Good vibrations: Bad Sounds are back with a brand new track

With new track 'Sympathetic Vibrations' just out, we pinned down Callum to ask more.

Bad Sounds are brilliant. This much, you’ll know. With a debut album full of fizz-banging megabops, there’s no doubt at all they’ve got an ear for a tune. So, when word hit Dork HQ that they were due back(! Back!! Back!!!) with something brand new and exciting, we wanted to know more.

That’s why we demanded – YES, DEMANDED – Callum from ‘the band’ answered some of our very important questions so we could publish them alongside their latest banger ‘Sympathetic Vibrations’. With more to come shortly, it’s an exciting time indeed.

Hey Callum, how’s it going? Are you guys good?

Very happy to be back, thanks! I hope you’re all good at Dork!

We hear you’ve been busy working on new music, did you go into this batch with a new mission statement?

I’m not sure we ever write something with a mission statement. We’ve always written in a kind of organic way, writing about things as they come to us, and in a style that feels right to us. We write a lot, and there was no break in writing between ‘Get Better’ and now. So (as with ‘Get Better’) it was only after about 10-20 songs had been written, that we could see the link between them and what we were trying to get across. We don’t really know what we’re trying to say until we’ve recorded it, and then it is obvious (to us at least).

What else have you been up to since we last heard from you?

We did a US tour at the start of the year with our pals’ Broods’ which was incredible. Bucket list item well and truly ticked off. We’ve also been working on a few side projects and producing a few other artists which we feel really passionate about. There’s a bit of clarity you get when you’re producing somebody else’s music. You have to dig around a bit and try some things out, buts it’s kind of like dating: at the start of the relationship you’re both playing it really safe and trying not to make a tit of yourself in front of the each other, but after that “politeness period” is over; that’s when you really get to the nitty-gritty and make really interesting and honest music. We took a break from social media, but we didn’t take a break from making music.

Tell us about ‘Sympathetic Vibrations’?

I’m a bit worried that releasing this song might destroy everything we’ve done up to this point! It might alienate a few people tbh. We love it though and think it’s probably the best song we’ve ever put out. We really had to fight to get it released, so I hope we’re not the only ones! It’s a bit of a feeler.

“I’m a bit worried that releasing this song might destroy everything we’ve done up to this point!”
Callum Merrett

Is the track a good representation of what you’ve been working on, generally?
In some ways, absolutely. Although maybe not in others. Ewan and I would talk about different artists we like and try to figure out why we like them. Why we see certain bands/artists as credible (even when they are extremely commercial artists) and others are not credible at all (even though they don’t sound that different). All I can come up with is that the music that resonates with me always feels honest. Like it comes from a real place and isn’t just a bunch of words on a melody that sounds catchy. It has to feel like the person who writes/performs it, really means it, and the music really accents the sentiment they’re trying to get across. That’s all we’re ever trying to do. We’ve had a few ups and downs with people who were trying to get us to write stuff that has more “mass-appeal”. Trying to write songs that they think “most people” will like, but it really doesn’t work for us. People were telling us our lyrics were too specific, and our songs sound too “leftfield”. “I just don’t think people will get it” is a phrase we’ve heard since we started the band. Writing ‘generic’ crowd pleasers is not what we’re about, and it never will be. If we ever have a “hit” it will be the kind of song that people like in spite of what’s going on in pop music; not because it sounds like what other people are doing.

How far along are you with your second album?

It depends on who you ask.

So you’re going to have a big 2020, then?

Bigger than 2019! We are playing our first show in a very long time at Colours in London towards the end of this year (28th November), and I cannot wait. It’s gonna be a pretty up-close and intimate show, and I’ve really missed doing shows like that. Actually, if I’m honest, I’ve just missed doing shows. So we’re planning on getting back to that in 2020, and hopefully, we can share some of the other things we’ve been working on too!

In what ways is this new record a progression from your first?

I can’t really comment on a new record.

Can you tell us any secrets about it?

Before now (excluding ‘Enough’ and ‘No Luck’) everything we’ve released has been produced with James Dring or Duncan Mills – two producers who have inspired and influenced us massively in our fortunate time working with them. But at the moment we’re producing songs just the two of us, Ewan and I in our own studio. We’re not trying to make a statement by self-producing our music; honestly, I know it can look a bit cocky when an artist does the whole “self-produced” thing, but it’s not that at all! As we kept working on demos, we realised that they didn’t sound like demos at all, and we were finishing fully formed songs that were really exciting to us. I think over the past few years we’ve developed a bit of a unique production style and when we’ve played new music to friends they all seem to say things like, “it just sounds unmistakably like Bad Sounds”. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing at the moment, but I’ll take it!

What were the main lessons you learned from your debut?

The system of releasing music in the traditional way seems massively flawed to us. We really didn’t want to make another album. It didn’t seem to make much sense to us. We were sooooo passionate about putting ‘Get Better’ together, and we’re incredibly proud of it, but it was a real eye-opener seeing behind the curtain, and getting a peek at the music industry machine in motion. We personally love albums, but I think a lot of people feel like they’re a slightly out of date medium in a time where most of us stream music. We’re as curious as everybody else to see how things will develop.

Anything else we should know?

That’s literally all I’m allowed to say for now. Come to the show and see!

Bad Sounds’ new single ‘Sympathetic Vibrations’ is out now.

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