that the drums. The marimba was one thing people might notice that’s a bit different in this album. I had played orchestral percussion at school and I don’t get much of a chance anymore, so that was a bit of a welcome change.

So Long, See You Tomorrow is released February 7, stay tuned here for our take on this amazing record!

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