Finding Freedom in Our Fantasies: An Interview With Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley
Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley
Bombay Bicycle Club’s Ed Nash speaks with Atwood Magazine about the English indie rock band’s latest EP ‘Fantasies,’ a product of inspiring collaborations and expansive creativity.
Stream: ‘Fantasies’ – Bombay Bicycle Club




Turning away from the band gave us the vocabulary and the confidence to push the buttons and try new things. If we had done the band consistently, I don’t think we would have done anything like this.

It is hard to pinpoint Bombay Bicycle Club’s “sound.”

The identity of the band is constantly changing, an unpredictable and vivacious mystery that has existed since their beginning. Though not exactly concept albums, each record delves into an unprecedented musical landscape, a characteristic that hinges on the band’s knack for experimentation. Only recently, however, has Bombay Bicycle Club described their music as “fun.”

Their latest record, My Big Day (out October 20, 2023 via Mmm… Records.”  The self-produced project features one of the most provocative album covers you’ve ever seen and a slew of incredible collaborators – Damon Albarn and Chaka Kahn among them.

Fantasies - Bombay Bicycle Club
Fantasies – Bombay Bicycle Club

Following in the footsteps of that latest record is EP Fantasies (out February 23, 2024 via Mmm… Records), which features collaborations with Matilda Mann, Liz Lawrence, Lucy Rose, and Rae Morris.

In the words of the group, “We think of this as a Bombay & Friends release because each song has a good friend of the band singing on it.”

The band elaborates, “It’s also very much a continuation of My Big Day as it was recorded around the same time and mixed by Dave Fridmann but while we felt they weren’t right for the album, we also knew these songs were too strong to sit on for very long.”

Each track on Fantasies is an ode to the magic of our little worlds, and the vastness of our minds and the people that occupy them. Warm guitar pickings, nimble bass, and hyperactive drums are sprinkled throughout the EP, making for a work of delightfully immersive optimism.

Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley
Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley



Lyrics nurse a fear best dealt with through blissful ignorance and a much ado about nothing sense of awareness.

Steadmann and Rose gently muse on “Willow,” “Trying to keep my head in the breeze, happy for them who do it better than me.” Steadmann and Lawrence refuse to “look up” and look around, singing, “Close my eyes forever, scared I’ll see something better.” The project is injected with an unassuming confidence, rejecting carefully constructed musical molds for a haphazard, whatever-fits approach. The result is four beautifully crafted songs that are indeed too strong to not be heard.

Atwood Magazine spoke with Ed Nash of Bombay Bicycle Club about gaining perspective as a band, their sense of creative freedom, and the collaborators that made the project what it is.

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:: stream/purchase Fantasies here ::
:: connect with Bombay Bicycle Club here ::
“Fantasneeze” – Bombay Bicycle Club ft. Matilda Mann



A CONVERSATION WITH BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB

Fantasies - Bombay Bicycle Club

Atwood Magazine: I want to start by talking about your hiatus. It seems like your approach to the band changed after this pause.

Ed Nash: I think so. In 2015, we had been in the band for ten years. We didn’t have a life outside of the band and we got to the point where everyone needed to do something else. We had been on tour consistently and released 4 albums in 4 years. We didn’t really think we would do it again. It was only in living life outside of the band and gaining perspective that it made us realize how important and special the band was. We came back to it with the knowledge that we needed to have some balance. Now, we try to cater to that. The other guys work separately and have families, and I write and produce for other people. It makes the band better as well, because we are happy to be there.

Do you think the creative freedom you found on My Big Day is a result of this newfound perspective?

Ed Nash: I think it would be possible, but I don’t think it would have been as good. Turning away from the band gave us the vocabulary and the confidence to push the buttons and try new things. If we had done the band consistently, I don’t think we would have done anything like this.

Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley
Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley



This record and this EP feature more people in the room, both figuratively and literally. When you are coming back to the studio to record, are there any points of contention or any fear?

Ed Nash: Totally. I think anything created that is good and a try at progress will come with fear and contention. We are probably better at dealing with it than other bands because of the time we had off and because we know each other so well. We don’t argue about things, there are a lot of disagreements but we understand that if someone disagrees with you it’s not because they’re being bloody minded or difficult. It’s not personal.

Did you plan to have this many features on the record and EP or did it just happen?

Ed Nash: The reason we got features on this record was to provide something we couldn’t do ourselves. Which is why it’s only a vocalist coming in. We are four middle-class North Londoners, we can’t sing like those people (laughs). We had “Tekken 2,” and knew that we couldn’t sing a disco verse, so we were lucky enough to get Chaka Kahn for that. With some of the songs we needed someone to do something we couldn’t do. But with “Sleepless,” we were having trouble finishing the song to begin with. Jay Som came in and helped us write, produce, and complete it. Same with Damon, who wrote the parts he sings.



Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley
Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley

The reason we got features on this record was to provide something we couldn’t do ourselves.

The interesting thing about these songs is that they could fit into the featured artist’s discography as well as they do on this album. It gives an insight into how you guys work and collaborate as a band, embracing the outsider, so to speak.

Ed Nash: Yeah, I do agree with that. There was a time we had an ego about these things. But now, everyone knows their own abilities and is confident in them. Some bands might be uncomfortable with bringing other people in. These songs showcase the artists, not us.

Could this also be a symptom of getting older?

Ed Nash: Yeah (laughs). It’s all part and parcel of the same thing. I think my life has gotten considerably better since I stopped worrying about these things.

A lot of people feature artists as an attention or cash grab, though your collaborations feel very organic. How did you manage to cultivate that?

Ed Nash: Totally. The “new” artists were either fans of the band before and had reached out to work with us, or we had met them at a show. It was important for us to not have this be a cash-grab. That wasn’t the reason we wanted to do it. It was also important for us to have a mix of old and new artists.



Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley
Bombay Bicycle Club © Tom Oxley

You guys mention that the tracks on the EP were “too strong to sit on.” Can you touch on that?

Ed Nash: We made the album and we discarded loads of songs. These four songs we thought were really good, but we didn’t want to put them on the record. I’m sure we made the right decision not putting them on there, they wouldn’t have fit in. Now they have their place on the EP.

I think these tracks specifically have an innocence to them. This and their musical characteristics set them apart.

Ed Nash: 100%. They’re also indie-pop songs and we didn’t make an indie-pop record. But we love the songs individually. I really like “Blindfold,” I listen to it on my own time. Liz is a very old and very dear friend so it was great to work with her.

And I have to ask, what’s going on with the My Big Day cover?

Ed Nash: We pissed off a lot of people with that. To be clear, no one in the band thinks it’s a masterpiece (laughs). The last five albums had quite tasteful and illustrative covers. We wanted this cover to reflect the craziness of the music.

ATWOOD MAGAZINE’S 2023 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

:: FEATURE ::

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:: stream/purchase Fantasies here ::
:: connect with Bombay Bicycle Club here ::



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Fantasies - Bombay Bicycle Club

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