Bombay Bicycle Club go Bollywood

British indie band wrote much of their latest album in Bombay and one of their MTVs even has a Bollywood dance scene

(From left) Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman, bass player Ed Nash, guitarist Jamie MacColl and drummer Suren de Saram. -- PHOTO: SYMMETRY ENTERTAINMENT
(From left) Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman, bass player Ed Nash, guitarist Jamie MacColl and drummer Suren de Saram. -- PHOTO: SYMMETRY ENTERTAINMENT

Four albums in and British indie band Bombay Bicycle Club are finally living up to their name and have gone Bollywood.

Feel, a single from their latest release, So Long, See You Tomorrow, features not just a sample from Man Dole Mera Tan Dole, a song from 1954 Hindi film Nagin, but its music video also features a full-on Bollywood dance scene.

In a telephone interview from London, bass player Ed Nash tells Life! that while the new album has been influenced by a variety of music including hip-hop and dance, frontman Jack Steadman has been looking East quite a fair bit in recent times.

The band will be in Singapore to perform at *Scape's The Ground Theatre on July 29.

Much of the album, their first to reach No. 1 on the British charts, was written in a studio in the Indian city of Bombay.

Nash adds: "Jack was obviously listening to Bollywood music and classical Indian music and they found their way into the album."

But the 24-year-old bass player takes credit for the video, which does not feature any of the band members.

"That's my idea. This was years ago, even before any of the songs had come about; Jack and I were sitting in a cafe and watching the Indian equivalent of MTV and all the music videos were the craziest things we had ever seen. I can't believe they have these videos, they are so interesting compared with what we make in the UK or anywhere else."

Featuring dance scenes set in a traditional Indian wedding, the band hired Indian director Sumit Dutt to direct and film the music video in Bollywood itself to keep it authentic. Dutt is known for directing commercials as well as music videos for Bollywood stars such as Salman Khan.

So Long, See You Tomorrow, released in February, has drawn mostly positive reviews. Music magazine NME, for example, praises the band's "desire to approach every new album as an opportunity to reinvent themselves" and states that with their new musical direction, "Bombay Bicycle Club have finally found an iteration worth sticking with".

The band - whose name was inspired by a now-defunct chain of British restaurants that served Indian cuisine - was formed in 2005 while Steadman, guitarist Jamie MacColl and drummer Suren de Saram were all in their teens. Nash, who is the same age as the rest, joined them the following year.

Spending close to half their lives together as a band has only made them closer, he says.

"I've been in Bombay Bicycle Club since I was 15 and I'm 24 now, which is nine years and almost half my life. It feels like a family, it feels like a very ingrained thing because we weren't old enough to appreciate it and be taken aback by something we'd always done back then."

As the band's popularity grew, they found themselves more comfortable playing at bigger events such as this year's Glastonbury, their second time performing at the iconic music festival.

"We played that stage three years ago and I really, really hated that show. I was really scared and it was far too big for what we were doing at the time. I think we were all kind of overwhelmed by it. But personally, this year, I didn't feel overwhelmed and felt comfortable."

He is looking forward to returning to Singapore. The band performed at indie music festival The People's Party, also at *Scape, in 2012 and besides the gig, what he remembers best is being taken around and sampling local cuisine.

"The last trip we did was one of my favourites ever. We were taken to Toast Box, which we really want to go back to. So aside from the gig, I have very greedy intentions in coming back."

dinohadi@sph.com.sg

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