Bombay Bicycle Club Ready For City Gig, Chilled Or Otherwise

BOMBAY Bicycle Club, the English rockers from Crouch End in London, are preparing to show Glasgow fans a different side to their music in their upcoming gig at the 02 Academy.

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       Bombay Bicycle Club are returning to play in Glasgow at the O2 Academy in March
Bombay Bicycle Club are returning to play in Glasgow at the O2 Academy in March

Having played at venues around the city in the past, guitarist Jamie MacColl is looking forward to their Scottish return.

"Performing to audiences in Scotland has always been really good," he said.

"I think there's that kind of pre-conception that everyone has that Scottish crowds are really up for it and wild."

After a pause to laugh, Jamie adds: "Which is perhaps true, particularly at the Barrowland.

"But equally, we have had some really chilled out gigs at the Oran Mor, so I guess it also goes with expectations people have when they go into the venue.

"I'm sure it will be a good gig at the 02 Academy."

The group will soon unveil the full sound of their fourth studio album 'So Long, See You Tomorrow', with Island Records.

"This is a bit more of a dancey album than the first album," he said.

"Back then we would always have people moshing at our gigs, and I think we would quite like to move away from that."

As a band, the four members have grown up within the music industry, with their origins starting from a performance in a school assembly.

From this event, the 15-year-olds, lead singer, Jack Steadman, guitarist Jamie MacColl and drummer Suren de Saram, first met. Ed Nash became a later addition, joining in the summer of 2006.

As the collective Bombay Bicycle Club, named after a chain of Indian restaurants in Britain, the group won Virgin Mobile's Road to V competition on Channel 4 in 2006.

While this event started their career, the band have found it difficult sometimes to move past the stigma that can be associated with talent competitions.

"For a while it was probably quite hard for us to escape that tag, which was of 16-year-olds that had won a talent show to play at V Festival," said guitarist Jamie MacColl.

"Being young and the fact that the first album was pretty simple, I think there's probably quite a lot of people that won't even listen to this new album just as a result of their pre-conceptions of that band."

The band's development remains at the forefront of their minds as they approach their mid-20s.

"The band has changed hugely," said Jamie.

"The first album was made by the people who we were then obviously, which was teenagers in London.

"That is what we knew and that is what we wrote and sang about."

'I had the Blues but I shook them loose' debuted in 2009, and featured indie-rock tracks such as 'Evening/Morning', and the jaunty guitar hook of 'Always like This'.

THIS album led the group to beat nominees such as Mumford & Sons and The XX to win Best New Band Award at the 2010 NME Awards.

Their second album, the mesmerising 'Flaws', was made up of acoustic tracks, with lilting and endearing vocals provided by Lucy Rose.

As one of the guitarists, Jamie has had to master techniques of both acoustic and electric guitar as the band progressed.

"The style of the playing has changed with each record," he said.

"The first was very much a sort of electric-guitar driven indie rock album, and I was mainly playing rhythm guitar on that. I had to learn a new way of playing for 'Flaws', with a sort of finger-picking acoustic style."

The following album, 'A Different Kind of Fix', heralded a return in 2011 to the rockier sound which kicked off the band's career.

The varying inspirations build, as Jamie describes the addition of afro-beats coming across in the guitar playing, which leads to the essence of the new album.

"It's a little bit... different, so it's good for my development as a musician," he laughs.

With such a varied back-catalogue of records, Jamie tries to pinpoint the sound of 'So Long, See You Tomorrow'.

"You can kind of hear in different bits of influences from the previous three albums, but I think the main thing is that it is rhythmic and the drums are loud in the mix.

"It is all sort of based around what the drums are doing and the vocal hook and everything in between is kind of just another layer."

The attention-grabbing drums that introduce new tracks such as 'Carry Me' and the hypnotic single 'Luna' highlight the ever-adapting direction of the band.

"I think with each album, we have sort of grown up since then.

"We have reached this point where we are all getting more comfortable with the music that we want to make and what we think the band should sound like."

n Bombay Bicycle Club play the 02 Academy on Monday, March 3.

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