In the Middle with Toothless

As someone who is happy to call Bombay Bicycle Club my favourite band and my favourite soundtrack to almost any life event, their 2014 hiatus left me feeling something was very much missing. But, luckily enough, the band’s solo projects provided more than enough Bombay to keep me happily plodding along in a BBC free world. I was, therefore, ecstatic to have the opportunity to interview Bombay’s bassist, Ed Nash about his exciting solo project, Toothless. We talked inspiration, Greek mythology and Brudenell Social Club.

Nash created Toothless in order to showcase material written in the back of Bombay tour bus, and the project had been bubbling in the back of Ed’s mind for some time. “I’d been making music in my own time for years but due to the commitment of Bombay, I never had the time to do anything with it. When we decided to take a break, I finally had the time to give it a go.” It seems the band’s hiatus wasn’t the sad breakup some might think. Instead, it was an opportunity for the members to branch out and try something new.

I put the idea to Ed that his first EP, Terra, was reminiscent of the early Skins soundtrack, especially when listening to ‘Kairos.’ You can imagine the track playing as Sid pines over Cassie, or the gang frolicking in a field, ciders in hand. So does Ed ever look to film or television for inspiration? As it turns out, I was quite far off the mark. Ed hasn’t owned a TV for about six years; he only got one again in December. So what makes him tick? “I try and read, go to the cinema, attend art shows as much as possible. You never know where inspiration will come from.”

Listening to some of Toothless’ tracks, you might notice titles reminiscent of Greek mythology; ‘Charon,’ ‘Kairos,’ and ‘Sisyphus,’ to name just a few. But why this link? Is Greek mythology something that has always interested him, or a recent fascination? Apparently, it started in childhood, and Ed revisited this love whenever he was struggling to write for the album. “I find it very hard to write about myself and my life… probably because it’s not that interesting. I found using the framework or Greek myths gave me the means to write lyrics. There are so many stories with clear cut messages to draw from.” Rather than life experience, Ed draws from these myths and classical tales, something that makes his music unique and exciting.

Toothless’ long-awaited album The Pace Of The Passing was released January 27th and has since been described as ‘folktronica’, indie-pop, or often a mix of the two. Not wishing to use clichés, Ed finds it difficult to categorise his own music, calling the album a ‘collection of pop songs, both melodic and quite immediate.’ The Pace Of The Passing features guitar with some electronic loops, lending it elements of the classic Bombay sound, alongside some more modern quirks. You can literally hear the presence of Jack Steadmen and Suren de Saram on the tracks, and it’s lovely to hear Ed praise them. “I loved working with those guys; there wasn’t even a question in my mind that I would go elsewhere for help on this record.” It is also lovely to hear the album’s mythology theme alongside some “different, more modern stuff.” (If you’d like more of an overview, InTheMiddle’s own Isobel Moloney has reviewed it for us.)

Toothless’ first solo tour will be taking place this March, with Ed set to take on Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on the 3rd. It looks to be a good gig, and Nash seems excited about the idea of touring again, ‘ I’ve only heard fantastic things about the Brudenell Social Club. It’s going to be great to get out on the road again and meet some people, it’s the thing I missed the most while making this album.’ With an artist who has just brought out a gorgeous album and who is so keen, also, to tour again and impress the fans, I reckon that it will be gig well worth attending.

Keep a lookout for Toothless in the future, who is already set to play Secret Garden Party this summer and I expect many festivals to come.

Interview by Amelia Whyman

[image: Atwood Magazine]

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