The night of their Liverpool debut, 5-piece band ‘Bad Sounds’ sit in a bustling dressing room pre-performance, seeming completely at ease. Brothers Ewan and Callum Merrett, the duo at the centre of the group, reflect on how their tour has been so far, “Tour’s been wicked!” Ewan grins, “We’ve always got along with our support acts, but we’ve not known them prior, so there’s always been a slight awkwardness at first. But this time we all know each other, so it feels like there’s a big gang of us, instead of small groups which is really nice.” This closeness definitely shows. Throughout the interview, the room is filled with people chatting, laughing and seeming completely relaxed only hours before the band make their grand appearance onstage to an electric reaction, where they kick off the night with the song ‘Wages.’
2018 has been a big year for Bad Sounds. Having just finished off their UK tour, the band also released their debut album earlier this year, titled ‘Get Better’. Although they’ve released EPs in the past, Ewan certainly seems to think the reaction is different. “The response feels a lot longer,” he remarks “I think EPs have quite a short shelf-life, but it still feels like the album has a lot more give. People won’t really get into a band until they’ve got an album, so while it’s been positive, but I really feel like people are still finding it.” The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy the new release, with tracks such as ‘Another Man’ and ‘Couldn’t Give It Away’ getting a major response from the already buzzing crowd. With their eclectic mix of sounds and genres, there’s certainly something in their music for everyone, but the group seem comfortable not settling into a sound; “It’s hard to say what our style is genre-wise, but the way I think of it is taking a guitar part you like from one song, and a drum beat from another.” Ewan states while Callum nods his head in agreement. “We keep that mentality here, and because it comes from different places, the one cohesive factor is that it’s our taste. It’s taking the things we like best, and mashing them together!”
The album is aptly titled, with a satirical ‘self-help’ theme at the centre of the album, playing a part in a large number of songs throughout the work. “We knew we wanted to have something cohesive throughout the album, and not just a random collection of songs. So, we were picking the demos and seeing if there was a recurring theme. I think naturally lyrically I’ve written a lot about that kinda stuff,” Ewan pauses. “I guess I’m interested in it, it’s featured a lot in our culture at the moment, so once we realised that was a theme in a lot of our songs, we looked for a way to play off it and make it a theme of it.” It also played a key part in the performance, with an amusing, yet slightly ominous monologue inspiring the audience to ‘get better’, being played halfway into the set, after which the band graced the stage once more, hyping up the crowd upon their return.
Throughout the second half of the night, Ewan and Callum interact well with the audience encouraging the room to dance, with the crowd responding with intense energy. Having grown up together in Bath, they both got into making music from a young age. ‘We both played guitar when we were kids, and our dad was an electronics wizard, so he always wanted us to record stuff. We would spend weekends round his writing songs and recording demos!’ He smiles, “Then we went in different directions for a while, Callum moved out and started getting into pop, and I started to discover hip-hop. When he ran out of money, he moved back in and we started doing stuff together again.” Despite being inspired by different genres, the brothers were equally inspired by their dad’s old record collection. “We were never really into current music,” Ewan states, “Especially now, I think I find it comforting to see something that’s already finished. Nothing changes it. Because we’ve done so much industry bullshit, I can’t take that out of the picture when I listen to current stuff. Whereas when its older music it feels detached from that because I didn’t know what it was like back then.” Callum chimes in. “Older music’s also stood the test of time.” He said thoughtfully. “Regardless of what the reasons are, you know it’s gonna be good.” Ewan seems to agree; “I look for things that are new to me rather than new music. That way you naturally move forward rather than backwards.”
The night ends in a haze of balloons and confetti, which the band scattered throughout the crowd, before playing their final two songs ‘Avalanche’ and ‘No Luck.’ It’s a strong finish to an impressive performance and a stellar tour, with the group having only one more show after the Liverpool gig. But the band seems pretty happy with what’s to come. “We gonna do some more remixes and produce a few more people, and then we’ve got a show in Mexico.” Ewan smiles, “We don’t have a game plan really, we’re writing demos for fun, trying different things and seeing where we’re at.” It’s certainly a promising statement, and after a remarkable performance, it seems like just the beginning for Bad Sounds.
You can check out the bands debut album ‘Get Better’ here