Bad Sounds are driven forwards by a deep and lasting chemistry.
The band evolved out of a friendship, two songwriters and vagabonds who wanted to do things their own way.
An outrageous live experience, Bad Sounds combine a hectic touring schedule with near-constant creativity.
Continually writing new material, the band zip from idea to idea, and their new EP is testament to that.
Drafting together DIY elements with a ruthless pop instinct, Bad Sounds exist in their own dogmatic realm.
Clash caught up with the Bristol group to discuss touring tales in Good Trip, Bad Trip.
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Best trip without doubt was when we played Corona Capital in Mexico City. We were only there for about two and a half days (with an eight hour flight either side) but it was one of the most exciting and interesting experiences of all our lives.
The festival was super diverse (acts ranged from Jenny Lewis to MGMT to Nine Inch Nails to Robbie Williams). It's weird, I think a lot of people assume that all the bands always hang out and party backstage at festivals and everyone knows each other, but that is kinda rarely the case (some people don’t even venture off their tour busses), but there was such a great atmosphere here (plus tacos and mezcal), and all the acts were just hanging out and geeking out about music together. Lots of mutual respect backstage.
Plus Edgar Wright was there because he was making a film about Sparks! Stand out out performances from Pond, The Jesus And Mary Chain, and (the grandmother of all) Nine Inch Nails.
We got to do a little bit of exploring in the city as well before we flew home and it was just super vibrant and beautiful. 10/10 on Trip Advisor. Would recommend.
Second night of our first support tour. We hadn’t really been on top of the hotel situation (we missed the check-in on the first night). We arrived at our hotel after the second show at Manchester Royal Albert Hall. The show was much better than the first night (yay!), but the headliners’ crew went absolutely batshit at us because we stood on some on their stage props (boo!). If you leave a bright orange car hood in the middle of the stage then obviously we’re gonna moonwalk all over that shit (none of us can moonwalk).
Then we arrived at the hotel. I can’t remember what it was called but rest assured if I could I’d be naming and shaming. The reception area kind of reminded me of my dentist’s, and it had a little tuck shop in it. All they had for sale was toothpaste, condoms, and energy drinks. Then the lady behind the counter (who was completely off her face) showed us downstairs to our basement rooms “sleep tight guys!” Yeah, thanks.
Carved into our room door was YOUR DEAD (spelled like that).
Then when we went inside there was an old style TV on with just the static on screen. Then when we pulled back the sheets of the bed we found blood stains. I’m aware that everything I’ve just said fills the quota for cliches in a shit slasher movie, but it’s true.
So, me and Ewan being the wet blanky’s we were raised to be, decided we’d sleep in the van (verrrrryyy cold night) while everybody else risked their lives in the B&B of death.
Our favourite foreign venue…
We played a festival in Spain where the stages were all MASSIVE and it all looked super hi spec. Then we found our stage. A small little faux petrol station in a part of the festival that kinda looked like the car park. Our hearts sank when we saw it. I think there was a tattoo booth or something tagged onto one side of it as well (it probably wasn’t a tattoo booth in all honesty but lets go with that for now because i can’t remember what it actually was).
Anyway, once we started playing we soon realised that this was probably the best stage on the whole site, and we had a great show! It was like the hidden gem that people discovered on their way to watch something else and got distracted. The sound system packed a punch as well. Possibly one of my favourite Bad Sounds shows of all time. We just absolutely went for it and really connected with all the lovely people in that car park. Never judge a book by its cover I guess.
We’re surprisingly popular in…
Documentaries presented by Greg Wallace. My dad keeps tabs on when and where our music in TV shows and always lets us know. It’s often surprising what it appears in and sometimes a little confusing. We also have fans in Mexico.
Best or worst exotic foodstuff…
We’re kind of a tricky group of people to feed on tour so to be honest if we’ve all had a meal then generally we’re pretty chuffed. We have one vegan, one vegetarian, one pescatarian (dairy free), one gluten/ dairy/ potato free diet, and a few normal people.
We had a verrrrry questionable meal in a Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh once. We all ordered different things off the menu, and when the food arrived it all looked exactly the same, and it didn’t look (or taste) good. I think only one of us got food poisoning. I’m fairly convinced the place was just a front for another less legal business.
Most interesting individual you've met on the road…
When we were first starting out we played this show in Guildford and this proper old school mod guy was one of the four or five people in the audience and after the show he was telling that he used to be tour manager for James Brown and Curtis Mayfield (bloody love Curtis Mayfield!).
We’re fairly certain that none of what he said was true, but we enjoyed the stories and his excellent dress sense regardless. Dear sir; if you’re reading this, and you remember us, and you were telling the truth, then I sincerely apologise for what I just said. Please get in contact and tell us more stories about JB and Curtis!
Worst on-tour injury, or accident…
There was a very important gig quite early on and nobody really knew who we were (I think we had two singles out). It was kind of a showcase gig - these things happen every now and then when you’re starting out and they’re stale AF. It’s a normal gig with a normal audience except its mostly full of people that you REEEEAAALLYY want/need to like you, and give you some money to make music. So we wanted to put on an extra special show and make a good impression.
Soundcheck was pretty bad because we were all nervous. Our bassist Sam wasn’t really speaking to anyone (we later found out he’d broken up with his girlfriend of three years just before he came to the gig). Then I dropped my sampler butter side down off the stage (miraculously it still worked but was a little touch and go). Then when I jumped down from the stage I twisted my knee and couldn’t really walk.
Now, I have been known to be a bit over dramatic every now and then, but this was pretty bad. We’re a pretty active band on stage generally but that night I did a lot of hopping on one leg and holding onto my MPC stand (now lovingly nicknamed “Cal’s zimmer frame”) trying not to fall over . I’ll remind you at this point that the gig hasn’t even started yet.
When we actually did start our set we got half way through our first song and Olivia’s snare drum broke. We didn’t have a spare. So we just stood there awkwardly for what felt like five weeks occasionally saying “our snare has broken. We don’t know what to do. Please send help”. Then the other band lent us a snare and when Ewan ran around the back of the stage to pass it to Olivia he kicked out the power supply for all of our amps, keys, and pedals.
SHIT FUCKING NIGHT.
We did not get signed.
My essential travel item…
I guess a decent set of headphones is pretty important for me. One of my favourite parts about touring is the fact that I get to listen to so much music whilst traveling. I used to have a 40 minute bus journey to and from school everyday where I’d listen to music obsessively as a kid, so I think I have a weird nostalgia for listening to music in that setting.
I’m also gonna throw in another one because fuck it, I’m just rebellious that way. A sleeping mask. They’re great.
My essential travel tip...
I don’t think I’m really qualified to give people tips on this sort of thing. Just don’t be a dickhead.
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