Interview: Bad Sounds at Dot to Dot Festival Nottingham

Tayla Davie caught up with brothers Ewan and Callum from Bad Sounds, where they told Platform all about their weekend at Dot to Dot Festival, the northern and southern divide and what they hope to achieve in 2018…

Hi guys! How’s the weekend been so far? Any highlights?

Callum: Highlights have been outside the van, all the gigs have been a highlight to be honest. But I’m not just saying that because we’re here, but Nottingham was probably my favourite show of the stretch.

How do you think the set went?

Ewan: Pretty fun, I really enjoyed it. I’m also really surprised about how many people were in that massive room.

C: We haven’t really played Nottingham much and it’s like the biggest venue that we’ve played on the whole tour, so we were kinda like this is a weird choice.

E: Actually, when our intro started, and the lights dimmed I heard the audience and I was like that sounds like a lot of people. We loved it.

What made you decide to go into music?

E: It’s weird because neither of our parents were like musicians or anything, our Dad played a bit of guitar, but I don’t think we ever sort of entertained doing much else. It was just like, we were always really into music and our parents supported that so even though we went separately for a while, it was always to do music things. It’s never been anything else really that we’ve been focused on.

Bad Sounds
Bad Sounds at D2D Festival, Nottingham.

Can you describe Bad Sounds for someone who’s never heard of you before?

C: That’s hard. We just see it as our music tastes, just like merged and we write with a hip-hop mindset in the sense with like traditional hip-hop you sample something or a cool bit from something that you really like. We kinda do that with genres and eras that we really like, so it’s just like a really cool guitar sound from that record in the 70’s, or like a really cool drum sound. It’s just a blend of our music tastes’.

So, as a southern band is it any different playing up north?

E: It tends to be. I don’t know why, we played our Bristol hometown show last night and we were kinda expecting it be the maddest night because we haven’t played there in a long time and to be fair when we’ve done our own shows where it has been like that. But I think maybe, it just felt more like a chin rubbing crowd. But yeah, I dunno it does seem the more north you go the wilder it is. Glasgow is my favourite place to play, it always seems like everyone is so up for it.

How was it supporting Rat Boy earlier this year?

E: Yeah it was wicked. We’ve supported them once before, so we kinda knew the guys anyway. It’s kinda weird thing when you’re on tour because you’re on slightly different schedules when they’re setting everything up we have chill time and when we’re setting all our stuff up, they have chill time. There’s not really much of a crossover, but because we already sort of knew each other you chat a bit between stuff. Their audience is always so welcoming to us and it was kinda nice to go back and do it a second time because I felt like we’d really come on a long way and improved a lot. The first time we did it was the first time we played properly, so it was good we felt like we’d sort of gone up a notch in people’s books when they come back.

Catching up with Bad Sounds in their van!

You released a single last month ‘Evil Powers’, can you tell me the inspiration behind the single and what the recording process was like?

E: We’ve always been obsessed with the evil dead saga, and into spooky and goofy stuff so whenever we’ve had the chance to exploit that we have, and we really had that hook with the Evil Powers chorus. Then we kinda just got that in our heads that we could absolutely milk it to shit. And we did.

So, who are biggest inspirations?

E: I think we’re into a lot of different stuff, but I’d say things that have really changed the way we work is a production duo called The Dust Brothers who did Pauls Boutique by the Beastie Boys and a lot of what they have done has influenced us in a big way.

C: They also did MMMbop by Hanson.

E: Song of a generation. But then also like Curtis Mayfield, loads of people, The Gorillaz obviously. Gnarls Barkley.

If you could play/record with one musician dead or alive, who would it be?

C: Michael Jackson.

What’s your greatest achievement as a band?

C: You know what, it never feels like we’ve achieved something because it always feels like we’re on a slow steady incline. I feel like when I was a kid, I thought there was gonna be this one moment and then it will all happen for us but in reality, I don’t think it really happens like that. It’s the sum of all parts. It was amazing when Annie Mac first played ‘Avalanche’, she bigged it up so much for us and then straight after, I think it was like two weeks later we played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury and that sort of like fell into place all at the right time. Then we released ‘Wages’ and she championed that as well.

E: I don’t think either of us have like milestones that we’re aiming for, it’s more just wanting to do it for a living, which I think when we got to quit our jobs that was probably the biggest thing. That and just finishing the album recently, those are things that I saw being big moments but there’s never been like a venue I’ve had in my head thinking oh I wanna get there. So yeah, it’s just kinda doing it I guess.

Do you have any advice for people trying to make it in the music industry?

E: I think it depends how far along you are but first and foremost it’s write as much as possible and get something that you feel really strongly about and that you know is good. But then I think when you’re at that stage finding decent management is definitely, in terms of like sorting out your career and like the industry stuff that is the number one thing. In terms of writing, it’s just doing it as much as possible.

C: I also think just like be realistic about the time scale as well, it’s never gonna happen as quick as you want it too. There’s a lot of patience and you are gonna have to work and do gigs, then go to work at like 7 in the morning and stuff like that. Unless you’re really lucky, you’re gonna have to do that stuff, so don’t be a bitch about it.

E: I also think the best bands do, do that stuff. The bands who seem to get signed really early, I almost feel like it’s come too easy for them, they don’t really appreciate like the great situation they’re in.

C: We’re so terrified that we’re gonna have to stop doing this and go back to normal.

E: I think all of our family think we’re like absolute slackers, but genuinely I’m working ten times harder at this than I did at my old day job.

And finally, what do you hope to achieve in 2018?

E: Well the album is coming out, so that’s kind of the focus of it. I guess we’re hoping that does well. But I think it’s kinda almost out of our hands now, obviously, there is some marketing stuff that will happen but in terms of what we can actually do, we’ve put in all of the work into that. Then it’s just planning shows.

C: I just want people to like the album. That would be my biggest thing.

E: When we made the album, it really did take some time and we worked really hard and we always kinda went in with the mentality of like if it sells nothing and we hear it in ten-years-time we still want to like it and feel like we did the right thing. Obviously you want people to like and for people to be into it, but it’s okay if they don’t because we’ve definitely made the best album we can make in our eyes right now.

By Tayla Davie

Photos taken by Katie Addy

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