Pulling soulful sensibilities and hip hop beats through infectious indie-pop, Bath five-piece Bad Sounds channel a certain nostalgic tinge whilst remaining firmly fresh. Having recently released their debut EP Mixtape One, Ewan and Callum Merrett, the brothers behind Bad Sounds, enthuse about how exciting it felt to create this record. “I think it was a big thing for us, because we’ve only ever put out singles before. We’ve never really had the chance to show people another side of us that wouldn’t really work in a single capacity,” Ewan says. Going into more detail, Callum explains, “we had little skits or beats and demos that we didn’t really know what to do with. Once we’d chosen those three proper singles it was just a case of weaving them together with these other little pieces of music”.
“We’ve never really had the chance to show people another side of us…”
On the topic of their various sonic elements, and the band’s origins: “I’d say that when it actually became Bad Sounds,” Ewan muses, “what happened was Cal tried to move to London, got really into bands and started recording and learning all about that process. At the same time I got really into hip hop and more sample-based music, and was making beats on an MPC at home. Then after we’d been doing that separately for a few years we showed each other what we’d learnt.” Combining these different musical experiences has been beneficial for both their diverse sound and the production side of things. Ewan mentions that “because we’re starting to release stuff properly, Callum’s recording background has come in, to re-record those breaks but make them still sound authentic.”
There’s a clear autonomous attitude that shines through as they talk about all aspects of the band’s output. Discussing their distinctive aesthetic Callum, who creates the band’s artwork, says “it’s definitely something we’re conscious of, because music is 99.9% of what it’s all about but there’s also this degree of having something that people recognise as well. I want people to know when they’re scrolling through Instagram or whatever that it’s a Bad Sounds post.” Affirming this, Ewan adds “I think it’s when we naturally just follow our own tastes and instinct, then it all comes out with a clear thing,” emphasising that “with a lot of things you have to do as a band, I feel like we’ve never wanted to put something out that we didn’t think was cool or wasn’t a good idea. For example, recently the idea seems to be putting up the album cover with the track and we were just like, ‘it’s so boring’, so we did those stupid videos of us playing jenga and stuff. We tried to do something that we thought we’d actually watch and find funny or entertaining.”
Having gained great reception and an ever-growing Bad Sounds fan-base, the two of them, who’ve been playing music together since they were kids, express a really humble and genuine appreciation for this recognition. “Now we have people at shows tell us how much they love our music or they’re singing along back to us at shows,” Callum recounts. “I cannot describe that feeling at a show when people know your lyrics… It’s pretty crazy to be honest.”
“There are always certain shows on the tour that we put like 150% of effort into…”
On their (nearly) hometown show this month, they confess, “there are always certain shows on the tour that we put like 150% of effort into in terms of pre-production and planning interesting things that people will want to talk about after the show.” To those intrigued, be sure to catch them at Thekla this month.
Bad Sounds play Thekla on 8th November, with Mixtape One out now on Insanity Records.