After Gig Chat With The Surfin’ Birds

In a small, packed bar in the middle of the Falmouth high street, an unfamiliar sound could be heard luring people in. The sound of fifties rock ‘n’ roll colliding with punk and blues made something more fun and energetic. That sound, I found out, was the sound of modern surf music and boy is it entertaining. After an hour of dancing an inch or so from the stage on a small, crowded and overly happy dance floor I interviewed brothers Paul (Singer) and Liam (drummer) with bassist Dave about playing live as their band The Surfin’ Birds.


Q: What do you think of playing in Falmouth and playing here in toast?


Paul: I absolutely love it. There’s a friend of ours who invited us down in the first place, Simon Davis (who I’ve known a long time), so he just invited us down to do one show two years ago, and we come back; this is our fourth time we all gathered a crowd on the way so it’s all good. Every time we come to play its always alright and a good reception and people dig it; they like their surf music.


Q: What would you say to people who haven’t seen you play, what you say to expect?


Paul: A big, fat, sinister surf sound, it’s not necessarily a surf sound in the traditional concept of it but you’ve got the Fender guitars and the Wang bars and all that from the sixties which I love personally but were trying to revamp it. My brother, he’s into punk, ska and new wave and things like that and then you’ve got Dave on the bass who’s into Motown, James Jamerson and stuff and I love blues and I love blues and surf rock and stuff like that.


Q: People were dancing and were packed so close to the band; almost dancing with you. Is that something you look for in a gig?


Paul: I love that yeah, when the crowds ten centimetres away and you see them sweat just as much as you that’s a great feeling, of course it is. No matter if you’re playing in front of a thousand people or a hundred people I always prefer the closer crowds.


Liam: I like any gigs but I do prefer when it’s more intimate; you do get more of a reaction out of the crowd.


Q: What’s you favourite gig to date?


Dave: Today, it’s about as far back as I can remember and I’m the driver.


Paul: That’s a hard one because different situations, different gigs. One on the nicest ones was when we supported Wanda Jackson because we love Wada Jackson a rockabilly star from the 50s I do know though because I prefer little clubs. Simon has seen us so many times, he’s the one who got us the gig here.


Simon: My favourite gig of yours, probably the first time you played here, it wasn’t even the gig it was just playing at my house after.


Paul: We went to a student house after and we did a gig for about two and a half hours after and we got a bit pissed.


Q: When you  walk away from a gig what makes you think if it was a good gig or not?1653652_585787131506995_1207349579_n


Paul: The crowd, we get more into it if it is a crowd that is enjoying it. We’ve been to these gigs were people just stand there at the back and clap and say “oh my God you sound so close to the Sonics or the ventures” fuck that man, we just love the music and we play in our own way.


Q: What do you take influence from as a live band?


Paul: It’s like psychedelic Punk music, that what I call it. Were into bands like Cream and Hendrix and all those bands from the sixties, the Stooges, we love how they bowed everything together in the mid-sixties garage scene. Garage bands like the Sonics and we are the people. All those kind of bands that put it into a three minuet track. That’s great for an album but live you have to give it something else, you have to play off the sweat of your pants.


Dave: All about the crowd if, their into it you can really feed off of it and get in the zone a bit more, when it’s more tame, your tamer in your performance . As influence where trying to bring back the power trio, Cream and all that.


Q: What are you doing for the rest of the year?


Paul: Were just in the middle of doing an album and were recording that with ambassador records and that will be out around spring time so you can check it out on the internet and check us out on Facebook. We have some gigs coming up and we play all over, last year we played in Sweden and that’s the first time we played away; we had to bring our game to Sweden. That was quite nerve racking for us three country boys.


Q: Which do you prefer live or studio work?


Paul: Live! I love the studio because you can create, you can think about things and go through things and be bit more creative in that sense but I think live were its more off the cuff is more exciting because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.


Q: Does it surprise you that many people from bands prefer studio work?


Paul: Not at all, that could be their creative source. My creative source personally being into Blues and Jazz, I like to play and improvise.


Liam: With music you have to affect people. I prefer live because when you’re in the studio you’re not performing to anyone; were here to entertain.


Dave: Especially in our days how the markets going, an album is used as a tool to get people to go to your gigs, it’s gone on a roundabout circuit.


Q: Why should people come and see you live?


Paul: I’d say psychedelic surf music. It’s stuff to dance to but be prepared for the unexpected.


Liam: it’s not popular music but when you hear it your love it

Bombay Bicycle Club live in New York City 30/7/2012

I arrived in New York City at 1PM after waking up at 4AM and a 7 hour flight. It was 88 degrees and there was a jam on the bypass so the sweltering taxi had to travel through the Queens traffic to the Midtown tunnel. Around 1.45 we rose up out the tunnel onto Manhattan Island, into the towers of Midtown, into the central hub of the world.

After eating lunch and a small breath taking walk through our surroundings we clocked into our hotel at 4.30. On 7.00 O’clock me and my brother walked the 26 blocks through the famous skyscrapers of the Garment district, passing the lavish restaurants of Chelsea into the older, relaxed Greenwich Village.

We arrived at Webster Hall at 7.45, neon lights spelt out the venue name above the old fashioned replaceable letters which that night spelt “Bowery presents Bombay bicycle club”. We stood under the entrance at the front of the queue for 20 minutes; the door man let my brother in despite him not having his ID. We went up a set of stairs, through some doors into the grand ballroom. That’s when it finally hit home, I was going to see Bombay bicycle club live in New York City.

I was buzzing, couldn’t keep still, the venue was not huge. It was a 1,500 capacity room, no seating just a few bars and a balcony rapping around the edge, yet it seemed spectacular. The atmosphere was hyped but relaxed, everyone chilled but ready, it had been a long, long day but I was on a high.

The support band were canadian, one Plants and Animals, a folk, rock band who warmed the crowd up with a quality performance. They were well received by the growing crowd, after their 45 minuet set Webster Hall was full. The venue was warm, that and the length of the day before me meant I was starting to tire.

Bombay Bicycle club came on stage to rapturous applause and went straight into there first song How can you swallow so much sleep. From the first strum of the guitar it was perfect. The atmosphere turned incredible, the sound was mesmerising and the tiredness drained from me. “Can I wake you up, can I wake you up?” By the time the first lyrics were sang there was a smile on my face from ear to ear, the song kicked in and everybody was moving, smiling and singing.

We were standing right in front of bassist Ed Nash, early on his talent became clear. The sound he created was both powerful and delicate. With singer Jack Steadman and guitarist Jamie MacColl creating the Bombay sound and Suren de Saram keeping the beat it gave Ed the rare opportunity for a bassist to be more creative and have a lead role live. He did superbly; especially in the song Evening/ Morning were he really got the crowd dancing with the songs great bass riff.

Evening/ Morning was played between Ivy & Gold and Cancel On Me, my favourite part of the show, the crowd was in full swing and these three songs played together created an atmosphere of pure joy and passion.

The experience was magical, arriving in New York then walking through the different sceneries of Manhattan. My brother having his stroke of luck at the door and seeing the stage for the first time, the first soft sounds bringing the gig to life, magical. The peak came at the final song of the set which was of course Always Like This played with usual precision.

An extra ordinary day ending with a magical gig. New York City, Bombay Bicycle Club thank you.

1. How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep 2. Your Eyes 3. Dust On The Ground 4. Open House 5. It’s Alright Now 6. Lights Out, Words Gone 7. Leave It 8. Ivy & Gold 9. Evening/Morning 10. Cancel On Me 11. Beg 12. What You Want 13. Always Like This

Encore: Shuffle, Carry Me, What If