There’s a story behind the genre-defying leap made by Bombay Bicycle Club who have always been the adventurous type.
Their fourth album, ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’, is worlds apart from 2011’s ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’, featuring Indian-esque signs and electronic instruments where once there would simply have been conventional guitars.
Frontman Jack Steadman explained: “I wanted to travel. To do it, I went to wherever we had gigs to play, but either went there a few weeks beforehand, or stayed on afterwards.”
The Netherlands was his first port of call. After the band had performed in Amsterdam, he rented a room for a few weeks in Nijkerkerveen, where he got to work while being looked after by the family that owned the property.
“I wrote ‘Carry Me’ and ‘It’s Alright Now’ there,” he says, “plus a couple of other bits and bobs, but I consider those two big songs on the album.”
Next stop for Bombay Bicycle Club was a festival in India and afterwards Steadman spent a month in Mumbai, absorbing the music and the culture.
The results are there for all to hear on ‘Overdone’, the forthcoming album’s opening track, current single ‘Feel’ and penultimate track ‘Come To’.
“Overdone has a sample from a Bollywood song called ‘Apne Pyar Ke Sapne’, which was actually something I put on my iPod before I went away and worked on while I was in India,” he says. “All the time I was travelling, I’d send things I’d recorded back to the rest of the band, who’d listen and send back ideas and improvements I could make.”
He says he’d be lost without bandmates Jamie MacColl, Ed Nash and Suren de Saram, all in their early 20s: “They edit me a lot, and will tell me what they like and what I need to spend more time on.”
MacColl would also send Steadman pieces of poetry and novels he was reading, to inspire his lyric-writing, something the band feel hasn’t been their strongest suit in the past.
After spending time in Turkey and Japan it was back to London and the real work began - only unlike the previous three albums, Bombay decided they didn’t want to work with a producer and that they’d record the album themselves.
“We had to convince quite a few people this was the right thing to do,” says MacColl.
“Normally it’s the sign of a band’s ego exploding, but for us, it just seemed a natural thing to do. And it’s worked, we’re happier with this album than anything we’ve done before. It’s the first album of ours that I can honestly say has no filler on it, and it’s exactly as we want it to be.”