Bad Sounds are a gloriously funky Bath-based five-piece. They’ve been making sounds since 2014 and they’re good, really, really good. I spoke to vocalist and keyboard player Ewan about DIY confetti canons, blood splattered hotel rooms and Missy Elliott…
I’m really excited for your show at Thekla next month. The last time I saw you guys was in November 2014 supporting Superfood, how has the band grown since then?
That was super early for us, I think that was our first proper decent show! It’s changed dramatically since then. We were still trying things out and finding out what we were about initially. You need to play a lot of gigs before you start to feel comfortable on stage and we were all pretty nervous about it at that time.
You’ve recently rereleased Living Alone on your new EP Mixtape One, how has that song changed?
That was one of the first demos we ever wrote. We put it up for the sake of putting it up - we liked it and thought over people might too - we weren’t really thinking of it as something people would get behind at that time. It took us quite a long time to find the way we like to write lyrics. There’s a track called Avalanche which was a big turning point for us in terms of getting a voice that felt like us across. We didn’t feel like it was something cliché or standard. Once we had all that stuff we went back to it and refined what we’d already started.
People obviously did get behind it, when I talk to people about Bad Sounds either they haven’t heard of you or they’re big fans. What’s your fan base like?
There’s a few kids now who come to every gig that’s near them or who have collected most of the merch. It’s super cool but it always shocks me because I see us as quite a small band. I don’t even know how they really know who we are. When I was their age I had no idea who a band was unless they were big and on the tv regularly. It’s super nice for us though.
I read that for one of your first shows you built your own confetti canon…
Yeah Cal did! It was an old leaf blower that we reversed so it would blow out confetti. We basically got it to the venue and then weren’t allowed to use it. It literally looked like the most serious fire safety hazard of all time. We built shit tons of props and stuff and at our first gigs there was hardly anyone there so it was a bit of an overkill to begin with. That’s one thing that’s nice about now – we can do those things and people will get into it and get behind it.
Do you have any big stage plans for your Thekla show?
We do but we’re still planning them right now. There’s nothing set in stone, we have a rough idea about how it’s going to play out so it should be good hopefully.
You guys are going on tour in November, is there anywhere in particular you’re looking forward to?
Bristol and London are always the biggest venues and have more of a crowd. I’m looking forward to Edinburgh, we’ve never been there before. We’ve only been to Glasgow in Scotland.
Apparently when you visited Glasgow while touring with Rat Boy, a group of 13-year-old Glaswegian girls tried to convince you to buy booze for them, then told you to fuck off when you refused?
Yeah! Yeah…. do you know what though? Glasgow is one of my favourite places that we’ve played. Everybody is so nice whenever we’ve gone there, first thing when we got off our van there were those girls, after that everyone was super supportive! When we get messages on Instagram and stuff it’s always from people in Glasgow.
Any other stories from that tour?
Well… we booked all the cheapest hotels because when you’re a support band you literally make no money. We got to this hotel in Manchester on a Saturday night and we were all knackered. There was this drugged out women on the front desk who took an hour to check us in and we were like ‘okay this is a bit shady...’. Then she led us downstairs from the ground floor, we got into our room and there was blood on the sheets and the TV was playing static as we walked in. We went to check on the others and see what their room was like and someone had scratched in ‘you’re dead’ on the front door. Because it was a Saturday night there was nowhere else we could stay so we ended up staying in this blood splattered hell hole.
Finally, I wanted to ask which musicians particularly inspire you? Who ideally would you love to work with?
For me it would definitely be Missy Elliott, she’s my all-time hero. She’s one of the first records I ever had and I just think she’s fucking awesome. Her fans probably wouldn’t be into Bad Sounds but it would literally be like dream of dreams to do something with her. She’s awesome. Callum’s really into Questlove, so Callum would probably say the Roots or Questlove. But for me definitely Missy Elliott.
Bad Sounds is comprised of Ewan Merrett, Callum Merrett (vocals), Sam Hunt (guitar), Charlie Pitt (bass) and Olivia Dimery (drums).
Check out their Bristol gig on the 8th of November at Thekla.
By Sam Stone
Photograph: PR Company Handout