The Mic's Arthur and Emily caught up with the rising duo.
Arthur: It’s great to meet you, How’s the tour going so far?
Callum: It’s been great, hands down the best tour we’ve ever done, I think mainly because we’re touring with our friends; Indoor Pets and Dylan Cartilage- bands that we genuinely like. It’s just been really fun and all the audiences have been really up for it.
Emily: On social media the live shows have looked insane so far, do you feel you’ve developed your stage presence over time or has it always been quite natural for you?
Ewan: I think it’s maybe different for different members [of the band], for me I hated performing for ages, and it’s only been the last two years where I’d stopped trying and just started being normal on stage that I felt like people started responding a lot better to it and I felt more comfortable. It feels weird calling it stage presence because I feel like I try and go out there and not get amped up and just be as normal as I am offstage and that feels more comfortable to me. But then there’s Cal flying about the stage every night.
Callum: I think the more confidence you have in the music you’re writing and playing, the more confident you feel on stage.
Arthur: Me and Emily have both seen you at festivals and the performance was great, would you say your performance differs between live shows and in a gig setting?
Callum: I think it’s largely the same, maybe we have to try a little harder at festivals because we don’t have a production to rely on, but we’re still giving it more than we need to.
Emily: This tour you’ve had all the balloons and colours, I wanted to talk about how you’ve developed your aesthetic with the red and yellow, has this album helped define your look as a band more?
Callum: I feel it was maybe the avalanche cover art. It was the first time we did something and I thought, yeah, I really like that aesthetic. It didn’t feel like I was just copying a Bluenote cover or some other thing we were into. That was mainly red so red stayed as a theme, then the yellow naturally went with everything. It’s always been important that we’re recognisable when you see a post on social media or see our record, it stands out and you know whose it is. I do all the artwork so I’ve gone around it quite a lot.
Arthur: How do you do it? Did you have specific ideas or do you just mess around with it?
Callum: We had a general idea, trying to do the whole Kung-Fu idea, lions and stuff. The inspiration was there and we just worked around that.
Arthur: Tell us about the teeth as well, when was it decided the inside cover [of the vinyl] and the bands merch would be Ewan’s teeth?
Callum: That was actually quite late.
Ewan: It’s always been a long running joke because obviously I have massive teeth, I actually said it as a joke and then everyone was like ‘yeah let’s do that’.
Arthur: “Wages” was just made Radio 1’s track of the week by Greg James having also been last week’s track of the week, how does it feel to be getting that big coverage?
Callum: It’s pretty weird, I’m getting texts from my sister and our dad being like ‘ah you’re on the radio’. It feels like a bit of a step up because it’s day time radio. I don’t know how it will affect us long term, but hopefully it will snowball, but you never know.
Ewan: We just both had home studio set ups, for some reason they’re both under the stairs. We basically took it in turns to walk to each other’s houses every day to record. To be honest every track on the album, part of it would be recorded under the stairs, we always worked off the demos we started and James who produced most of the album would then help flesh out those demos and turn them into something.
Arthur: With that process, obviously there’s a lot of sounds like trumpets, sax, on the new album, is that something you plan out, like a trumpet coming in here or a sax here, or does that develop in the recording process?
Callum: It never really happens the same way, sometimes it just feels like this bit needs something and then we try out a load of stuff on it. Usually you just know when you’ve hit the right sound or instrumentation. We usually end up putting loads of stuff in and end up taking most of it back out because it overloads it, and it loses that special thing that it had when you first went in. But there’s no set method just the gradual process.
Emily: I’ve read that ‘Thomas Is a Killer’ is about a girl you knew; do you often use music to convey and cope with your emotions?
Ewan: That was a weird one because I never expected it to be a Bad Sounds song. I don’t really like talking to people about that kind of stuff, I like figuring out how I feel first then maybe talk to people. So that [song] was I guess me doing that, even Callum didn’t know what it was about until I’d sent it to him, I felt I couldn’t really talk to him about it until I’d had some time to think through it. I was thinking this the other day, because you usually write songs when you’re down and it’s weird that the majority of songs are just people moaning!
Arthur: Are there any small indie bands you are listening to at the moment?
Ewan: With it being our first headline tour, you normally do get asked to take out a few smaller bands, but we were really adamant we wanted to take friends out and so we took our two favourite current bands- Indoor Pets and Dylan Cartilage.
Arthur: What is next for Bad Sounds?
Ewan: We’re doing a show in Mexico next month, and a few more spot plays like that. Except for that we’re working with other artists, doing some remixes.
Arthur: Obviously this album’s very new but have you any thoughts on a new album, are you working on new material?
Ewan: We’re sort of doing stuff, but not really writing with a view to an album, just writing for fun.
Callum: There’s no pressure writing that way, you end up thinking about the song you’re writing.
Arthur: So not just writing ten songs because you need to.
Callum: Yeah and I would hate writing in that way.
Emily: So, our last question is; if you could have written any song ever, what would it be?
Callum: I always get this wrong, you’d think you couldn’t get that wrong, but there’s always songs I think of afterwards. We were actually just talking about “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson, I think that’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written.
Ewan: There’s a song called ‘The Outdoor Type’ originally by a band called Smudge, but we know the cover by The Lemon Heads. There’s a couple of covers on that album called ‘Car Button Cloth’ that are covers of that band that are so good so I’d have to say that.
Callum: Yeah, we listened to that as kids so I’d have to say the same.
Arthur: It’s been a pleasure meeting you, thank you very much!