Bad Sounds’ frontmen, and brothers, sit down with our writer Lucy Ingram before their halloween show at Brudenell Social Club to talk about their tour and debut album, Get Better.
Defining Bad Sounds’ music is a tricky task. The fresh, infectious band evades easy categorisation, saying “we don’t identify as an indie band” while distancing themselves from being pinned-down as ‘funk’ or ‘synth-pop’ as some journalists have labelled them. Bad Sounds are made up of Callum, Ewan, Olivia, Sam and Charlie and have featured on FIFA18 as well as being Radio 1 Annie Mac’s hottest record in the world.
Get Better comes with its own unique concept, with the band and their roadies (and some hard-core fans) wearing matching red boiler suits and yellow beanies during live performances. Their gigs open with a hypnotic voice-over encouraging the audience to look into a flashing light, telling them that this is the place where they will “get better”, creating an atmosphere somewhere between a hypnosis DVD and a David Lynch film. “We liked this idea of making it as culty as possible” Callum says. “We’re kind of interested in cults in general and just how weird it is to get sucked into that kind of thing […] we kind of set up our own and are encouraging people to join in”. As cults go, the ‘Get Better’ cult seems like a pretty good one to be a part of.
The band formed in their home town of Bath when Callum and Ewan found themselves both making music. They took a “leap of faith” when leaving jobs to commit fully to Bad Sounds, describing how it was difficult to maintain the work-music balance. “It got to a point where we couldn’t do it musically and work as well […] we are really fortunate that out managers are super supportive”. Taking the plunge seems worth it as they have released popular songs such as ‘Wages’ and ‘Are you High?’, both with over a million Spotify streams.
Callum described the collaborative relationship between himself and his brother, as Ewan is more prolific whereas he experiments with the nitty-gritty aspects of their songs. Despite their loyal fans and sold-out gigs, they come across as easy-going and grounded. Most of their lyrics are about friends and people they know, injecting normalcy into their increasingly high-profile lives. “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures” Callum tells me, dismissing the idea of so called ‘good taste’ and ‘bad taste’. Their inclusivity is reflected by the music they like, including a range such as Michael Jackson, Dido, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and Chance the Rapper.
Bad Sounds put on great shows for their fans, bursting with energy and on-stage chemistry. They also have a great relationship with other bands. For instance, when their supporting band Indoor Pets had their gear stolen, Bad Sounds donated all the money they made from their merch that night towards getting Indoor Pets new gear.
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🚨🚨We’re absolutely devastated to not be sharing the stage with our bros @indoorpets 2nyt due to all of their gear being stolen. So, we’ve decided that ANY PROCEEDS FROM OUR MERCH 2NYT WILL GO TOWARDS INDOOR PETS NEW GEAR FUND ❤️ Please buy it & help out some lovely people✌️
While touring is still fairly new for them, they have had some weird touring experiences, such as when they went to a hotel that “had a tuck-shop at the desk that only sold energy drinks and condoms” and had “you’re dead” scratched onto their bedroom door. “We slept in the van that night” said Ewan. They described how they listen to music all the time while on tour, yet the mixing process of their album was “so intense” that they sometimes just wanted silence to switch off. When I asked them if they wrote their music with a certain demographic in mind, Callum replied “We just write for us”, and that it is “dangerous” to try and write to please people. “We’d just end up hating it…you might like it at the time because it’s quite exciting doing something that you normally wouldn’t do, and then like a week later you’d put it on and be like wait we don’t buy this”. Ewan added “you’re definitely gonna make something crap if you’re trying to make something hoping someone else will like it”. This shows how both as people and artists they are very genuine, calling the release of their album their “biggest achievement so far”.
Their goals are to just keep writing and collaborating with other artists for their next album: joking that so far there are “no plans to take over the world”. After their UK tour they are heading to Mexico for their first ever out of Europe gig, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they achieved international popularity very soon.
Be sure to catch Bad Sounds so you don’t miss a memorable and totally immersive experience.
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