The Thekla Archives: 2017

Bad Sounds, Crosstown Concerts Presents Bad Sounds

  • Wednesday 8th November 2017

Bad Sounds

700 Website Bad Sounds

If you liked Beck when he was trying to be Prince rather than when he was trying to be Nick Drake and if you like 70s dance music with an 80s production gloss and a 90s baggy undercarriage that invites 60s-style exclamations of appreciation, then you’ll love Bad Sounds. Radio 1’s Annie Mac does – she made one of the band’s singles, Wages, hottest record in the world, and another, Avalanche, tune of the week. People are currently making their musical predictions for 2017. People are also currently complaining about the proliferation of musical predictions for 2017. Still, if you’re a betting type, the smart money is on Bad Sounds.

Why Bad Sounds? It’s a bad-meaning-good thing apparently: the band love early hip-hop, especially the good-times “DAISY Age” upful vibes of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul – “We’re predominantly, aesthetically, a hip-hop band,” declares singer-keyboardist Merrett – as well as the stoned funkadelia of Sly and the Family Stone, and everything by Michael Jackson, particularly Off the Wall era. In fact, for a remix of Avalanche, Merrett did an impression of Jackson’s iconic intro to Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, the one where he mumbles pseudo-prophetically about “power” and “the force” like a disco Yoda. The Beck influence comes from Merrett’s dad (“He used to play Odelay all the time”) although they disavow baggy. “People keep saying we remind them of that stuff,” Merrett says of Madchester period lazy-limbed dance music. The band are managed by the team behind Placebo and Wild Beasts, although they’re unsigned and are fielding offers. They played Bestival and Glastonbury this year and – talking of Wages – have had nearly half a million Spotify streams for their various tracks. “A million is six grand,” says Merrett, doing a quick mental calculation. “So that means roughly 600 quid each. We’re pretty chuffed.” It might even mean they can give up their day jobs: his brother Callum (vocals) works in a suit shop, drummer Dimery in a venue, bassist Pitt in a cafe and guitarist Hint in the local Apple store. As for Merrett, he’s studying creative music technology at Bath Spa, which means lots of music and “weird sound design”. Bad Sounds are less Pierre Schaeffer than Paris Angels. They recently supported Rat Boy on tour. “That was a shock to the system, hearing screaming 14-year-olds,” he says. Although, tending towards self-deprecation as he does, he puts their enthusiastic reaction down to “kids being at their first show and thinking you’re famous cos you’re in the same room as the lead act”.

Bad Sounds specialise in upbeat music even if the lyrics frequently allude to dark stuff – even death. They should get at least a couple of songs out of their Rat Boy tour. It was while on the road in Manchester that they found themselves booked into a cheap, dodgy hotel, where the “incoherent” lady at the front desk showed us to their windowless rooms “somewhere beneath the ground”. “It was midnight on Saturday and there was no light down there and we were starting to freak out,” Merrett recalls. “When we turned the TV on it was just loud static, and there was blood on the sheets. In Olivia’s room, someone had carved ‘You’re Dead’ with a knife into the door. It was horror movie stuff.”

Once out of their tomb with no view, they were moved to pen Living Alone, with its irresistibly sinewy synth-clavinet sound (channelling Stevie Wonder) and propulsive bassline. Apparently it’s a demo, which bodes well for the studio-honed final product. Galumphing grooves just seem to pour out of them. They’ve even got a number – a psych-funkalicious affair that explodes into a colourburst of a chorus – called Banger. Audacious, or what?

“We’re not modest,” decides Merrett, who won’t stop till he gets enough. “We want to be as big as we can. We’re not trying to be an underground, cool band. We want to go for it.”

WEDNESDAY 08 NOVEMBER

THEKLA BRISTOL
The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB
Doors 7:00pm
Ages 14+

Advance tickets available from:
www.alttickets.com
www.gigantic.com
www.bristolticketshop.co.uk

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